Who exactly decided that you have to outgrow playtime? This thought has vexed me for quite a bit now. I don’t buy into that crap — that’s right, you heard me. Why should age dictate ability to go out and enjoy one’s self? It shouldn’t. And lately, I’ve been taking steps to separate my age from my play. Just today I spent a good chunk of time blowing bubbles, coloring on the front walkway, and hula hooping with the kids. The weather was far too beautiful to ignore, and the kids are growing up way too fast. To be honest, health is also fairly fleeting, so why waste time sitting around letting old age set in? Life is meant to be lived. I find myself surviving too much instead of living. I meditated a bit upon the floating bubbles that shimmered in the sunshine, contemplating life and my direction — and it was pretty relaxing, actually. I highly recommend spending an afternoon blowing bubbles just for the fun of it. Your whole perspective on life gets a little nip-tuck. I can’t quite advocate for taking up skate boarding in your late 20s, but you never know.
Playing helps me uphold my integrity, which is a very strong theme for me this year. In order to thrive, I must cultivate my life with integrity. I need to be authentic with myself. I need to embrace my desires to frolic in the sunshine, to embrace my need to enjoy the fleeting moments of youth before life pass me by. I cannot be anyone else but myself, and myself wants to play.
The draft I “saved” disappeared. It’s sort of funny in a cosmic sense — not very much has been going my way, and I’ve been charged with forging forward in spite of circumstances. During August we had a serious failure of our only vehicle, and it has been a miserable experience. Thankfully, things have worked out, and our vehicle will be fixed by the weekend. However, this situation helped me realize that I’ve got a wonderful community willing to support me through rough times, and it helped me realize that I can’t keep taking life day-by-day. In the past I used to think months and years ahead, but the past two years have taught me that life doesn’t always follow your plans. Yet somehow I need to adapt my plans for contingencies. There’s no more room for error. What I do today helps shape what happens tomorrow. If I spend the day laying around bemoaning my woes, tomorrow the woes will still be waiting for me. If I spend today brainstorming ways to lessen and negate the woes, tomorrow I’m that much closer to achieving my goals.
These challenges are merely a test of my will — and my will is still stronger than the tests. But when my strength begins to fade, I know that I have very kind-hearted people who can help rebuild that strength.
Up until this month, the words seemed to just flow freely from my finger tips. Posts were plentiful. Then I set out to take leaps, and apparently I leapt straight into a brick wall. Stunned silence took over, and thus the ebb began. Everything operates in cycles, though — or it seems that way. The seasonings are currently cycling out of winter and into spring in the northern hemisphere. Cherry blossoms began blooming down the road. The Carolina chickadees returned. Daylight lasts longer. I’m sure during the coming week or so we’ll see fresh, new leaves unfurling from the tree branches. The flow of life will commence, culminating in the summer and early autumn harvests.
However, I’m currently experiencing a writing ebb. My words may be fewer, but perhaps the flow of spring will inspire the amateur photographer in me.
Several thoughts to meditate upon crossed my mind this morning. Ultimately, it all pointed back to a main theme — dealing with disappointment and strife. Yet this was not what I had envisioned for 2012. I had envisioned growth, change, and cultivation. I had envisioned living the dream and really living — not just surviving the day to day. Today’s need to decline an apartment essentially compounding everything that’s occurred in the past few days, and an overwhelming sensation of defeat and loneliness washed over me. Is Mercury in retrograde again or something?
I’ve actually sat here with this in draft format for a few hours now. I’ve been overcoming the initial disappointment and frustration that came with my back-step into the land of the unknown — the land of uncertainty. I know that something will come along, but I want that something to come along right now. However, it serves as another reminder to take better care of myself and to cultivate the life I want to live.
