Becoming Instead of Wanting

Wanting to be something and being that thing are two very different things.  I want to be so many things.  I want to be good becomingand kind and selfless.  I want to be intelligent and thoughtful and gentle.  I want to serve and to teach my children to serve.  I want, desperately, to be all of these things but am I really any of them?  Not really.  Am I some of them sometimes?  Maybe.  My one question for myself is why?

What is the difference between someone who wants something and someone who has achieved it?  The first thing that comes to mind is action.  Obviously I am over-simplifying but for many things in life that is the main difference.  What do I need to do to achieve what I really, truly want?  I need to act.  I need to find ways, small or large, to step instead of think.  I need a plan of action and to implement my plan of action.

I don’t want to just want to make the world a better place.  I want to actually make the world a better place in every way that I can.

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Melancholy

I’ve been absent from my little space for the last few weeks.  It always starts with a single day and before I know it weeks have passed. Interestingly I have missed my writing. It really seems to clear my mind and help my sanity to write here, even if the post is never published it seems to help to put my words down.

Another reason I’ve been gone is I’ve a bit of a bout with depression.  It comes and goes for me but it’s never a very happy place to be.  It’s a dark hole that is incredibly hard to crawl out of.

Depression runs in my family.  I have relatives whose whole lives have been consumed by depression so I know I have a genetic propensity toward melancholy.  Even with this knowledge it always surprises me when I begin to sink.  Throughout the majority of my childhood and young adulthood I had a fairly sunny disposition.  Optimism and happiness were my baseline.

After my first pregnancy I had serious postpartum depression.  It was rough for me and even more so for my husband.  After that it seems to have opened a part of my personality that was prior to that locked up.  Luckily it doesn’t happen all that often.  I’m happy to say that with my subsequent pregnancies I was lucky enough to escape the life consuming postpartum depression thanks to a good support group and taking better care of myself.  Also, my bouts of depression have all been just that.  Bouts.

This time, though, it went on for more than a couple days.  It was the perfect storm of things storm after storm that kept me inside.  Holiday stress (my family can be hard to be around).  Kids fighting after being cooped up for days and days with no school.  An extra messy house that I can’t quite keep up with.  All little things by themselves but together just a little too much for me.

At first I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  I just felt off.  And it was getting worse.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I felt overwhelmed by everything.  I didn’t leave the house unless I had to.  It was starting to interfere with my everyday life.  It was affecting my relationships.

One day (Friday to be exact) I was talking to my husband.  I had been picking at him over all kinds of silly things.  Obsessing really and I felt bad but I couldn’t seem to stop fixating.  I was crying a lot and he wanted to help.  We’d talked about what were the likely culprits and we finally zeroed in on depression.  (Looking back it should have been obvious but I guess we are a bit dull.)

“Go for a walk,” he said.

“What?  I don’t want to go for a walk.  I want to go to bed,” I retorted.

“But you need to get out.  Just go,” he urged.

“Well, I don’t feel like it.  And I don’t have time.  I have to get all of that stuff done.” I said.

“Then don’t.  I’m just trying to help,” he said.

And he left it at that.  He didn’t argue.  He didn’t insist he just left it and I went.  I didn’t go far.  Two miles at the most but I was a different person.  I felt myself again.

All this to say exercise is something I need Every.  Single.  Day.

In addition I decided the boys need to get out as well.  We are supposed to get another series of storms this week (we need the rain so I am NOT complaining!) so we took a muddy jaunt all day Saturday.  It was glorious.  Our friends live on 350+ acres with trails and lakes and a playground to boot.  We pulled on our rain boots and spent the day in boy (and for this mama too) heaven.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

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To Downgrade or Not to Downgrade, That is the Question.

Lately I’ve been thinking about giving up my smartphone.  I haven’t been brave enough, yet, but I think it would be a good for me.  As I’ve expressed before, I’m not very good at moderation so I think it would help me focus more on what I really want if I didn’t have as many distractions.  I’ still want a cell phone just one not connected to the internet.  On the flip side, it’s just so damned convenient, right? I’m often grateful that I can look up directions to anywhere from anywhere at any moment.

