* Today Goodreads thinks I read/understand German.
* I just went to do a load a laundry and realized that a few days ago I never actually turned the dryer on. My clothes don't reek at all. Why do you ask?
* Netflix finally has season seven of Psych up! (So much for me going on a tv hiatus.)
* Videoconferencing makes me feel old. (Can you hear me? Can you see me? How does this thing work?)
* C just sent us pictures from his hike. One set of pictures features a banana slug (go UC Santa Cruz). Pic says, "Aw, I love banana slugs...I'm glad Papi didn't eat it." (The chances of C seeing the banana slug and wanting to eat it are infinitesimal.)
I am this close to joining Amazon Prime. At the moment, I can't remember why I started considering it in the first place, but, oh, it's tempting. And potentially rabbit-hole-esque.
Think of the things I could watch! (Classic Sesame Street episodes. I could rewatch Veronica Mars. I could eventually start watching Downton Abbey.)
The music! Apparently there is streaming music.
But what's really drawing my attention is the quick access to books (and the shipping deal). Most of the time, I'm okay happening upon books at my favorite used book spots, but sometimes I want something specific or new and I order online.
Right now, I'm looking at Jack Prelusky collections and a reading journal. (And I have a whole slew of homeschool materials I might like to actually own one day.)
I don't, of course, need to join one more thing, and I certainly don't need to own more things, but my resolve is weakening.
I recently said to a friend that I feel like I’m ready to make some changes in my life. The declaration sounded grand, but I’m not one for sweeping changes. I’m much more comfortable with baby steps.
Before I get too far into this, I want to say that I am constantly conscious of how incredibly fortunate I am. Not all of my adult life has been easy-breezy, but, overall, it’s been pretty great. A couple of years ago, we hit a rough patch, but we’ve been working to get firmly back on our feet since then. It’s been a bumpy return, but even in that I have been grateful. We were never without a place to live or food to eat. We were graciously offered work just when our savings were almost nil.
Throughout our time together, C and I have weathered some lows always while remembering to focus on all we do have and enjoy. I’ve never really been one (as far as I remember) to wallow or moan about “oh, why does everything bad always have to happen to me?” It would be ridiculous for me to take that stance as it doesn’t at all describe my life. However, I am one to wonder, all too often, why I’m not doing more.
And this is where I’ve been stuck so often lately. In the Land of Comparisons. Where I’m this tiny traveler with an insufficiently-equipped backpack trying to scramble up gargantuan mountains easily scaled by all the competent—nay, fantastic—hikers around me. This is the land of “I could be doing so much more. Why aren’t I? How is she getting all that done? How is he taking on another project? Why am I not doing those exact things too?”
And, well, I know why I’m not doing more. While I’m comparing myself to these others, I’m also getting caught up in thoughts of all of the things I could be doing. There’s a lot I’m not doing (writing here, for instance). Instead of taking action, I let the waves of should (I should be writing, I should be reading, I should be doing such-and-such activity with Pic) wash over me. Instead of swimming, I let myself sink. Instead of taking action to fulfill my desires, I lapse into too much mindless screen time. My chest constricts as the moments of my life tick away while I scroll through the humor tag on Pinterest (yes, seriously).
I’m immobilized by fear and doubt. I’m immobilized by the overwhelmingness of possibility, because, well, what if I make the wrong choice? Instead of looking at choices as opportunities to travel down a path I set, I’m looking at them as choices that shut down scores of others possibilities.
This all sounds pretty bleak (and, yep, mopey), so I’m reminding myself to focus not on the entire rest of the world but on my very own self. What can I do? What do I actually want to do? Because, really, I don’t want to work a job-and-a-half, I don’t want to go hang out every day of the week, I don’t want a big, brand new house.
I do want to be a better mamma, spouse, and employee. I do want to feel healthier. I do want to ease this tightness in my chest. These are things I can work on right now. These aren’t the only goals I have or will ever have, but they’re enough to be getting by on for this moment.
I can breathe more and snap less at my family. I can pick one activity to add to our homeschooling day. I can take the time to write a quick note to my spouse once a day (oh how he probably yearns for the day I break down and become a texter). I can let go of the doubt I feel regarding my work and acknowledge that I’m doing my best. I can let go of the idea that my spending money on my own health and well-being is selfish and realize that I need to take care of myself so I can take care of my family.
I’ve been telling myself these last several days, “Do a little every day.” I know that the thought of overhauling my whole life will lead me to shut down, and I have to acknowledge that my whole life doesn’t even need to be overhauled. But I can make some small changes that will lead to long-term good. And I can take a moment to recognize these small acts.
Today, for instance, I took a moment to sign back into Facebook after I’d already signed out for the night to send a note to C so he’ll have something from me to read when he wakes up. I played Skip-Bo with Pic and read through her Strawberry Moshi book with her (just like last night). We went to a movie together (and I mainly focused on the screen and didn’t think about all of the other things I should or could be doing instead). We read another chapter in Harry Potter. I wrote and sent work correspondence. I contacted a gym about a membership. I handwashed my bras in the kitchen sink.
I could focus on the eight gazillion things I could have done today but didn’t. (And, well, I kind of am doing just that.) But that doesn’t help me. That wastes this tiny bit of time I have here being the mamma of a little who really isn’t going to be little for much longer. The worry takes away from my short pockets of time with C. The worry keeps me up at night until I panic and then convince myself that I’ll never sleep again and I’ll never get one more thing done in my life ever.
So, whew, for now, it’s “Do a little every day.” It’s letting go of the expectations that no one but me is putting on me…the expectations that I should be able to do everything that everyone else in my life is doing. It’s, for now, keeping my head down and not comparing myself to anyone…not even to myself. It’d doing a little every day and taking the time to note what it is that I’ve accomplished. I’m making tiny changes, but that’s what I feel ready for right now.
Tomorrow might be something entirely different, but that’s tomorrow.