Bettering yourself

Quiet Reflection

When Dashel was a baby, he (and let’s not fool ourselves, us too) would look forward to this small window of time every morning- about 15-30 minutes, that we grew to affectionately call “quiet reflection.” Dash would sit in his little bouncey chair after waking up from an (ahem) restful night’s sleep and just look around. He would watch his little toes wiggle, “count his fingers,” poke through a board book, or sometimes just stare off into space. It was the best. It gave us all a little time in the morning to take a deep breath before getting the day started, and I would often reflect a bit as well, mostly about how being a new mom was simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The other day- a day I am now referring to as Terrible Tuesday, led me to a moment of quiet reflection about how my 2018 was going so far.

I started this year off so excited and full of hope- as I do every new year, and now that it’s May (and almost half way through 2018), I feel a little more like Ben Gibbard’s lyrics- “so this is the New Year, I don’t feel any different.” I had been mostly still keeping up the hope of carrying out my New Year’s resolutions, ridding myself of my bad habits, and implementing the good ones. But then, Tuesday happened. It started off like any other Tuesday; the alarm went off, Steve tapped me and told me it was 5am. I winced and nodded, “uh huh” I managed to groan out. I then rolled over and continued to lay in bed for at least another 35 minutes- par for the course. I finally dragged myself out of bed and initiated the morning routine. (Which, is far from something I would describe as a “well oiled machine.”) I lumbered to the shower, got dressed (after staring at my closet for at least 6 minutes thinking- I hate everything in here), and started to try to wake the kids to get them ready. Dash is in the midst of potty training- so anyone that’s gone through this before knows, you cannot rush the potty routine- and by the time I knew it I was already running 10 minutes behind the time I like to get out of the house- although the last time I really got out at that time was..hmm…actually, when was that? I fumbled around with (4!) haphazardly packed bags, trying to get out the door, when my husband said to me, I can’t find Conan (the dog) and he’s somewhere outside so be careful as you pull out. Ugh- the last thing I want is to worry about peeling out of the driveway because my pup’s life may be in the balance. With keys in hand, I opened the front door, to be confronted by my parent’s car blocking me in- they were staying with us for a few days while they were having their floors done. Luckily, they had left their keys out and we were able to move the car quickly and I finally got out and was on my way to work- white knuckled and staring at the clock for the next 35 minutes. God, I hate being late- yet, it’s my signature move.

I was upset. Not just because I was running late, again. But because this year is supposed to be MY YEAR. This was supposed to be the year that I turned things around and started really eliminating the things that frustrated me about my life and therefore left me feeling unhappy.  Being late, living in clutter, being unorganized/losing things, having a stressed mind far too often, not keeping up with my personal relationships the way I want to, not being mindful enough, being broke, being perpetually 15 pounds overweight- you get the idea.

Although this story, so far, seems like doom and gloom, I actually want to ensure you that I’m trying to turn it into a rags to riches success story. On January first I joined the ONE LITTLE WORD challenge with the hopes of 2018 being different than all the other years that I started and stopped, over and over again. I chose the word cultivate, with the intention of cultivating the life that I truly want to be living. To my estimation, I have spent the first 5 months of this year figuring out what it really means to have the life I want. Figuring out what life is best for me and what I want, yet have been super lacking in the implementation and habit building part of it.

A good friend of mine recommended Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier to me the other day, and after downloading my first episode, I was hooked already. Gretchen gives very practical advice, “happiness hacks,” that are so easy, you might as well give them a try to see if they improve your life or the lives of those around you. While listening, she referenced her “4 Tendencies.” This concept describes 4 character profiles (we all fit into one) that shape our lives and habits. I had to take this quiz and find out which I was. Almost as soon as I got to work, I opened my browser and took her 5 minute quiz. Before I even received my results, I knew what they would be.

The Obliger. The Obliger “responds readily to outward expectations but struggles to meet inner expectation. Obligers work hard to not let other people down, but often let themselves down.” Wow, this. Yes. That’s me. Rubin’s first piece of advise for Obligers that are struggling with personal challenges is to create external accountability. (I thought about the days when I attended Weight Watchers; almost obsessively watching that scale to make sure I was somewhere in the negative compared to last week.) So, it wasn’t difficult to put the pieces together and realize that this blog, that I’ve been real shitty at updating, could be my personal accountability forum. I have been listening to The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, and she used her personal blog to track her progress of losing 30 pounds, getting out from under $30,000 of credit card debt, and going sober! And with that, I’m using Cait as my inspiration to log my own progress in implementing a happier life for myself.

On top of tracking my journey to living at a higher frequency, I am hoping to share with you the resources that helped me, and maybe ones that didn’t help me too, in order to assist you on your own journey, if you so wish.

I hope you follow along with me on this journey or suggest something that you think may help me, as I hope this all helps you in some way too. I know Cait’s personal journey coupled with Gretchen providing me my “a ha!” moment helped me to kick start initiating my new year off right, on May 10th.

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