Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.
This fall has felt quite fleeting. I attribute that, in part, to my lack of time management. I am great at planning meals, navigating after school activities, and managing mornings and bedtimes. What I'm less adept at is managing my time. I've been gifted with this one-class semester, yet I've flailed around like a ninny. I admit that my time is in weird chunks with an hour here and two hours there between obligations, but I've not used those hours wisely. A friend of mine said, "you don't know what to do with yourself" and I realize she hit the nail on the head. How does a girl who went, went, went for years learn how to sit still for a moment?
Now, as the weather shifts (70s the week before last, 60s last week, 50s this week...), I am carefully considering my headspace. I'm sorry that I didn't harness those valuable minutes before, instead often letting them slip through my fingers. Perhaps it's the increasing number of bare trees, leaves having lost their grip on the branches, that have made me more aware. Aware that my walk to and from class will soon be more rushed: huddled, coat wrapped around me, arms crossed for warmth, eyes cast downward from the cold wind. I won't be stopping, as I did many times yesterday, to snap photos of newly noticed sights and changing foliage.
On Tuesday I set about doing something with my snippets of time. After dropping Kiddo off at school, I turned around and went back home. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to finish the last two chapters of the book I was reading. (It was good. Heartbreaking and lovely and so well written. I highly recommend it.) I paid the bills we budgeted for (including the final payment on a credit card... our snowball is officially rolling!). I cleaned up the kitchen. Because I didn't shoehorn my time, these tasks felt less chore-like and more leisurely. I wasn't frantically wiping breadcrumbs off the island before running out for the day. When the time came to leave for CrossFit, I opted out (and more importantly, let myself off the hook). It meant going yesterday instead, but I valued that unbroken time too much to let it pass unappreciated. I've also relaxed a bit when it comes to our house. Although on the market, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be perfect. If someone decides not to buy it because the bed isn't perfectly made, well, they probably were looking for a reason not to like it and wouldn't have gone through with it anyway. What a freeing notion! While I enjoy keeping the coffee table clear and the rug vacuumed, I'm not going to stress over every speck of dust and pet hair tumbleweed. (I am by no means a neat freak, but I have discovered over the years that a cluttered house does lead to a cluttered mind in my case.)
I swore off diets a long time ago. I swear. But I'm busting my butt at CrossFit day after day, and the food component stands between me and my goals. I want to be able to see those hard earned muscles! Plus, what's the point of undoing all that hard work with food that falls into the meh category on the health-o-meter? I will continue to have sushi lunch dates with my husband, because I simply cannot resist him (or sushi), but the rest of the time I need to be more cognizant of what goes down the shoot. Over the years I've examined my relationship with food, my body, and what I need to do about both. Having tackled the emotional and behavioral aspects, now is the time to stick to something that will take the high I feel after a hard workout and extend it. When my CrossFit box decided to offer a 30-day Paleo challenge, I thought why not? Honestly, going completely grain-free is not realistic right now. I cohabitate with two other people, and I assure you they will be having none of that. But I'm eating with intention and have worked to cut back. The dairy-free diet I really need to adhere to for food sensitivity reasons? It includes avoiding cheese and cream-based soups, Sarah. That's one of the appeals of Paleo, as it teaches you to live without such things. I will say that yesterday, after a particularly brutal workout, I needed carbs. (Seriously. I almost called it quits midway. That has yet to happen in the months I've been doing this.) I need them in a I could steal an Oreo from a small child kind of way. (We did hear this week that rats chose Oreos over heroine, right?) Anywho, I stopped by my local co-op before class and grabbed some soup (boy, that was goood) and a gluten-free scone. I figured it was better than a real scone, anyway. I ate half and haven't had a craving since. (I acknowledge that this paragraph about food is 1. going on and on, and 2. has a lot of parentheses. Welcome to the inside of my head.)
I mentioned that I got Gwyneth Paltrow's new book for my birthday. On Monday I made my first recipe from it: Ginger-Scallion Broth with buckwheat soba noodles. It tastes just like miso soup, Mom! said Kiddo as he consumed a bowl of it. Score.
Last weekend, during a trip to Costco, I spied Against All Grains and proceeded to flip through it. Regardless of its status as a Paleo cookbook, I wanted to try most of the recipes. Therefore I grabbed some dough from our slush money envelope and it made the journey to my house. Notice all the recipes I flagged. Tonight I'm making a stir fry with zucchini noodles (whaaaa?). You can probably tell, just by looking, how my first foray into her Thai salad dressing went (note green oily blob above). The flavor was great, but I wanted to barf over the consistency. Fail. Still, my resolve is unwavering.
Look. Here's the bottom line. I'm going to post cookie recipes. I'm going to continue to eat said cookies. But in moderation. Because, quite frankly, a world without cookies and sushi and clam chowder simply isn't worth living. But something's got to give. And thus my attempt at awareness. Perhaps I'm writing this post so I can go back and remind myself why. Why I need to say no more often to things like croutons and buttered toast. What I need is a lifestyle, not a diet. This seems as good a place as any to start. Partially because its a challenge and there is the potential for prizes. Partially because I'd really like to land on a pant size, not the in-between I'm at right now. That is all.
I started this post by reminding myself that the ongoing goal is to slow down. And to appreciate what should be a more low-key period in my life. To recognize that it is a fleeting moment in time and should therefore be enjoyed with my whole heart and soul. Yesterday afternoon, after leaving class, I grabbed a salad and my book and camped out on a bench in Central Square while I waited for Kiddo to walk down to meet me for our weekly date. As I sat, across from a store called The Knitting Nook, an idea began to form. Kiddo's teacher has been teaching the kids to knit. I love her for it. Jared has been struggling to learn (and cannot cast on to save his life... whatever "casting on" means), so I thought it'd be a great adventure to teach him what little I know about crochet (I know what I know thanks to a mother-in-law that blows my mind in that department... she's amazing). Upon his arrival I took him into the store and let him pick out a hook and a skein of yarn. Then we sat down at our favorite coffee shop (Mayan hot chocolate for him, cider for me) and I taught him the basics. You could charge for crochet lessons, Mom! said he. Why shouldn't I pick this up again? though I. And there you have it. I scored a couple skeins of sale yarn to make an infinity scarf (it's very elaborate in my head, you see). We are also investigating knitting classes for Kiddo and I to take together. Because I desperately want to fill my house with knit bunnies. I can't take the cuteness.
And there you have it.