Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Perfect or done?

Sometimes done is better than perfect. I get caught up in the latter and get so overwhelmed by the time necessary for perfect, the skills or supplies, the money, the brain and emotional drain of thinking all of the steps through and the whole big to-do list that well, I start doing other things that don't take as much from me.

Realizing that, I am trying to engage with my lists and piles for my current life. I like to keep some items on hand to have "just in case" or for that time you "absolutely knew you would use it and AH HA!, here it is!"...only months or years later. Right NOW, we do not have a lot of storage space. As we put away our collective things in a shared household, I am trying to purge a bit and get rid of those items. A lot of those items happen to be pieces of projects I have bumbling around my head but are light years from me realistically even approaching them.

Sure I would like to keep some of this "stuff" but right now, I do not need it and cannot possibly do the project in mind. I put some bits in the box for Goodwill, some bits back in a project pile, alone of those piles in containers or baskets just to keep them out of sight until their tube comes, and some bits for, well, thrown into the trash. It is best for me to go ahead and take those bags (usually smaller grocery size in case a large one is not filled yet) to the dumpster to avoid rethinking the disposal and putting them back in a room. I talk to myself and say, "Self, you do not need/cannot possibly do this right now or in the near future." Self, you're right. And we breathe a sigh of relief together, me and myself.

I have been wanting to shorten our shower curtains for months. Every other curtain that has been on these rods was fine, but both bathrooms' new curtains were extremely long. My mind said I should get out there sewing machine but seeing as I could barely walk into that room because of the projects and pulled and stuff to be sorted and unpacked, that wasn't happening. Plus, I'd have to set it up, figure out where the thread and needles were, and refresh my memory on threading the machine. I decided that done would be better than ideal is perfect and found my adhesive hem bonding tape. Last Sunday, I "hemmed" two shower curtains and a liner in the time it would have taken me just to set the machine up and thread it. Can you see the large cuff of extra fabric? If you bend down and flip it over. Do you care? I doubt it. I do but I'm choosing to enjoy curtains that aren't gathered on the floor rather than sewn hems.

I crossed some tasks of my list and then took some time to take a hot bath and read a magazine. Letting go of perfect is worth the time to relax. Taking care of me. That's big in my goals did the year. Choosing done over perfect is a major avenue to achieving this.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Oh, what a year!

Last year, I had given concert tickets to Matt for Christmas for one of his favorite bands playing in NYC. I had conspired with his friend Andrew so Matt could visit for a guys' weekend and they could go to the concert together. Andrew welcomed me for the weekend too, and Matt wanted me to come. Neither had to twist my arm because it is one of my favorite cities to visit and had been a while since I had the chance to go. We had a slight blizzard that weekend collapsing a parking garage floor at Andrew's complex.

After we finally got out, we headed into the city. A day of museums, strolling, and delicious meals. Andrew headed back to NJ to let us have a date night, complete with a wonderful Italian meal and a musical. I was a tad suspicious that might be the weekend Matt proposed but second-guessed myself and a potential proposal many times. After the show, we were walking back to a metro station, and ended up walking through Times Square. My eyes widened as I thought, "If he proposes here, we are going to get mugged!" He did pause and look around, but then looked in the direction we were heading and led me over to get this shot of the Empire State Building, which gave him the opportunity to say, "Oh, hey! I think there's a nice park across the street. Let's go check it out." So, we tried to, but there was a chain. The park was closed. My little never-a-rebel-until-this-very-moment asked if I wanted to break into a park in New York City with him. Of course. While we sound so very danger-seeking, do realize we only needed to duck under the chain to enter the park. 

We walked in a bit, and that's where he proposed at almost midnight on January 24th, 2015. I knew it was coming sometime. We had talked about it and already had a wedding date. My school quarters really limited the dates available after all. But still, our relationship came along as such a delightful surprise and it, and a possible engagement and marriage, still felt surreal. (Is it weird to admit it still feels surreal many days, though we have been married now almost 7 months?) After we got kicked out of the park, it started sinking in that we had been walking around the city All.Day.Long. and he had just proposed, which meant he had been carrying a very expensive piece of jewelry All.Day.Long. Not only that, but the box from the jeweler was MUCH larger than most boxes you see in commercials, movies, imagine a ring presented in.

Ring box on the left, normal size jewelry box on the right. The left is easily 2x the height and 3x the width/depth. And it came in ANOTHER box he left at home to give to me later. So huge.

How in the world did he carry this around all day? Wait, he would not check his coat at the museum though the heat was pumping so much. He touched his coat on his chair quite a bit at lunch, but I thought he just felt the people at the table behind us moving around. At dinner, he sat on the wall side of the table, rather than the side with people walking by, brushing coats on the chairs, and at the theatre, he held his coat. 

