how to avoid burnout and sadness, no joke.

[written 10/02/15]

I had a long to-do list today, most of which involved going out to the city and calling people and making appointments and so on. All of that has, as of 12:09, been ditched and again, as of 12:10, as I type, that feels like the right decision. It is easier, sure - and I am suspicious of that but I have also learned at the wise old age of 38 (!) to trust my gut. One or two phone calls can't wait, so those will happen.. but everything else can wait. Instead, here's my list of what's done so far:

  • cleaned kitchen, nothing major just a general tidying up.
  • emptied out freezer, tossing old stuff and food I will never eat.
  • finished making inarizushi.
  • made cuñapes, 4 dozen of them (1 dozen consumed asap as they were slightly burnt and also they were delicious so it was an easy sacrifice.)
  • took care of BB all morning, and she was perfect sweetheart, singing to herself and telling me "I drawing, mama" over and over. I love 22 months old babies, they are the best. But then I say that every month I think.
  • online shopped for loose cute jeans/pants because I am beyond tired of tight skinny jeans. I get it, they're fashionable. Whoooo caaaares. Found some great wide-legged pants at h&m.
  • yoga! A post for another day but I've had a real breakthrough in terms of goals lately and it feels awesome.
  • catching up on youtube subscriptions (like this great one) and stuff. Lots of silly tv watching but at least there's no commercials and I need this now and then.
  • continued slogging through the gigantic book Romantic Outlaws about Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley. It's enjoyable so not a horrible slogging time but goodness, annoying hipsters have existed forever it seems.
  • laundry, inclduing washing my trusty rei mini-backpack that although it a decade old and is used constantly, looks just as new as ever.
  • & now, writing here of course.

The reason I stopped what I was doing to write is due to that gut feeling and following it. I think one of the main things that hold me back in life, in my plans and dreams, is feeling like I always have to be moving forward and that moving forward looks only like x, whatever x is. I have tried in my life to change x from whatever it meant to my parents or other authority figures to something that is meaningful to me, and that is important.. but now I'm realizing the problem is bigger than x. I need to stop feeling that forward motion is always the goal. I mean, we don't see that in nature, do we, with plants for example. Fall and winter, ring a bell?

I move slower than most in some ways, so little changes, daily changes, are way more difficult for me than sudden big dramatic changes, and in the big changes, I tend to not overthink them but just follow my gut and jump. (I.e. deciding to attend Bryn Mawr, majoring in Russian, moving to L.A., applying to library school, moving to Bolivia, I could go on..) But in the little stuff, oh I can obsess over those things to death. And I can make myself feel so crappy about them, so much more judgemental that I would ever be on anyone else about the same things. What in someone else would be a funny moment, in me it shows a fundamental fatal flaw, duh duh duh duuuhhhh. Oh, the drama. And the wasted energy, the wasted time.

As a parent especially, it is so very very easy to be super self-critical and demanding. I want to be able to do everything I did before, and better!, *and* I want to be the best mom, the mom my kids deserve, that all kids deserve, am I right? So, then the self-loathing and lashing begins. Well, screw that. What my kids most need, besides food and shelter, is happy parents. Sane parents. A nice mama who isn't always busy or tense or feeling guilty or running late or etc etc.

Last night I stayed up way too late wandering about on this super information highway of ours, and this morning I woke up with dread because I did not want to work on this to-do list of mine. So instead of forcing it, I just canceled it all. As a result, I got a ton of other good things done, my forehead is unwrinkled and my stomach is happy and my little baby is currently napping peacefully on our bed. What else can I ask for, really? Progress is great, sure it is, but so is basking for a day in this beautiful life we have created through a lot of sacrifice and luck and work and smart decision-making and so on. And watch, when I do move next, the jump will be just as big as it would have been anyhow, the list will be completed but this time, I'll be smiling as I do it. Probably. I'm perverse that way.

Happy October ~ this past month was one of the best I've had in a long long time, and I think a large part of that came from prioritizing being happy *now* and valueing what that brings to the table. Anyhow, here's hoping and working on making this next month just as great.

late june 2015

[written 06/26/15]

today marks the beginning of winter vacation for our oldest daughter (now in pre-k, can you believe it!) and woah, i am happy about that. since she started in school in february, our life has been kicked up a few notches, with lots of going back and forth here and there, lots of planning and scheduling, and very little downtime. being a parent means there's no true downtime ever, really, but still, this feels like it could be just the big deep breath that i've been needing for weeks.

i've been working on a few different projects for a while now, covering tech stuff, book stuff, and craftsy stuff. all the usual. ;) all of these i hope to progress on a bunch during the next two weeks.

let's see, tech-wise it's lately amara.og to learn how to create valid HTML5 subtitles for videos, taking MOOCs via like Harvard's CS50 and the W3C's HTML5 class, working my way ever so slowly through Free Code Camp, and more. lots of codeacademy and codeschool, oh and bento too. so many resources out there, it's bewildering but exciting. also i'm always playing around with this here (and others) github pages, making sure i got markdown figured out and all that.

as for the books side of things, i've been reading up a storm - well for adult me, at least. thirty+ books so far, and i've enjoyed all but one or two of them, and the vast majority i really liked, especially alan weisman's the world without us, ali smith's how to be both, frances hardinge's a face like glass, and ray bradbury's the martian chronicles. hmm, see here for more. anyhow, i'm getting better at learning to say no to books that are boring, repetitive, bad, or pretentious - or even just books that aren't for me at that moment. it's a relief. i think i have enough ocd tendencies that i used to feel super uncomfortable with the idea of not finishing a book. ridiculous! life is too short, you know, to read bad books. i have some other book plans, big and small, but those are best not talking about until i have something to show for it. we shall see. hopefully.

and lastly, crafts. i've knitted one item this year. one. it took months - and i've decided to put it on our youngest backwards because the collar looks better that way. in other words, it wasn't a complete success. nonetheless, the knits from the past few years are still being used constantly, so that is a source of pride. cooking-wise, which is a craft, i've learned how to cook one particular bolivian dish, sajta it is called, very well and i'm so pleased. it involves cooking tunta too, which is a form of dehydrated potato, a specialty in bolivia. it tastes must better than the description sounds, but anyhow, i've always wondered how to cook it and now i know. it's easy, really. i keep meaning to document how to cook it so maybe that'll appear here some day.

and that is that. happy friday ~ happy end of june ~ goodbye!

For more posts, go to the archive.