Here’s the thing: I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. My free time, as the name of this blog suggests, is limited. I work, I have two kids, a fiance, an ex-husband, and an old house in need of lots of repairs – all of whom/which require my attentions.
But that’s not really the problem. Lots of people have all those things, and they still manage to squeeze in a bit of time for a freaking hair cut every now and then. (Me? My last hair cut happened over a year ago. Thanks for asking.)
The real problem is that I have a wildly overinflated sense of obligation. Good boys and girls do their chores before they play. Period. That’s what my mama taught me. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Also? Me. It makes me a dull boy. And that’s just unacceptable for many reasons, the least of which is a confused gender identity.
And so I’m taking some of my life back. Not a lot, mind you. But some. A bit. An appropriate amount. And I will focus it (and the content of this blog) on the following life priorities:
I’ll be blunt: our food system is pretty effed up, in that a good portion of it isn’t even food. Sure, it’s food-like. And some of it probably even started out as food. But then it was pulled apart, subtracted from and added to, low-fatted and buzz-nutrient-fortified, sugared and salted and colored, spritzed with preservatives, slapped into an airtight container, and shipped thousands of miles to the local grocer. I want to feed my family real food. The stuff my great-grandmother would recognize as food. Fruit. Vegetables. Whole grains. Maybe some meat now and then. Less from a box. More from a garden. The less processed the better. That’s the goal anyway.
Consume less. Tread lightly upon the earth. Hug trees. Reduce. Repair. Reuse. Recycle. All that hippy nonsense.
There are a few reasons this category made the list of priorities (a list which, though it may not seem like it, I tried to keep relatively short). The first is that “making stuff” often supports other priorities, like Eat Food and Be Green. The second – and more important – is that it’s something I love, and my overly practical brain deems most things I love to be frivolous, and frivolous things are pushed to the very bottom of the priority list. This is me giving my creative right brain permission to kick my logical left brain’s ass every now and then.
This is a simple one: I’ve been pretty cooped up since my youngest son was born. I need to get out more. ‘Nuff said.
Reading is kind of my “thing.” A perfect afternoon to me is one spent curled in an oversized chair with a book and cup of tea. I used to read two or three books a month. Now? If I read a single paragraph from a single book in a month, it’s a miracle. I’m not sure exactly what I expect to post that will fall into this category. Reviews of the books that I actually manage to finish? Status updates on the ones I’m trying to finish? “Dear Blog, Today I repeatedly read the same sentence for five minutes before finally just giving up and going to sleep. The End.” Ah, yes. This section will be riveting. You’re welcome.
I believe a commitment to life-long learning makes us better contributors to society, better conversationalists, and better at crushing the opposing pub trivia team. Win-win-win.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” said Gandhi. Or not (turns out there’s no reliable evidence that he said any such thing). But who cares? At this point, I’ve said it enough to make it advice worth following. Because I am pretty much the next best thing to Gandhi.
I almost didn’t list anything about my kids here because, duh. The fact that being a good mother is one of my priorities is, I would think, sort of a given – not really the kind of thing that needs to be said out loud. However, one thing specifically that tops my list of “things to teach my children” is social responsibility. We are all in this together, and I am determined that my children have some concept of the impact of their actions on the community and world around them.
My dad died when he was 48. I am currently pushing 37. The idea of having only 11 more years with my children terrifies me. Not that the age at which my dad died predicts when I will, but it offers a sobering reminder that life is (sometimes unexpectedly so) short. There’s only so much I can do about it, of course. I can’t really stop an airplane from landing on my head, if that’s the way I’m destined to go. But I can take better care of myself. I don’t like exercise, to be honest, but I do like the way it increases my odds of survival. (In general, I mean. Not my odds of surviving an airplane on my head. That’s ridiculous.) I also like the way it makes my butt look in a bikini and it is coming up on summer time. So, bonus.
You probably know what a bucket list is, right? It’s a list of random things you want to do before you die. I have one of those, except I call mine a Life List (a la Mighty Girl). I think it sounds happier and less morbid that way. It’s also happier and less morbid when I actually do some of the things on that list. So, another priority.
I can be a little high strung sometimes. I need to not do that so much. Like, for example, I need to stop worrying about what to do with posts that don’t fit neatly into one of the aforementioned categories. Should I even bother to write a post that doesn’t fit? How will I categorize it? What will happen to my bloggy organization? How will I ever survive the chaos? Answers: Yes; lighten up; lighten up; LIGHTEN UP.