Lose 25 pounds, run 10km, squat body weight, save money, take tropical vacation, change life, become new person. All thoughts that I have regularly and which become hugely overwhelming and defeating. Thoughts that also project me so far into the future that I miss out on the day that I am living right now. Even from week to week; I plan for the next week and the next month and project ahead to see what things will look like and I lose what they look like right now. Through various forms of self-reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t continue on being Unrealistic Expectation Girl. I need to be Today Girl. I spend so much time picturing my life as a different person; me…..but better. Me…..but fitter. Me…..but happier. Me…….all the good qualities and none of the bad. Me……perfect. And the thought of trying to get to “perfect me” is exhausting and basically impossible.
So…..what if I change my thought process and focus on simply being the Me that I am right now. Today Girl. Today Girl looks at herself the way that she is right now….and banishes the “if this would change and that would get smaller and those would get bigger then I would be happier” thoughts. Today Girl makes a budget and then makes spending decisions per the budget…and banishes the “6, 8, 12 months from now I’ll have saved $$$ and then I’ll be happier” thoughts. Today Girl does a reasonable workout for the body and fitness she has today…..and banishes the “this is useless, I’ll never get there” and “6 months from now I’ll be a fierce, totally fit force to be reckoned with and then I’ll be happier” thoughts.
Today Girl recognizes where she is mentally and physically and works with exactly what she has right now and does not worry one iota about what she may have mentally or physically by tomorrow or next month. Today Girl recognizes that this will be a new way of thinking and that it may feel strange and uncomfortable and even a bit backwards but Unrealistic Expectation Girl’s way of thinking wasn’t working so I’ll try this.
Something I have been sorely missing in the last 8 months is time to myself. Just to think. To check in, to recalibrate, to blank my thoughts and rest my brain. I’ve lamented this lack of alone time for a while now, knowing that it’s part of my dissatisfaction with my life as it is right now. But oddly, I’ve been unwilling to do anything to really take back that time for myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt like “our” needs are greater than my needs and I’ve been loath to do anything that makes any other party uncomfortable or put upon. Given that it has recently become crystal clear to me just how valuable “time” can be and how greatly it can help my mood, outlook and disposition, I’ve made just “one small change” that my sister advised me to make.
Wednesday and Friday night are Chef’s Night Off. Basically The Chef is out of the building and both parties can make, buy, eat or not eat whatever they want for dinner and the next day’s lunch. PB&J? Go for it. Order pizza? Here’s the phone. A plate of watermelon? Sure thing. Protein shake and almonds? Great. Nothing at all? Consider yourself on a fast then. I complain (yes, it IS complaining) all the time about how I have no time and cooking is a huge time suck and I just need some downtime….and yet nothing changes. No miracle helper is sent to me, I still plan, shop for and make every meal that we eat, months go by and I’m in the same position I was in before but getting progressively more burnt out and, yes, resentful. So I have made the change that I need in order to care for myself. And yes, there will be an impact and yes, there will be an adjustment and there might even be some resentment from one or both of us………….but it’s non-negotiable. I need time and I’m taking it back. I’m taking it from “us” and giving it to “me”.
This may seem like a small and strange little step to take…but it’s the first step in reclaiming myself and figuring out who I am now that the dust has settled. It’s the first in a series of small changes that will see me become more responsible for myself and less responsible for everything that is “us”.