On March 26, 2006, I ate the following:
bk: coffee, yogurt, peanut butter on a banana
dn: chicken and sausage, mashed potatoes, green peas, wine
hmm. No lunch. But I remember that chicken and sausage recipe – it’s wonderful…you roast chicken thighs and sausage together with some broth, some onions and some garlic. A character in a book I read referred to it as a dish every Southern girl throws together when company arrives unexpectedly so of course, being from Michigan, I had to try it.
On July 30th, 2006, I ate:
bk: coffee, vanilla yogurt with pecans and sliced a sliced peach
lunch: veggie omelette
dn: turkey sausage, spinach
I seriously do not eat sausage regularly! I’m not stopping until I find a day w/out sausage…
Okay, here we go…On October 18, of this year, I ate: bk: coffee, oatmeal. ln: 1/2 turkey sandwich, 1 cup soup. dn: 2 glasses wine, shrimp, salad
On October 3rd of this year, this was my “to do” list:
5:45 – wake up. drink coffee. work on novel
7:00 – Shower
8:00 – Leave for work
on lunch break, call Deb and Jodi re: A’s birthday
5:00 – Elliptical trainer (1 hour!!!)
7:30 – trivia with friends
On April 20th, 2005, my blood pressure at the doctor’s office was 106/80
* It took me eight tries to officially and actually, for real and forever, quit smoking*
* I currently way fifteen pounds less than I did on some random Monday in 2006*
* Before I moved from Pittsburgh, I once practiced yoga eight times in seven days*
I don’t know when I began organizing my life through five subject notebooks (one section each for exercise, food intake, to do lists, daily schedules and overall health) – junior high? High school? I’ve been doing it for so long it’s like this way of being has always been with me. I’ve always adored five subject notebooks, for some reason, and even in junior high absolutely refused to settle for three subject or one subject notebooks when shopping for school supplies. If I bought four, five subject notebooks (follow?) each class could be assigned TWO of the five sections and then, when bored, I worked on short stories and poems in the last section during class. So it probably seemed only natural at some point to start writing my “to do” lists in these notebooks, and then certainly somewhere I read journaling one’s food intake was a good idea, and even as a teenager I liked to keep track of how many miles I walked or ran, and on and on it went so even when I went to college and gave up the 5 subject notebooks for note-taking, becoming partial to the kind of notebooks bound at the TOP of book, and indeed, I use that kind of notebook to this day, I still scheduled my life, kept track of my heart rate, made grocery shopping lists, and what food I served whom so as to never duplicate a meal for guests…in a five subject notebook.
But. Not anymore.
Have you read this post by Bloglily? It struck such a chord with me. And her following post, where she explains the biggest reason for her sheer determination to make an actual, real plan for this month:
“I have also been unreliable in my friendships and I will confess right now that one big impetus to getting these goals organized is so I can never, ever, ever again do what I did this Wednesday, which is stand up a lovely friend who was waiting for me to go and taste food (free food!) for a party we are organizing. How did this happen? A child got sick, I had to stay home from work, and I could only open that single program — the sick child/mom as doctor program — that day. So I dedicate my planning efforts to K, who may not forgive me, but who will be the catalyst behind my being a tad more reliable”
People, I’ve done this. I just this weekend canceled brunch plans with M because…I am not kidding…I overbooked myself.
I mean, seriously. I am not the president (not that he would overbook himself anyway, but that is neither here nor there). I am not a doctor. I don’t have children. I don’t, for goodness sake, have a pet. I have one hardy plant, given to me by M because, you know, it’s basically unkillable.
And yet I find myself overwhelmed with my life, and there is nothing wrong with my life except that it is full of riches I barely deserve – full of smart, engaging, talented friends who have plays for me to see and their own photography exhibits for me to visit and readings of their novels at nearby coffee shops. And family – I have a family who, of all the wretched things, wants to spend time with me. I have the burden of having head hunters call me from competing hospitals, and I have a meaningful job that
requests demands I earn my salary – and none of this mentions my writing, my husband, etc.
And yet, for all of this, I find myself unable to attain any sort of balance. It’s all well and good to have friends I want to spend time with but really, I need to get the oil changed in my car. And how can I work on my novel when I know the toilet hasn’t been cleaned in two weeks? And who is going to buy stamps for the Christmas cards? I mean, seriously.
When I grow overwhelmed like this, I tend to let things I particularly enjoy slip away. I am significantly overdue on the “Why I blog” meme but the biggest and greatest reason is because I love it. I ❤ blogging – it is immensely enjoyable to me. I also abandoned my own writing, cooking proper dinners (and yes, I have an oven, more on that soon), reading, seeing movies – I abandon the things I enjoy the most in face of increasing demands at work and social expectations.
I need a new way of organizing my life. Reading bloglily’s posts, and the comments from her many readers, all of whom I assumed had it so together that all Christmas presents were purchased, cards written, cookies baked and they were all probably somewhere together, drinking martinis and trying out to appetizer recipes, well – it sounds terrible to say I found myself reassured by the fact chaos ruled the lives of others as much as it did mine.
The 5 subject notebook no longer works. It has to go. I already log what I eat into weight watchers.com – and I keep track of my exercise progress at the gym. For most of my life, even with this burdensome notebook, I’ve lived day to day, simply trying to fit in larger goals that take quite a bit of time into a day here and there. It’s ineffective. It doesn’t work. And so, I have thrown away the five subject notebook. I bought a nice, large planner with lots of room for error, and notes. And I am going to think of December as a whole month, and arrange my goals accordingly. And this month, I am going to write. And blog. And try some new recipes. And bake some old favorites. And I am not going to wind myself up about the trip to the in-laws. And I am going to exercise.
Some things I would like to accomplish this month:
I would like to remain calm and centered during the holiday visit to my in-laws, and cherish the time instead of feeling nervous and concerned.
I would like to enjoy this season and not worry about spending exactly equal amounts on each person I buy gifts for. I will do the things I enjoy doing – writing cards (why does nobody do this anymore??? I love cards!), putting up a tree, eating cake and not do the things I don’t enjoy, like shopping at the mall on Saturdays, decorating the outside of the condo and overeating. And going out on New Year’s Eve. I HATE that.
I guess I could wait until January to make this change, but this isn’t so much a resolution as it is a decision, and now, with the conversation happening out in the blogosphere, it seems like just the write time to begin! I’ll let you know how it goes!