Dream BIGGER

Your satisfaction with life is only as large as the goals you put in front of yourself. It’s okay to be a bit crazy. Push yourself. Dare to do the things that scare you, because every insane step makes the next one look easier. You have the capacity to do more than work and die.

Be the person everyone is talking about. Be the person that you’re jealous of today.

I’m okay – Wait, what?

Show of hands, who has locked themselves in the bathroom to have a minute where no one can see your face?

I know I certainly do it. It’s a chance to let out some tension, take a deep breath, reset yourself, and flip your hair back into something fabulous (or whatever is passing for fabulous on the given day).

Usually, I do this on purpose. Today, however, I was more than a little bemused when I caught myself whispering “it’s okay, you got this,” on what I’d thought was a cut-and-dry bathroom break.

Really, J? You need to do this today? Are you just so conditioned to stress that this is Pavlovian now? Are you going to be telling the bathroom walls you’re okay for the rest of your life?

Well… Yes, probably. About halfway through berating myself, I realized I had been stressed, even if I hadn’t noticed it. And as for a Pavlovian response – telling myself it would be okay had worked. I’d acknowledged the scary task bothering me (hello, leading a training for an out-of-state office) and was ready to move on to actually tackling the task at hand. How cool is that?

I apologized to my subconscious. After all, it’s nice to know she’s got my back even when I don’t know I need it.

And now to plan that damn training….

Spring Forward

I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling today. Early alarms. Dark commute. Why do we have Daylight Savings Time, anyhow?

I didn’t want to get up, either, especially since our thermostat didn’t get set forward and the bedroom was FREEZING this morning. But I’ve been working on increasing the positivity in my life, and this seems like a good place to apply that idea. So yes, today I drug myself out of bed in the cold and dark. But…

I got to watch the sun turn gorgeous colors on my commute instead of staring into the sun.

Apparently everyone else was struggling too, because traffic was a lot lighter this morning. No showdowns!

The sun will be up long enough tonight that I can go for a run around my new neighborhood.

We’ve had sun two days in a row, so the sky eventually did get brighter.

And the high today is 40! (not exactly related, but still very, very exciting! Maybe spring is coming after all.)

Kitty is very happy with his sunlight… And the fact that I left something soft where he could lay on it.

Choose Your Day

What stories do you tell yourself? This morning, because I’ve been paying attention, I’ve caught “I hate calling people,” “I’m such an awkward person,” and “today is just bleh.”

In other words, I’ve got a lot of excuses to do less than my best work and settle for having a “bleh” day. And while I can’t change the weather, the rest of that is all my decision.

What stories do you tell yourself? Do they push you forward, or are they holding you back?

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You might not be on a beach, but you can focus on the positives.

More Living, Less Chores

I’ve been getting frustrated with chores lately.  Not “I’d rather read a book than straighten up the kitchen” – my inner thoughts have sounded more like “if I have to touch another piece of laundry or dirty dish in the next year I am going to SCREAM.”

There’s no reason for me to be so upset.  Nothing has changed.  We’ve had a long-time policy of doing small batches of dishes after each meal so they don’t pile up, and (after growing up without one, this still doesn’t come naturally to me) I’ve gotten much better about utilizing the dishwasher.  Laundry has always been “my” chore, but since the hubby no longer works on Saturday mornings, he now helps me put the clothes away.

Apparently, none of that matters.  I’ve still just been pissed.

Then I found an old notebook while going through my desk at work.  Even with the majority of my personal and work life digitized, I’m still a sucker for notebooks.  There’s something so inviting about them, so promising.  They make me feel grand, like each page is my ticket to the perfect life, and all I have to do is pick up my pen.  So with nothing better to do on my lunch break, I wrote “Spend more time living and less time existing” at the top of a page and started jotting down ideas.

The first few were obvious – we’d discussed getting a maid to come in once a month after we move to our new house, and I’ve been toying with the idea of services like PrimePantry for a while.  Sure, they were all valid ideas, but none of them would change the problems that were bothering me.  And then, about four lines in, it hit me.  I’m not sure where the phase came from – some old Pinterest post?  a joke I heard in college? my frustrated brain throwing out a solution when I actually did something other than complain? – but it popped into my head all at once.

Buy more underwear, do less laundry.

I paused.  Ran the thought through my mind again.  Flipped it over and examined all sides for any evidence of tampering or sorcery or other things that you consider when something is maybe just a little too good to be true.  Nothing.

Buy more underwear, do less laundry.

So I wrote it down – the pen didn’t break, the notebook didn’t catch fire – took a picture, and sent it to my husband.  He responded immediately: “OMG yes.  And more dress shirts?”

Fair enough.  I’d been meaning to get him more shirts ever since he started his new job this fall, now was as good a time as any.  Feeling thoroughly out of my funk now, I ran through all the specific reasons laundry has been driving me crazy.  Thanks to our record-breaking lows of the past month, I’ve been wearing my thickest sweaters on repeat, all of which require air-drying at the very least.  Same with our wool socks.  Unless I hire a weekly maid/housekeeper (not happening any time in the near future) or figure out a laundry service (now I have to talk to someone to get my laundry done? and deal with their schedule?), laundry will never be done for good.  But I can get rid of the parts that annoy me the most.

That was when part two of my epiphany hit.  Growing up, laundry was a long task.  We air-dried everything on clothes lines strung up along the porch of our detached garage, so the process included hauling the loads up and down the path, wiping off the clothes lines, shifting the clothes pins so you didn’t end up with creases in your favorite shirt, and keeping an eye out for rain – and we did this every Saturday.

I’d already done away with most of the process, thanks to the in-unit washer and dryer in our apartment.  Why not change the rest?  Just because my parents wash their clothes weekly doesn’t mean it’s a requirement for me.  Duh, honey.

I looked up the brand and type of my sole tumble-dry-low sweater and bought it in three more colors.  (Bonus: it’s sale season for sweaters!)  The hubby picked out some button downs that aren’t blue.  He got more underwear.  I ordered another bra.  I even found some machine-dry camisoles, although I haven’t convinced myself it’s worth the price yet.  Pulling out the drying rack isn’t that bad, after all – as long as I don’t have to find room for half my wardrobe on it.

We’ll see how much the changes help.  For now, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic.

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Kitty wins for enthusiasm at chore time.

Do you have any “more living, less chores” tips?  What has made the biggest difference for you?