Aah, the freshness of a new year. All the idealistic posts and blogs about resolutions and diets and being the best you you can be.
Yeah, been there, done that, broken every resolution three times over.
But the thing is, this year is going to be different.
- Child has started a new kinder. Drop-off is now traumatic for all of us but the educators are lovely and I love the feel of the centre. There are no bad habits from his old daycare there – we purposefully left the potty at home so he has to use the toilet there and none of the educators will cave into his tantrums to only eat bread for lunch. So, winning!
- I’m starting a new job at the end of the month. It’s a big promotion at a new company and it’s terrifying but exciting at the same time. It just means January is a bit of same old same old until I start but I can deal with that.
So, changes are afoot whether we like it or not. So, in the spirit of the new, I’m going to list a few things I’d like to do or do more of in 2019. Think of them less as resolutions and more of ideas:
- Get out for a walk before or after work more often. I walked at 5:45 this morning and it was a glorious start to the day. Let’s ignore the tantrum from the child at the idea of Mum going for a walk without him for the moment. That was not such a lovely way to start the day.
- Write more. Look, I’m already doing it! Perhaps not every day but more. More than nothing (which is what I did in 2018) so I’m already winning.
- Shop less. This is a perennial favourite but since I had my wardrobe cleared yesterday, there’s less of a reason to shop since I know exactly what I own and it all fits me. So, winning there.
- Be more present. I am, like many, guilty of being on my phone or laptop too much and I want to find ways to reconnect with Hubby and Child more this year. We’ll see how that goes.
- Read more. This goes under self-care because reading is time to myself and that is at a premium. Or rather, I’ve allowed it to be at a premium. So, read more. Don’t care what it is (no literary snobbery here) but spend more time reading.
And that’s doable I think. They’re not SMART goals; I’m refusing to quantify how many books to read or how many pages to write. Just more or less than I did in 2019.
It seems that more often than not, I get to Thursday or so and I exclaim ‘This has been a long week!’
Logically, every week is the same. Five days of work, 3 days of writing thesis and a day of so of watching terrible reality television and cleaning. That adds up to 9 days. A week is 9 days for everyone, right?
I know that this craziness will end soon – 59 days time, in fact. That’s when I hand in my thesis and get those 3 days back. Until then, I spend my weeks exhausted and drained and wishing for a holiday and realising that there’s no chance in hell of one coming my way in less than 59 days.
Someone said to me that other day that they didn’t know how I did it. I just looked at them. I had no words (and for those who know me, that’s a rare occurrence). How do I do it? I just do. It gets done. Somehow. What’s the point in falling in a heap unless it means someone else does everything for you?
So I put one foot in front of the other, every day. I get up, go to work, work out when I can (it’s all about #wycwyc for me) and write as much as I can. I’m also gentle with myself. I know that Monday nights are exhausting so I’m not going to get any writing done and that’s okay. I know that I need my Friday night dinners with the family to recharge. I know that for the next 59 days, I need to say no more than I say yes.
And I need to get the eff off Twitter if I want to get any work done.
I’m blogging from my bed today as my body has given up telling me quietly to rest and has now taken to yelling at me. My back is sore, my brain is tired and my body is exhausted. Last night I was in bed by 8pm and asleep by 8:15. I woke up briefly this morning at 6:30 to let my boss know that I was taking a sick day and promptly slept for another couple of hours, taking the total to 12 hours of sleep. Then I slept some more. I may even nap shortly.
Either I’ve turned into a child again or I’m sick. Since Freaky Friday is fictional, I’m going to go with being sick. This does not surprise me.
On Sunday night, I could not get warm at all. I ended up sleeping with a hoodie on. I spent Monday at work feeling icy cold to my bones and walking around with my scarf on like a pashmina. FYI, my scarf is nothing like a pashmina so I looked like an idiot.
Again, this does not surprise me because I suck as relaxing. Even when I’m procrastinating writing my thesis, I’m productive. I spent the weekend writing and cooking and filling the freezer. That was supposedly a relaxing weekend because I didn’t do much socialising. But I didn’t exactly rest. I did laundry and cleaned the bathroom. I went grocery shopping. I did not rest. I did not relax. I did not really give my body time off.
And so here I am. Exhausted even after sleeping for 12+ hours. Sore and achy. Trapped in my apartment because my father has borrowed my car and it’s ridiculously windy outside anyway. Yes, I’m sitting here feeling crappy (albeit better than yesterday) and I’m thinking of going to the gym or going out to buy my brother’s birthday present because otherwise I’M WASTING TIME. But instead, I will sit here and read and maybe nap and hopefully my body will get what it needs and let me feel human again soon.