I’m so glad that Kirsten clued me into her collaborative project with Kathy because it’s been so deliciously perfect to pair with my Cultivate 2012 project. “Weeding and tilling of soil necessary to build from the foundations” — see what I mean? But whereas my project has been an open-ended check in sort of project, they have taken to running a full-on Manifestival over there. So many prompts and questions provoke my thoughts and begin spinning thousands of threads that all tie together. Last year I created another list of 101 goals for 1001 days, and these women have inspired me to sit down with those goals and mold them into a manifesto. Because I took a day to plan ahead and schedule publishings, I’ve got a whole week to be with myself and focus on goals, intentions, self-care, and cultivation. It’s time to take a big leap instead of tip-toeing around my ideas. (Look for the keyword “leap” later this week.)
It would seem I don’t have the space or resources to create a physical manifestation board, so I’m going to finally make us of my Pinterest account to pin together inspiration and motivation. I’ll need to sit down with my planner and my cell phone to schedule bed time, writing time, exercise time, and quiet time. On the days in which I squeeze those actions in, I feel refreshed and peaceful. Bed time is especially important. It may sound silly, but a well-rested body is a more functional body. I’m not ready to sacrifice my body to a sedentary retirement, and I don’t believe a sedentary retire is the dream for me, either. It’s also time to learn to love myself — no more negative self-talk. Look at what I’ve accomplished this month alone: I’ve started the Cultivate 2012 project and have grown a following. Instead of locking away my genius, telling myself it doesn’t exist, I’m embracing it and sharing it with the world. I’m inviting others to embark upon a journey to live our lives to the fullest, to care for ourselves in a loving and nurturing way, and to make time to cultivate those lives we want to live. Instead of living by my saying “some times stupid comes out of my mouth,” I’m choosing to to live by a new saying: “Some times I speak brilliance.” It’s not meant to be egotistical either — it’s meant as a confidence booster. We should all focus on boosting our self-confidence in order to cultivate ourselves and those lives we want to live, and I especially know that a good confidence boost makes life a lot brighter and happier. When I feel good about myself, I smile more. I share more. I love more. And that’s the kind of life I want to live — a life of love, laughter, and happiness.
I’ve been suffering from my first infection of 2012 for the past six days. Working outside the home makes it fairly difficult to get the proper rest and self-care that I need, but overall I’ve made it a point to drink as much fluids (preferably warm) to flush my system. While at home, I’ve made sure to sit down and rest when I can — of course, having children makes that a bit difficult, as well. However, I’ve done incredibly well. I discovered that I love gingerbread spice tea (and unless I get a paid for endorsing the brand, I leave it to my readers to figure out the brand name). Yesterday I took a wee bit of my energy to clean up the bath tub and treat myself to a relaxing soak. Some times when I’m sick, a good soak in a tub filled with warm water calms me down and sucks out the illness. It may only provide temporary relief, but it certainly is nice to just relax in the water.
We’re already nine days into 2012 (two thousand twelve or twenty twelve?), and already I feel a greater peace with my life than I did this time last year. Perhaps that’s because last year I was just beginning my journey living under someone else’s roof. This year I’m anticipating a move very, very soon. We may not achieve our February 1st goal due to some very complicated reasons of which I will not explain in public, but we have definitely spent the majority of our time here at this point. Even if our plans get pushed back to, say, March 1st, we’ll still be alright. I’ve allowed myself to explore ideas to cultivate a life worth living (yes, I’m going to repeat this phrase over and over again throughout the year — brace yourselves!), as well as explore other projects that encourage readers to revel in themselves and their dreams. Incidentally, I’m much more pleasant when I’ve taken care of myself. I don’t do as well when all I’ve had to eat is junk and I’m dehydrated. I’ve known this for years, but somehow I always end up letting my needs fall to the back burner when I’m asked to do something else. In those cases, I carry resentment. Resentment turns into stress, headaches, migraines, back pain, and a weakened immune system — seriously not a good state of being for anyone. This is why I think we should all stop to cultivate ourselves. It’s a holistic approach to feeling better and performing better, and there shouldn’t be a sense of guilt or selfishness involved. After all, I end up feeling guilty when I feel resentful towards someone I care about just because I stopped to do something for them instead of eating breakfast or washing my face.
