With New Years resolutions flying here and there, most people are focusing on who they can become, not who they were. Yet I sit here in the floor with my 8 month old daughter as she plays, still in my pjs at lunchtime and wondering why I ate a chocolate doughnut for breakfast not long ago (not to mention why I even had such crap in my house to begin with!). Rachel has become very clingy over the holiday break and won’t let me get a foot away from her for most of the day. Getting a shower on days when I’m home by myself with her is an achievement these days. So I’m sitting here feeling a little sorry for myself, though it’s been great hanging with my little mini-me and watching her learn new stuff everyday. People everywhere are focusing on making improvements to their lives, but I can’t help but find myself looking back to my old self, the one who would have gotten a great run in this morning, who would have had a yummy protein shake for breakfast, and who would already be in the middle of a fun new workout program. She would throw on her cute workout outfit whenever the mood struck her and get down to business. Or she’d lay around reading a good book after her morning run, enjoying her coffee and planning what to do with the rest of her last leisurely day off from work. She might go shopping, make a new running playlist, or work on a new painting. As a new mom, I feel guilty about even thinking this way. I love my daughter and have enjoyed the past two weeks with her. Though I no longer have the ability to focus only on myself for the new year, becoming a mother helps me to focus on a new type of resolution, one that isn’t so selfish. Because as much as I know that I still need lots of improvement, now my resolve is based on what’s best for my family. I want to unplug more, get angry and stressed less often, and show Rachel all the love and attention that is possible. No new workout plan can compare to the life-changing power of a sweet baby. Becoming mother is a far greater achievement than becoming hottie ever could be. The road and my running shoes will be there. Rachel will only cling to me for a short while. There will be a day when she won’t need to reach for my hand as she tries to stand on her own.
What We Do With Our Days January 27, 2012
It’s amazing to me how much time people waste, myself included. I stayed off Facebook last night and cleaned the kitchen, washed clothes, and took down our Christmas tree, and I was amazed at how much I got done in a relatively short amount of time. In my defense about the tree, I left it up for ambience so Jamie and I could celebrate Christmas together when he got home last week. It was nice to have everything still Christmasy when he tore into packages. :o) Anyway, I used to spend lots of time sitting at the computer, mostly waiting on Jamie to get on at night so I could chat with him. I guess I could have been doing other things, but I was always afraid I’d miss him getting on. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on there at all since he’s been home.
I have definitely been realizing just how much time I can waste, even more so now that I’ve worked three jobs at once. Since my night class didn’t make and I’m not traveling almost an hour one way twice a week, I now have a nice chunk of “free time,” probably about 7 extra hours each week, time that I had before I started working at EMCC but really didn’t realize I had. I just wasted it at night, I guess. A big help has been cutting out most television, though. Years ago when I had an 8-5 office job, I’d come home, plant my butt on the couch, and watch probably 3-4 hours of t.v. every night! I just can’t imagine that these days. Of course, that was before I caught the running bug. Another time-sucker was playing computer games, which I rarely do anymore, primarily because I know how addicted I can get to them. I was into the hard-core RPG’s that immerse you in the environment and storyline and could suck away 5 hours, and it would seem like only 30 minutes had gone by! So after staying up late cleaning and putting stuff away, I STILL got on FB for a little social networking fix last night! I know, terrible.
Is there anything wrong with devoting your time to something “useless” like excessive t.v. watching, Internet surfing, or video game playing? Who determines what is useless and what isn’t? It seems to me that stamp collecting is an utterly useless hobby, but to a stamp collector, it is a perfectly valid use of time. It really all comes down to how you view your own time and the activities you do to fill up that time. If gardening is important to you, you devote your time to it. If slaying dragons and giants is your choice of entertainment, then you do that when you have free time. If playing a sport is what you like to do, then you don’t see it as a waste of your time. I guess what becomes an issue is how your activities affect the necessary parts of your life, like spending time with family, cleaning and taking care of the household, getting enough sleep for work, etc. For me, whatever I do that is taking up my free time, I feel like it should have value I can see (artwork, healthier body from working out, writing that I might be able to sale eventually, learning something new, etc.). I guess I am practical that way. I do surf the internet for entertainment and watch movies sometimes. I guess someone who sits in front of a t.v. for hours each night could argue that it’s their “unwinding time” or their choice for entertainment, and I can see that. Most people believe that blogging is a waste of time, but I love expressing myself in that way of I have a little time to write. Sometimes we need to cut each other slack about our choices of activities.
I suppose one of my pet peeves is that people often say, “I don’t have time for that,” when in reality, what they mean is that they don’t MAKE time for it, whatever “it” is. For instance, if you want to learn how to play an instrument, you’ll swap an hour or two each week from television to lessons and practice. Even working three jobs plus doing arts and crafts to consign at a local shop, I still cleaned the house each week and worked out regularly, because those things were important to me. Had violin been more important than working out and improving my health, I would have taken up lessons again in place of exercise.