Last week, my skin went mental and reacted to something. Almost overnight, I had skin like sandpaper – dry, scaly, itchy beyond belief. I felt like I was wearing a mask, as if I was hiding from the world.
I figured out that it could either be my moisturiser or my foundation so I stopped using both and bought 2 new moisturisers. I pampered my skin, reassured it that it was safe the shed the scales and re-emerge into the world. It took about 3 days to feel normal again and while my skin is still a little dry, my scaly mask has definitely shifted.
I reacted super quickly because I could feel and see the effects of the irritation and I felt like the world could see the effects too. In my mind, there was no question that I would change everything to make this reaction go away.
And yet, when I react to food or a situation, I don’t seem to change as quickly. When my stomach is emphatically unhappy at the crap I’m shoving down my gullet, I ignore it. When I’m getting stressed out over a situation I can change, I do nothing. And then I wonder why I still feel crap when it’s really no wonder. In fact, it’s more of a wonder that I don’t fall down in a heap all the time.
I have fallen down in a heap today though. It’s been a long week and last night, I slept for almost 12 hours. I got up, went grocery shopping and my back seized up, a sure sign that my body has gone ‘F you, we’re on strike’. So instead of getting ALL THE THESIS written and ALL THE FOOD cooked, I slept some more and I’m taking it easy. I’m treating this as I treated my skin reacting. Bad reaction means a change must be made, so I’m making it.
Do you listen to your body when it cries out to you?
Yesterday was a friend’s birthday and so Facebook was filled with posts wishing her a happy birthday. Except she’s not around to read those posts anymore. She passed away in February this year – a cruel loss thanks to cancer, a loss I think about every day.
She was an intensely private person and, as per her wishes, her husband deleted her Facebook page not long after her funeral because the last thing she wanted was an ever-present memorial online. That doesn’t mean that we think of her any less but it does mean that grieving is different. Which meant that, as I opened up Facebook yesterday, I wondered if the day would pass unseen or whether we would be ‘allowed’ to celebrate. I was thrilled to see a few posts pop up and so I joined the fray, carefully, vaguely. But it made me feel as if I was remembering her properly.
And then I start to remember all the lost moments, the moments when I thought I’d have all the time in the world to do something, to say something, to tell someone how much they mean to me. All those times when I made a decision to do something else, something that was the right decision at the time but something that I would give anything to redo now, in light of what I know.
I know now that a healthy bank balance is good but memories made with friends are better.
I know now that friendships change as our needs change and forcing them to stay static does nobody any good.
I know now that I value the inconsequential moments most – the laughs over a cup of tea, the texts that pop up when you need them most, the regular catch-ups you take for granted.
I think about my dear friend every day as I sit on the tram and pass by where she used to live, where we used to go for brunch, where she spent her last days. I remember fragments of conversations and some things make me laugh and others make me tear up.
As much as these moments and memories hurt sometimes, I cherish them. They’re a link to the past, a link to her.
I had to laugh tonight.
I woke up this morning with a sore throat and feeling grotty. I briefly entertained the idea of calling in sick before I remembered that I had a meeting this afternoon that I was running and tons to get done for it beforehand. Calling in sick was out of the question. And I had a personal training session after work that my trainer had specifically changed to suit my schedule. I couldn’t exactly cancel on him (again).
So I packed my gym clothes, my lunch, some snacks and rugged up in scarf and coat to head out to the tram stop. I somehow left the house in sneakers and forgot to pack my proper work shoes so I told everyone that it was totally intentional. Yeah, that’s it. Totally intentional to wear sneakers at work all day.
But onwards. I worked through lunch getting material ready for my meeting and dosed myself up on cold and flu meds (sidenote: I totally typed ‘cold and fun meds’ just then and I reckon they should change the name. Or not. Maybe not.) to get through the day. I knew though that what I was feeling (strike that, what I AM feeling) was a head cold and I really had no excuse for not going to the gym.
Knowing that I’m all about looking the part (it fools my brain into thinking I work out more than I actually do), I changed into my gym gear at the office and trudged to the tram stop. On the way, I ran into a colleague who takes the same tram so we chatted the whole way. Which brings to what made me laugh.
She kept telling me that I was so committed to be working out straight from work and being so healthy and strong etc etc. Maybe three years ago that would have been true – you remember, when I actually went to the gym more than once a fortnight, when I had strength and could do regular pushups? – but now? Now I’m a wuss. Yes, I go to the gym and yes, I go to Pilates (sometimes) and yes, I try get my 10,000 steps every day, but I’m hardly a gym junkie.
But, as they say, it’s all about perception. And to her, I’m committed. Which made me feel good, actually. Not so good that I’d get up to fit a workout in tomorrow or anything, but good nonetheless.