Today’s Cultivate 2012 actions were: eating chocolate cereal instead of snacking on cookies and fudge (note to self: unload the rest of the fudge on unsuspecting co-workers); completing crunches and yoga; meeting my water quota by 4PM; writing in green metallic ink; and spending a little extra time to plan a nice meal for Thursday night.
Over the past few years I’ve become very conscious of time. I got a fortune cookie once that said: “Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.” I absolutely believe in spending my minutes wisely. I get rather annoyed when I feel that someone or something is wasting my time — it’s akin to stealing in my book. What’s worse is that you’re not stealing something I can replace. We can never get back time once we’ve spent it. This is why I value my time.
As I write this post today, I’m very aware that I have less than a hour before I want this to publish. I know I have about two and a half hours to finish my morning and go to work. In between thought processes, I’m working on other tasks to make the best use of my time. I see little point in staring blankly at the screen as my mind draws blanks. And at this very moment, I realize that no more words need to be written because my point has been made very clear…
Time is too precious to waste.
I’ve found myself feeling very guilty that I haven’t written more than 932 words towards my NaNoWriMo project. Of course, I’m only writing it for myself at this point. I procrastinate because it’s in my dilatory nature. Yet I realize I shouldn’t feel guilty over this. When I came to this realization, I determined that I can let go of the guilt in other areas of my life. We all can. Guilt only serves to make us dwell upon bad decisions. It doesn’t necessarily help us move forward. If I’m too busy feeling guilty about my lack of writing or sweet indulgences, I’m not focusing on writing or eating better. As I’m working on disciplining myself better, I feel that it’s only fitting that I let go of the guilt. I need to have more discipline with regards to making positive changes in my life and the world around me rather than dwelling on my faults and the wrongs I see.
So I’m letting go of the guilt. Yes, I had entirely too much cake for my birthday and the ensuing week. Yes, I haven’t upheld my commitment to write 1667 words per day during the month of November. Yes, I’ve ignored my plans to incorporate more exercises into my daily routines. Yes, I some times go a day without meeting my sixty-four ounces of water quota. Yes, I have been staying up a little later than I should be, forgoing my required eight hours. I’m remembering that I can choose to eat healthier the next time I feed myself. I know that tomorrow is another day — a day in which I’ll have an hour break at work, where I can write in peace and quiet. I’m making the choice to enforce more discipline within myself in order to live a healthier, balanced life. So what if I don’t reach my 50,000 word quota? This story is rather delicate, so I’m fine with taking more time to carefully think out the details. There’s no need for guilt.
The birds are chirping. The kids are screaming. The dog paws at your leg to go outside. The phone rings. Someone stops by your desk to ask a question — or discuss last night’s episode of cop drama. Distractions are everywhere, and they specialize in derailing your focus. We’re expected to multitask throughout our lives, but somehow that just doesn’t seem to work. For example, at this very moment two of my three children are protesting nap time — one a little more loudly than the other. I only have so much time on my days off to write several posts, and I can find myself staring blankly at the screen, desperately trying to remind that brilliant line I created in my head. However, time continues to pass, and tasks must be accomplished. So how then are we expected to focus and produce quality results? What do we do to discipline ourselves during distracting moments?
First of all, move on to another task. I read this everywhere I go, but Cordelia’s the freshest in my mind. I may be loathe to do so, but sometimes folding the laundry helps relieve the irritation of distraction-induced writer’s block. Sure, I get irritated that I’m folding laundry, but at least I’m not dwelling on my lack of creative thoughts. If you’ve folded the laundry, washed the dishes, scrubbed the toilet, weeded the garden, washed the car, and scraped the gutters already, go do something else! If you’re at work, I’ve got nothing — as a co-worker of mine says, “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” I don’t know what your respective day jobs entail, so I trust you’ll figure out what to do.
Personally, I just spun a distracting situation into an essay. I chose to let my distractions become my focus in order to channel some creativity. It just takes some reframing of your perspective.