I think this is a good image of who he is and has been in our relationship. He carries a big obnoxious box in his coat pocket, wears a coat in 80 degree indoor temperatures while sweat trickles from his forehead, keeps his winter hat over the box in his pocket instead of wearing it when outside in the blustery wintry mix all day. He cares for me regardless of the convenience and always wants to know how he can make my life better or easier. He is such a good man, and I am so glad to be spending this life with him. I can think of no other I'd want to be snowed in with, which is how we are spending the weekend of our engagement-iversary. 

Between the rest and productivity, we have played a different game each evening. Bananagrams, Sat. 1/23. Don't bother letting me know if any words are misspelled. I won. I also won Dutch Blitz, and he barely won Carcassone, so I'm going to call this weekend what it was: a success.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Someone certainly takes her rest seriously. If we have had her up and about for several hours, we will soon see her eyes droop or miss her in the room and realize she headed to her crate bed in the office. This dog knows how to nap, lounge, roll around for fun on the floor, inch her way up your body for either a motion to pet her or for her to sneakily lick you. Animals are so present, in the now. We would do well to take note.

Years ago my big hurrah was in intentional awesomeness--challenging myself, being present, being alive, and giving life the gusto it calls for. Then then was the march toward presence. The shirking of should. Unburdening the over-yesed. This year is not a lot different. Don't you find that your needs are not altogether different year to year but perhaps more nuanced or focused? 

Heading into 2016, I reflected on the previous year: The Year of Change. I have noted many of the changes, and though they were welcome and wonderful, they can also whelm a girl. As much delight as I've enjoyed, I've struggled with running from one thing to another and being overworked and overtired. Like a child who has experienced all there is to a day and stayed up past bedtime, I too get cranky and worked up from a lack of rest, which makes it all the harder to actually get the much-needed rest. This year I desired stability, rest, growth in love and ability to care for others and self. 

I am working through a series of books I have accumulated over the last couple of years about just these topics to guide me. I started with The Fringe Hours though it was just given to me for Christmas on New Year's Eve when we saw my family. How timely to receive the book as the year turned. It was a great read reinforcing a lot of what I already know (Self care is important. You can't pour out what you haven't poured in.), but with some new gem statements and also questions throughout in workbook style that I actually took the time to answer. Like money issues, I know that time management is not about getting more time but about restructuring the time I already have and using it better. Apparently others are also reading and reaping a lot from the book. 

I wrote in a previous post that I'm sorrybutnotsorry, but actually, I should have just hashtagged it "not sorry" because I'm not. I need to take care of myself, and I do not need to apologize to those I have to say no to in order to do so. I am not sorry that I will be saying no to more people and no to more requests and volunteer or serving "opportunities." Surely I will say yes to some, but I aim to be more selective and not say yes because I feel guilty, or I want to do the activity though I know I am overscheduled that day, or because I feel like they need someone to step up. I am not sorry that I did not write here the past couple of months. They were busy times, and though I probably could have used the outlet and the joy I get from writing, I am not sorry I pressed through by doing other activities. I am not sorry I am not proofing my drafts these days and am hitting publish instead. I'm going to just be vulnerable in that respect and put my words out in the world. I am not sorry that I cannot meet you immediately after work because I need to go home to take our dog outside. Part of the reason we got a dog was to force ourselves out of selfish schedules, force me to go home at a reasonable time at the end of the workday to take her out, make us think about where we are going and plan to be home more, and to enjoy time with a cuddly pet who is super glad to see us and spend evenings lounging at our side. I am not sorry about a lot of things but often say it when I really should be saying something else. I am not sorrowful I cannot come to your dinner or movie time or help out with X. I may wish I could do the activity or do not want to disappoint you, but I should not be sorry. This is a whole other post. So back to my point...

I have already begun to structure my time and days differently and take back the minutes usually lost to time wasters. I tossed my planner for this year and am using the electronic calendar to make syncing schedules with the husband (because that's a thing since I now have to think about where someone else is and dinner and blah blah blah) easier so I just have a tiny Moleskine notebook in my purse with to do lists and to shop for lists. It's been more freeing than my previous system. I'm intentionally planning how to care for myself, make sure I'm getting needed rest, revisiting hobbies I'd neglected because I had "too much to do" and "am working on that grad degree" and on and on but all the work and work outside of work was just draining me. Little pockets of time and delight are refueling me. Actually reading for pleasure had been side swept the past couple of years, but I am making a comeback. And I'm looking forward to it. 

Do you deal with this? How are you structuring your time so you can truly take care of yourself in the midst of work, busyness, family life, taking care of kids, volunteering on all the committees, etc? 

I leave you with this post, which is not about self care but about peace. I thought it was really lovely.