Monday, November 2, 2015

Crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea*

I feel a little silly about my Halloween rant last week, it was actually incredibly fun. I still hate most holidays, but I'll admit that Halloween is the least offensive. It helped that it was a lovely day, and we had a great celebration of fall and neighborhood spirit. I actually dressed up for the first time in many many years, and I enjoyed the creative challenge. I realized how much I love the way our 'hood does Halloween, where you don't have to knock on doors, but everyone is camped out on the stoop drinking wine & handing out candy. The kids had so much fun trick or treating and then sitting out on our stoop devouring their stash and handing out ours with glee (B: "I LOVE CANDY. Skittles. Kit Kat. M&Ms. CHOCOLATE. Here, have some candy! YES TAKE IT. TAKE MORE. CANDY!!!!") He got a little high on candy. I had to take him on a run around the neighborhood at 8pm so that we could get him to bed.

Sunday, however, was...what's the word...oh yes. Completely shitty.  I really really tried to have a pleasant day, but, yeah. For reasons outside of my control, it royally sucked. And Saturday morning wasn't that great either. I did NOT run the 5K, though we cheered on our neighbors and B ran the 2 block kids race. I basically started & ended the weekend in tears in the bathroom and I'm not usually a crier.

I was reading SHU's post about her amazing October and my first instinct was to say "Oh, my October sucked." Because parts of it really did. But I'm trying to get away from that habit of painting entire long periods of time with the same ugly brush stroke, obliterating all the lovely little things that I've forgotten or overlooked.  Obviously October had some good moments mixed in with the rough ones. I wrote about two entire weekends that were amazing. Why not focus on those? If I'm going to tell myself a story, why not tell the more positive one?

I used to think that happiness was something you arrived at when everything was finally going right. When you love your job, your marriage rocks, your kids are awesome and healthy and well-behaved, you have this close knit group of friends...THEN you'll be happy! And of course, its easy to feel happy when things line up and life is easy. But that happiness can be fleeting, because nothing stays lined up, and rough patches are part of every life. True happiness arises despite the complications, in the ability to realize that "this too shall pass" and also to notice that even on the blackest days, there are tiny glimmers of beauty and joy, if we only allow ourselves to notice. Those words, that sound so trite, like "resilience" and "presence"...they may be overused but they are true.

I wrote a post about October goals. I'm not even linking it or going back to read it because I know I failed spectacularly. Like I said, it was not an easy month. But I'm picking back up and starting over, today (because yesterday...ugh). So here are my November goals
  • Gratitude journal every night---write 3 good things from every day, especially as relates to interactions with B (this was recommended by my therapist when I mentioned my spiral-of-doom fears about his recent issues)
  • Exercise 4 times/week: T/Th/Sa/Su (not going to happen this week since I'm on call this weekend, but I need to do my Tues/Thurs workouts this week. The past week, I only worked out once which is really unusual for me and may explain some things...)
  • Meditate! 10 minutes/daily 
  • Paper planning for work and home tasks (inspired, again, by Sarah)
  • Get eating back on track (this is vague, but I know it when I see it, and it certainly doesn't involve gorging on cheese at 10pm)
  • On non-workout days, wake up at 6am (this is 30 minutes earlier than previous. I did this today and it helped immensely to be fully ready before kids woke up)
  • Organize/purge/inventory winter wardrobe
Oh man, I want to keep going, but I think it need to keep it short so I have a better chance of success.

Soon (hopefully tomorrow) I'll detail my new clothing purchases and ask for some advice. There may be pictures! Not of me, just the clothes.

*Another Anne quote, regarding November



    I think your goals sound fantastic. I hope the paper planning works for you. I don't even know why it works so well for me but it just really, really does.
    And judging from your last few weekend posts, it sounds like your October really WASN'T a bad month!!

    1. there were definitely some rough things that happened this month---all piled together, and plus I got sick TWICE. So yeah, it wasn't perfect, but there were certainly good moments, like those two weekends!

    2. being sick SUCKS. i hate it too. so, that doesn't count :)

  2. In college, I met a long-term married couple in which the wife was an optimist and the husband was a pessimist. They viewed the same life through two completely different lenses. I made the decision right then and there to try harder to look on the bright side because she was so much happier. Resilience and persistence and perspective can make such a big difference.

    Also: being sick sucks (as I listen to RAs in the cubicle near me coughing their lungs out) and you definitely had some great weekend posts this past month!

  3. Being sick sucks so much. Cut yourself some slack.

    I laughed when you said Halloween wasn't so bad after all. I had some of the same feelings of dread, and was similarly pleasantly surprised. Yay! Maybe next time I won't be such a grump about it.

    1. Or maybe, being a grump & lowering your expectations allowed us to have a pleasant surprise!? (my usual MO, that I'm trying to change, bc its I don't want to be a grump)

  4. Being sick really can sore even the best moments. But I think you're right that it can be easy to look back at a big swath of time and paint it with a broad brush. It's important that we remember the nuance in every season, there is nuance in every day! Every moment! It can be hard to remember that, especially when we have little kids and it can seem like we are dealing with the same problems day in and day out.

  5. Sorry for the rough weekend.

    We went with friends to their neighborhood that does Halloween as you describe - it was fantastic and so much more kid friendly & allowed for so much more interaction & conversation.

  6. It's funny how you were stressed about Halloween being on a weekend. I was so glad to not be rushing home in time for the trick-or-treaters (who start SO early, I usually miss a few) and trying to make dinner while answering the door. Also, I felt like I didn't need to come up with plans for my kids for the day, because I could just tell them our plans were Halloween. It did end up being relaxing and fun. We put up our decorations in the afternoon and were ready to go before anybody rang our bell, so we chatted a bit with neighbors and it was really nice.

    And I'm a fan of paper planning, too!


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