Saturday, June 28, 2014

Checking In - June!

First off, let's review - at the start of this year, I set five goals for myself, with the intention of making 2014 a true "makeover year." What were those again?
  1. I wanted to keep a neater house, feeling that cleanliness was next to impossible. I reasoned that my life would be calmer if I wasn't frantically searching for "stuff" in the morning.  And I hated spending the weekend cleaning the house or feeling guilty for not cleaning the house.
  2. Money's tight, but I wanted to stop using credit cards and live frugally, with the idea of whittling away at the household debt.
  3. I decided to watch 24 "good movies" that I really should have already seen.
  4. I wanted to read six "good books" that had slipped by me.
  5. I wanted to feel stronger, so I decided to train to participate in a 5K race this year. Thus, the "Dancing Sloth" was born.
Well, it's good to have goals and I have no shortage of them. But a funny thing happened this month. I got way off my goals and I discovered something that might just border on the profound.  See what you think.

The goals are going okay, I suppose. My summer classes begin next week, which means that my days become far more structured than June has been - a month during which I didn't work a single full week - so in a strange way, it's a good time to re-evaluate and re-commit. This past month, Ensley and I took a brief "staycation" and there was the gorgeous Slayage conference out in California (read about that here), among other life-affirming jaunts.  I wouldn't trade this past month for a gold monkey, but it's time to get back on the horse, so to speak. So where am I?
  1. I still have my basic routines for taking care of the house and I want to work the "zone" idea back into my routines, which I've let slide.
  2. Budgeting is on the list of "things to do" for next week. We've been living free and easy, which has played a bit of havoc with the budget goal, although we've been very good about keeping our hands off credit cards. (Not perfect - Slayage, don't you know - but very good.)
  3. I'm doing well on the movie challenge.  This month, I marked off three - Hitchcock's Psycho, Ford's Stagecoach, and Kurosawa's Red Beard. (You can read my thoughts about those here.) Another musical, Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, is waiting for me. I seemed to have turned a corner there - there had been a couple that I just didn't like and it soured me for a while.
  4. The "good books" challenge, on the other hand, has slipped into a crevasse. I read four books in June (and one, Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes should count, even if it's not on my list), but the heavy literature had to be put on hold while I dealt with a small brush fire of burnout. (Strangely enough, a really by-the-numbers romance novel helped a bit with that. Yeah, yeah - don't judge.)
  5. The 5K challenge - while the Dancing Sloth took some time off due to throat issues (being addressed mid-July) and burnout, she's back now! And a friend has me toying with a major challenge in that area. She's suggested we participate in next summer's Ramblin' Rose Triathlon. Now, it's not a hard-core Ironman sort of thing, but it is swimming, biking, and running - all on the same day. I don't own a bike and I haven't swum laps in years.  Still . . . and the fact I'm even thinking about this is amazing to me.
Now to the breakthrough. I'm not sure if this was the result of a long-simmering process the blossomed into a revelation or was more of a "burning bush" epiphany, but either way - it's a breakthrough.  Ready?  Here it is -

I'm not a sex kitten.

Sure, other people might have known that already, but it's new to me - and what a relief! Maybe it was that clothes-buying spree I wrote about in the last post, maybe it was hearing from so many people at Slayage that they enjoy reading my running posts, but all I know is that I have turned some sort of corner in my soul. Let me tell you, keeping up with the demands of the beauty industry is hard work at the best of times and our society never wants you to admit that you're not a coltish 22-year-old. I'm not, but that being fantastic is news to me. It's like this. I want to do these things - get strong by running and read good books and watch good movies and act like a grown-up with money and taking care of my house - for me. Not for my parents, not for my conference buddies or Facebook friends, not even for my incredibly loving husband, and certainly not for society at large, a sizable segment of which measures me simply on my "hotness" factor and has found me sorely lacking since I'm not that coltish 22-year-old (heck, I'm not even two 22-year-olds!). I wasn't even aware of how much I had been fighting that battle until this year but it's a relief to decide to stop. No, I have no intention of "letting myself go" and eating Nutella from the gallon jug for dinner. (Actually, that doesn't sound so bad . . .) But I'm not as beholden to the slick Photoshopped magazine covers and Internet clickbait that promise me I can lose those final 8 pounds by Tuesday (implying that I need to) and that they'll tell me what he really wants in bed (rather personal and how do you know my husband anyway?). I can't believe how much time I've wasted fretting over the size of my waist and my hips and how much power I've given a stupid number on a scale.

So, although this wasn't one of my original goals, I think it's important enough to report. I've got a new title now. I don't know what the IRS might think of seeing it on my taxes, but I'm a . . .

Sex Kitten - Retired.

I plan on having a great deal more fun on a regular basis, now that I have that knowledge. See, once you're living for you instead of what others think you ought to be, things get mighty interesting. I might put the fuchsia back into my hair. I might get henna tattoos. I might serve on the board of a nonprofit I'm interested in (already agreed to that, actually). I might demand crayons at my next faculty meeting. I don't entirely know how things might manifest, but I'm sure of this - Tasha Tudor was right.  Life is meant to be enjoyed; not saddled with. Eat well because you want to. Get a good night's sleep because you want to. Push yourself to jog to that next mailbox before you galumph back to a huffy, puffy walk because it feels good to push your body to do what it couldn't do two months ago. Insist on treating yourself well because you deserve it. And, for the love of all that's holy - make the world better because you deserve to make a difference. The size of your heart matters far more that the size of your hips.


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