Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It's getting self-helpy in here!

I was a thumb-sucker when I was a kid, but I quit when I was 8 (slow learner, much?). I also was an inveterate liar, creating falsehoods with such rapidly growing frequency that at one point it was pretty certain whatever came out of my mouth was a lie. I also picked my nose and ate it. Chewed construction paper. Didn’t brush my hair if there was any way to get around it.

Happily, I don’t do those things any more. Some bad habits we can break, or at least bend so severely that they’re not workable anymore. That's not to say that I don’t TEND toward unattractive behaviors on an almost daily basis. I procrastinate; I avoid difficult situations; I will cadge hard conversations in hurried interchanges, moving as quickly as possible to safer, higher conversational ground; I whine a lot about work. These are not things to be proud of, but I’m working on them.

For example, last week I’d made arrangements to go see my Mom this coming weekend because it’s been a while since we’ve gotten together. However, I’d forgotten that previous to making THOSE plans we’d been invited to a friend’s house for dinner this Saturday, and as it’s a ‘first date’ dinner (the inaugural invitation, as it were) it would be really bad to cancel on them. Plus which, the Biffster has a play date for Sunday morning, and I don’t like to miss those.

Anyhow. A difficult situation was at hand. I had to tell Mom we couldn’t come.

In the old days I’d have put off making the call, too afraid of disappointing her to be honest about something so trivial, and would have gotten myself all upset over forgetting, thereby self-punishing for (gasp!) not being perfect. But now, not so much! I picked up the phone, told the brief tale of woe, we recoordinated calendars and picked a new date. No more than 5 minutes later we had a new plan and nobody was too badly bruised.


I don’t know WHY I feel like it’s incumbent upon me to be this perfect ‘thing,’ because that’s impossible. What I do know is that trying to be perfect leads to a life construct of hastily erected screens that only show a little of what lies tantalizingly behind – a real person with good points and bad, with lessons learned and wisdom from the education.

It’s going to take a long time to be comfortable not trying to be perfect. But honestly? Life just feels better this way.


So, my Labor Day rocked pretty much all day long. I’d set out with a long mental list of what I wanted to get done, full of hope that I’d see many a checkmark on the list by nightfall.

I got approximately 30% of the list done, and do not feel bad about that percentage at ALL, because I decided to NOT do all that random work-ish crap and instead opted to be a total and complete SLUG for a fair portion of the day.

My day off = my rules.

So, the Things’ bedroom did not get the Mommy treatment, the fridge didn’t get cleaned out, the shrubs didn’t get mulched – what of it? Who is keeping score here? Nobody but me, and I FELT like being a waste of space and so was just that for a happy few hours.

I could so totally get used to this living honestly thing!


One more other thing about how I’m trying to make this mental switch from ‘expectation living’ to ‘real living’, and that’s allowing myself to do what I have the energy for, when I have the energy. For example, if I feel like reading a chapter in a book while the Biffster is hard at work on some house project, then I’m going to read and NOT feel guilty for not being productively busy. Or, if I feel like doing laundry and leaving the dishes for a while so I can do something else a little less obviously domestic (like….nap?) then nap I shall. Not every dang moment needs to be taken up with pushing toward some perennially distant finish line of ‘totally done.’

That’s not to say that I won’t keep pushing, just not all the time. Breathers are needed, ya know? The peace of mind that comes with doing only what you are comfortably capable of is totally worth a few dishes in the sink.


Now, it comes time for me to beg your forgiveness with the more-serious nature of the last couple of posts. It gets that way around here from time to time.

I blame September’s arrival, and with it the noticeable swallowing up of large chunks of daylight by the onrushing autumn. While I love Fall, and the prospect of chilly nights, fleece jackets, cold noses at football games and halftime shows, colorful rains of leaves, and the arrival of Hallowe’en, it does take some time for me to get adjusted to the fact that those things I enjoy come with a decreased daily dose of sunshine.

Tiff needs her vitamin D, and it gets harder and harder to find it this time of year. So sad.

Eh, prolly by tomorrow the pendulum will swing back to the silly side. We shall see. I’m sure you’re all on pins and needles, WAITING.

Don’t poke yourself, and I’ll see you around here tomorrow.

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