Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tiara Challenge!

Over the years I've written this blog, I've often used it as a means to keep myself accountable for a number of challenges; often, those have been based on becoming more "adult" (read as "responsible") in a particular area such as eating, exercising, or financial habits. 

Self-care in all its permutations is an area that I see all of these discrete areas coming together. Let me explain and keep in mind that this is a lengthy challenge. After you read this, if it sounds interesting to you, please join me!

Today (May 24) happens to be Queen Victoria's birthday and, about ten years ago, a few fine folks who worked in the bridal industry (shudder - "bridal industry" - that's an awful term) got together and made up the holiday of "International Tiara Day." I discovered this just a day ahead of the event, which wasn't much time to get things together, but I got myself a sparkly tiara and, with a deep breath and maybe a few misgivings, I gave it a try. 

So what happened? A few people at work thought I was deeply eccentric, but that's not so bad. I found myself actually standing straighter (which would probably delight my mother) and walking a bit more deliberately. Also, if you ever want to follow Emerson's advice to "scatter joy," wearing a tiara will quite possibly do the trick. Everyone smiles at you. A few people stop in their tracks. It's just silly and we are in dire need of some silly these days.

Which brings us to the "Tiara Challenge." Following the INCREDIBLY FANTASTICALLY COOL AND HOLY WOW IT WAS GREAT beach trip, FryDaddy and I completed a major financial adulting goal and want to keep that momentum going. While my life is not ruled by the scale, my clothes do not fit in a way that proclaims my fabulousness to the world at large. I want to gain strength and stamina enough to "jobble" (remember, that's jogging crossed with wobbling) a mile without stopping and I really want to complete a 10K by the end of this year. (It's fine by me if I walk the whole thing.) In addition, I want to treat myself like company instead of like the hobo begging at the back door. So - I'm going to do it!

How? I'm still working the details, but . . .
  • From Memorial Day to Labor Day, I plan on pulling together all the bits and pieces that I've picked up over the past few years and crafting a life that puts family at the center. 
  • Summer, with its bounty of fresh vegetables and fruit (some hopefully from my own garden!), is the perfect time to try new recipes and dump the junk food. Also, quit rewarding myself with food.
  • Water infused with cucumber, berries, or herbs is going to be on my desk or the kitchen counter, but I'm also going to give "sun tea" a whirl using my office windowsill.
  • I plan on mild exercise to start with, and working my way up to jobbling three times a week and walking the other days. 
  • Keeping a bullet journal (I started my version last fall) makes me take a few minutes to reflect on my day and detach from it at the same time instead of carrying around a load of worry and turmoil. 
  • I'm going to organize all the samples of skin care stuff I've got a try to use one every single day, quite possibly while wearing my sparkly tiara. File this under "use the good stuff."
  • "Window shop" with good magazines and catalogs while also ruthlessly winnowing out my closet. The goal there is to leave me only with things that actually fit that I love (and a few sentimental favorites, of course) while also knowing what I'd like to keep my eyes open for to fill in the gaps.
It won't all happen at once and I'll make mistakes. No matter. I want to be, as the French would say (and I'm learning to), "une femme d'un certain âge" who retains a sense of style, playfulness, and curiosity, yet still has a badass streak. To do that, I need to do a few things.

And I'm starting today.

Who's with me? Aside from Princess Margaret here, who knew how to rock a tiara.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Filling Your Bucket!

The end of the semester is always a whirlwind and this one was no exception. On top of the usual rush-to-grade, a handful of other things needed my attention, making it a hurried sundae with a little extra mania on top. Summer classes start in about a week and I needed to make sure all of that was ready as well, since I took my own advice from March and planned a "girls' getaway" for this week.

Friends will be trickling in over the next day or two and then leaving at the end of the weekend. I'm not entirely sure what-all we'll get up to in that time and I'm eager to find out! The weather is supposed to be perfectly sunny and warm. I've got a stack of books (looking at you, Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology!) and a passel of magazines. Anyone using the computer for anything other than posting silly pictures runs the risk of being fined and us using the fine money for something silly, like buying tiaras. Sweets and snacks are already laid in to satisfy the munchies. I've got the dance schedule for Fat Harold's and plans have been made for a tea party and shopping trip this weekend. But there are plenty of hours to simply laze away napping, reading, playing Putt-Putt (watch out for that windmill shot - it's tricky!) and probably gossiping about nothing and no one. We're probably only half a step from braiding each other's hair!

I can't wait!

Sloth self-care!
Honestly, it's amazing to me how we put off self-care as if it's something to be ashamed of. (Blasted Puritans.) Let me say this again - IT IS A GOOD THING TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! When we treat ourselves kindly, gently, and with respect, it becomes easier to (a) extend that care to others and (b) accept that we deserve to be treated respectfully. Imagine that - a world in which we treated each other with thoughtful kindness and expected the same from others.

Fancy that!

There are many, many ways to accomplish this and, while they certainly can be expensive and fussy (around-the-world trip on the Queen Mary 2), they don't have to be. (Seriously - check out this link for some ideas to get you started!) Let's examine this a bit.

This trip, for instance. We've planned it for two months and the expenses are actually quite low. It's a matter of deciding where I want to put my resources (which, in many ways, remain quite limited). For me, that tea party is going to be fantastic - lovely food, elegantly presented, eaten with good friends in silly hats. For you, it might be something totally different - and that's not only okay, it's fantastic! Just ask yourself What brings me joy? It's an odd thing, but I have discovered that most adults don't ask this question nearly often enough. By the way, expect the answer to take a while to reveal itself. Often, we've so disconnected ourselves from our own joy that we have to do some excavation work to find it again.

We knew once. Then we got busy Growing Up and got caught in the rushrush of Work and Status and Things, and we looked up in surprise to find that fifteen years or more had passed and we were quite confused about many things.

Filling your own bucket
Vacation is, for me, a time to indulge and I expect to make the most of it. (Oh, yeah, we're stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way back from the airport tomorrow!) For me, it tends to be sweets - from sugar in my coffee to an Original Glaze to movie candy. That may not be your thing (and I've been doing too much of it lately; however, that's another post), but I urge you to figure out what your indulgence is and carve out time to devote to it. Oh, and self-care isn't always bubble baths and manicures - sometimes it's getting up, squaring your shoulders and going off to do what needs doing. Just don't make the mistake of filling other peoples' buckets so much that you forget to tote water for yourself, too.

It really is about the most selfless thing you can do.