What got me to thinking about all of this is what I want to do with my free time now that the English Composition class didn’t make. I of course want to spend more time with Jamie, and we have been really enjoying the extra time. When he goes back to work on the night shift, I know I probably won’t see him as much in the evenings, particularly when earlier when he’ll be sleeping. I hope to get my exercise equipment set up in the workshop soon so I can workout without waking him up too early. I’d also like to set aside a little bit of the 7 hours regained each week to get back into writing. The difficult part about that is devoting that time to just that and then sticking to it. I might also pick back up on my violin lessons, particularly if I can find a teacher closer to home. I definitely like to keep myself busy. :o) I feel like I’ve wasted too many years being lazy or doing “hobbies” that seem pointless to me now. Our lives pass us by so quickly, and we waste so much time on things that aren’t important. I want to focus on doing activities that I can find value in, things that I can look back on in 10 or 20 years and say, “I’m really glad I did that,” rather than, “What did I do with all that time I had?”
Spring Grooming February 16, 2011
After more snow than we’ve seen in Mississippi for years, we finally have some beautiful, spring-like weather this week. It’s been between 68 and 75 everyday. For people who are definitely not used to icy roads and slushy snow, this has been a very welcome weather-180.
But with warm weather comes some additional challenges for the females, because out come the sandals, Capri pants, skirts, dresses, and eventually the dreaded bikini. Most women get very relaxed during the winter months, because less skin that shows means less upkeep. We get used to taking the 8 minute shower or slathering on lotion only when the cold weather has parched our skin. When the weather warms up, we have to start shaving daily again and waxing areas we may leave less tended during the cold months. We now have to spend hours buffing, shaping, and painting toenails that haven’t seen the light of day in four months and pulling out the pumice stone and moisturizer to try to get rid of dry skin. Then, enter either the tanning bed or spray tan until warm enough weather for real sun rays. We have to spend 20-30 minutes putting on accelerator and laying under bulbs or we have to spend 20-30 spraying on skin tint (or rubbing in cream if you’re really brave!) and waiting on it to dry. With both the tanning bed and with spray tanning, we must now spend extra time moisturizing everything two to three times a day to maintain our faux golden glow.
Then when hot weather gets here, the real work hits. Not only do we have to do all of the above, but now we have the added pressure of being scrutinized in the most minimal of clothing – the itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny dreaded bikini. Oh, and all that waxing and/or shaving we’ve done? Well combine that with pool chemicals and sunburn, and now we’ll have to deal with bikini rash and maybe ingrown hairs, too! Man, it’s a lot of work. But year after year, we gals do these extra things to continue to participate in the social feminine customs of our culture as the temps rise. And every year, our own temps rise as we rush to find time for all this extra grooming.
I’m not really complaining. I actually feel more feminine in the warmer months and like to take extra time to feel girly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some hairy mammoth in the winter, but I definitely don’t spend as much time on grooming when I know I’ll be covered up most of the time. I was just thinking today about just how much time we women do put into it on a weekly basis when the weather starts getting nice. Time has definitely become a commodity for me these days, so I’m always a little apprehensive when I know my time is going to be consumed by yet something else. But I’ll get into my groove, and it won’t seem so time consuming once I get back used to all the extra grooming. I hear orange is the new hot color this summer, and since I know how horrible I look dressed in the color orange, I may just need to go find me a bottle of orange-shaded O.P.I. nail polish for these toes that are about to be freshly pedicured!
Time Flies January 4, 2011
It’s happening too quickly. It occurred to me last night as a lay in bed beside Jamie, listening to his breathing and occasional snores, that as fast as the past two weeks flew by while I was on Christmas vacation, the next two weeks are going to go by even faster, and he will be gone. It was great to have time off work for both of us to spend some quality time together this Christmas, but it really seems like it went by in a blink. I can only hope that his deployment will go by with similar speed. I just think back to all that has happened in the past year and don’t have much hope that it will. It seems like eons ago we went on our cruise to the Caribbean. That was in June. Only half a year ago? Wow. And even longer still that we bought this house and moved in. That was
a lifetime ago a year ago.
It was another January not too long ago that I felt these same feelings and went back to another semester at MSU, telling my friends Nicki and Jessie that I was about to get married because Jamie was getting deployed. It had been like an atomic bomb drop that January, but this time, it has been an acid eating away casually at my insides.
I dread going back to work tomorrow not because I don’t want to teach but because I know that it will make these moments fly by. And there is so much to take care of before he leaves. If women can have weeks for maternity leave, why can’t they have a few weeks for deployment leave? Maybe if I had a super power, it’d be to stop time when I needed to or to speed it up when the occasion arose.