Saturday, January 08, 2011
In this week's 5% Challenge assignment, we are to take at least 15 minutes each day as "me time," focusing on resting, learning, or enjoying something. It will be hard for me! Especially in times of slogging through freelance projects & having to postpone the deadline (as I have twice with my current project), I tend to feel guilty or otherwise conflicted if I take a little time for myself.
But hey, it's an assignment & I'll be letting down my team if I don't participate, right? So earlier this evening I took the time . . . I ate my last cinnamon roll (part of a Christmas box from one of my sisters) & listened to an NPR interview with an author I admire, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She'll be the next judge of a "three-minute fiction" contest--stories of 600 words or less sent in by listeners. I started dreaming of writing a story & entering it! Being a poet, I'm used to writing in very compressed forms & working hard to find just the right words, as every one has to count. The deadline is a couple of weeks from now . . . I'm definitely going to keep thinking about it.
Here are some ideas for more me time in the coming week:
* work on that story!
* work on poems
* read more in my current book (Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-63), which is really fascinating
* light a candle in the evening & just sit in quietness for a while
* make some tea & put on a CD & just listen to it, instead of multitasking as I usually do
* take out my Prismacolor pencils & draw something
It's going to be a good week.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Last night I paid bills. In recent months I have enjoyed doing it, as I watch my debt balances go down steadily. I'm in a time of losing debt just as I'm losing pounds--two types of unhelpful weight!
But sometime early this morning I woke up & couldn't go back to sleep. I realized that I had forgotten to check my bank balance to see what previous checks had cleared & which were still outstanding. This made me fret in that gloomy middle-of-the-night way . . . what if I've paid too much on credit cards & have to resort to paying for food with credit later in the month? I could have gotten up, pulled out my checkbook, & gone to the computer to compare it with my online balance. But with my kind of insomnia, if I get up during one of these bouts I can kiss sleep goodbye for the rest of the night. So I turned off my alarm & just stayed in bed until finally, finally I went back to sleep. Today is my work-from-home day, so I knew I could sleep in as needed.
I actually ended up sleeping till 10:30 a.m.! That means I probably lost 4 hours in the early morning.
But the scale had good news for me today--I'm down nearly 3 pounds in just a couple of days! The Isoniazid I'm taking to knock out any active TB bacteria in my system has weight loss as one side effect, my doctor told me. Is that kicking in even though I only started taking it on Monday? Or is it just my increased exercise & restrained eating? Either way, I'm tickled. Now I have just 3.6 pounds to lose by the end of this month to meet my 5% interim goal!
And when I compared my checkbook to my account online, there were no nasty surprises. I'll have plenty for food & other small ongoing expenses. And a couple of freelance payments should arrive late in the month to allow me to make one regular monthly donation & pay one last bill. What a relief.
It will take awhile for me to be healed of the long-term stress I suffered over my years of marriage, as I worked & worked & tried to be frugal but our debt kept rising because my husband didn't work & wasn't frugal. My brain & body need to relearn peace & trust.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Yesterday was a challenging day, & it showed in my eating. My intent was to continue with light eating to address the weight that came back on during Christmas festivities. But I ended up doing some emotional eating. Not binging, just taking in more than I needed, aware that I was doing it to seek comfort. Here are some reasons I was feeling down/stressed.
1. My daughter is leaving early to return to Colombia. Her time with me & with other family & friends has been great--except that almost all of us have cats, & she is terribly allergic. We hoped that short stays in various homes would work out for her, but she became sicker & sicker. The only friend who has room & no cats can offer only a sofa to sleep on, & it's not very comfortable. Better to change her ticket & return to her safe, catless home on another continent than to end up in the hospital! She takes off New Year's Eve morning, very early.
2. My son can't come up from St. Louis till New Year's Eve day, so he will miss seeing his sister.
3. I need to get a ton of freelance work done in the next few days, & that is causing me some anxiety. I have been feeling averse to tackling it for weeks now--getting close to burnout. Thankfully, once I get paid for teaching my first advanced editing course, I will not have to edit freelance nearly as much. But I won't get paid for that teaching till late April or maybe May.
4. As motivation/reward for doing lots of editing, I want to plan a movie outing, something I haven't done for months. This would be on the evening of January 1 or 2. Yesterday I almost invited a friend who has been going through a LOT of pain as her marriage has been breaking up & she's feeling rejected by both of her young teenage daughters. She really wants the company of friends--but after writing an e-mail suggesting the movie night, I just couldn't send it. I'm pretty burned out in that friendship just as I'm burned out with editing nights & weekends. She is smart & a good person but doesn't take care of herself very well--doesn't have a regular prayer practice, doesn't exercise, doesn't write or read for fun, lets her house get terribly messy so it's not a welcoming place for friends or for herself. So she is needy. She wants an audience for all her thoughts about money & relationship management. Her e-mails are often long play-by-plays of difficult interactions with her daughters or her husband--they're exhausting to read. We have talked about some of these issues & she expresses an intention to change, but so far it's the same. Change is hard, as we all know!
I want to support her, but I'm worn out. Seeing a movie with her would be fine, but I would not look forward to the conversation in the car before & after! So I listened to my heart & erased the message. But my heart also wants to be kind to her!
5. I have some other wonderful local friends, but those who are my age are married or in a serious relationship, & those who are single are much younger. So I'm having a hard time thinking of someone to go to the movies with! I've gone alone before & don't mind it, but New Year's is not the right moment for that.
Maybe I'll call an old friend who lives in the suburbs. It would be a long drive for me to go out there--but who knows, maybe she'll be up for coming into the city & having a fun ethnic dinner & seeing a movie with me. Or I could make the drive . . .
6. Because my daughter was getting sick while she was at my house, she wasn't available to help me with some cleanup & furniture-moving projects I have on hold. My son will be able to do some of the moving/rearranging with me, but I'm the only one who can tackle the mounting piles of paper. Paper is always my nemesis!
OK, several interrelated reasons to be struggling right now. It has been good to write it all out--& if you've read this whole post, you're a hero! Now I think I can handle what I'm feeling & not channel the struggle into my eating. Tonight I'm driving to the burbs to take my daughter out to one last dinner, this time at a Mexican restaurant. I think I will write down how many chips I'm going to enjoy--maybe 6? the salsa at this place is fabulous!--& order fajitas with no rice or tortillas. A beer? I'll decide that only after I see how today's calories/nutrients are adding up.
Monday, December 27, 2010
2011 will include a new challenge in my work life: I'll teach Advanced Editing as a three-day intensive--first in March & again in July. After completing the March course & grading, I'll be able to cut way back on the freelance editing I've been doing to pay down debt. This will free up most weekends & some weeknights, which will be lovely. I want to use that time wisely--including having more fun!
Second, more sobering, I'll be filing for divorce & doing some negotiations with my soon-to-be-ex--that will be painful & difficult, I have no doubt. And sometimes time consuming.
Third, a wonderful thing: my first grandchild is due March 3! I foresee lots more weekend trips to St. Louis in my future.
So plenty of change is coming & I'm not going to set difficult new physical goals for myself. I look forward to continuing with the practices that have been working for me in recent weeks/months (regular exercise, tracking food, encouraging Sparkfriends, completing 5% challenges) . . . which will bring me to my goal weight somewhere around midyear.
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