So, what do you think?  Are you addicted to your phone?  Could you walk away from it if you wanted to?

Here are some other peoples thoughts on unplugging:

Londoners gave up their first born child for WiFi.

4 Advantages to unplugging

An interview with a man who lives off the grid.

A photographer is documenting the death of conversation.

She captures a lot of my feelings in her post about cutting down screen time.

Here’s another one about putting down your phone.

The New York Times asked readers to unplug temporarily.  You can watch the readers response videos here.

Recap of Menu Planning

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(Completely unrelated image of a gorgeous pomegranate I got at my son’s soccer game last week.)

If I’ve learned anything from being a mom it is to be more flexible.  Part of my goal to get healthier has been to cook dinners most nights of the week and the only way I can make this happen is to menu plan.  I know other people who have no problem looking through their pantry and just coming up with something but, for me, I need a plan of action or I’ll just get discouraged and give up.  (read: Taco Bell every night)

The important part this week has been being able to roll with the punches.  I had all kinds of plans and intentions but, as usual, life doesn’t go as planned.

The plan was to trade dinners with my neighbor.  I’d do Tuesday, she’d do Wednesday but my neighbor ended up having unexpected dinner guests Tuesday so I couldn’t do Tuesday.  I had already purchased dinner for two families for Tuesday but the dish ended up being too spicy for my kids.  We didn’t have tortillas and I had planned on making burritos twice this week. Thursday I forgot I had committed to bringing an Indian dish to book club AND had told my grandparents-in-law that I’d bring them Chick-fil-a.  Etc.

So here’s the breakdown between plan and execution:

The Plan:

M-Lentil and Sausage soup with whole wheat, oatmeal muffins

T-Slow Cooker Beef & Chipotle Burritos with Cornbread

W- Neighbor dinner

T- White bean and sausage rigatoni

F- Bean and Cheese burritos

Reality:

M-Lentil and sausage soup with whole wheat/oatmeal muffins

T-Beef and Chipotle “bowls” (too spicy for my kids)

W-Beef Shepherd’s pie (The gravy and potatoes helped cut the spice and this dish was loved by all!)

T-Chana Masala with homemade Naan at book club.  So yummy!

F-Leftovers

Not so bad, right?  I feel like I rolled with the punches and came out (mostly) on top!

Bring on next week.

Broken Record

Balance is on my mind a lot these days.  Finding the right balance for everything in life is what life is all about, right?  My problem dejour is my body; ie: body image.  Talking about how I feel about my body drives my husband batty.  He CANNOT STAND it.  To him I’m perfect.  He is sweet and loving and loves me just the way I am.

Me, on the other hand, I have an EXTREME love/hate relationship with my body.  One day I’m happy and content with what I’ve got.  I love my curvy hips, large bottom and small waist.  I love my strong calves, slim arms and round face.  Then, BAM!, the next day I HAVE everything physically about myself.  All I see is the cellulite on my thighs, the pooch of my belly and my not-so-adorable saddle bags I carry with me everywhere.

It’s not just my husband I make crazy, it’s me.  I hate that I’m this way.  Why can’t I be happy with what I have?  Why must I be so vain and critical of myself?  Why am I this way?

I don’t know the answer to these  questions but I do know I’ve got to stop my body loathing.  If not for myself then for my sweet boys.

Today, whilst getting ready to go, I kept telling my husband I looked fat in this or that.  He rolled his eyes and told me I looked great.  I ran to the other room mid outfit change 2,000,000 and when I came back hubby asked if I’d heard what son #1 said.  I hadn’t and hubby told my my son, my sweet, skinny, adorable, perfect boy had slumped on the floor in my room and announced that he was fat.  FAT!?!  The kid is skin and bones.  And the blame for his comment falls squarely on my shoulders.

So that’s it.  I’m pledging to never, I repeat, NEVER say I’m fat again.  I can’t promise that those thoughts won’t pop into my mind.  I can’t promise that I won’t FEEL fat but I can control the words that my children hear coming out of my mouth.