A reader who is celebrating her 41st birthday today (Happy Birthday!), sent me this link about rebooting one’s life, saying: “I always do the ‘new year’s resolution/ examine my life thing’ on my birthday instead of on January 1st, and I liked that this approach was what I have been struggling with after a year of making excuses.” I, too, could use a bit of a life reboot after a few months of pretty difficult challenges (adjusting to a second child, trying to get Jackson adjusted to having a sibling and starting a new school and being away from home/me 30+ hours a week, and then experiencing my father-in-law’s sudden illness and very fast death and now dealing with the emotional and logistical repercussions of these events). And I, too, liked Will Wheaton’s approach to a life reboot, choosing seven things to change in his daily activities and behavior. Below are the seven changes I will make great effort to commit to:
1. Exercise more.
I started running (or, “running”) again about six weeks ago, mixing it in with regular bike rides. I haven’t been doing it quite frequently or long enough for it to be a habit yet — or for it to not suck so much when I do do it — and it’s very likely that, once it gets cold and icy, I’ll take a couple months off, which is even more reason I need to find exercise I can do that isn’t weather-dependent, like fitness classes and at-home work-outs. About a month ago, Drew and I made a pact to do 20 minutes of exercise every evening — push-ups, hand weights, sit-ups, that kind of thing — figuring that, even if we’re super tired, which we always are, 20 minutes is doable and, if we do that every day, it can make a small difference. But as soon as we made that pact and got about three nights under our belt, the proverbial shit hit the fan and we haven’t made the effort since. That changes this week! (Seeing my FIL live to 95 has made me especially motivated to stay as healthy as I can. If I’m lucky enough to live that long, I’d like to be in good enough shape to enjoy myself).
2. Drink smoothies.
I usually start my day with a latte (that I make at home with this) and some scrambled eggs and/or yogurt or a granola bar. Smoothies, packed with lots of good stuff like kale and spinach and fruit and protein powder and all that hippie dippy stuff is better. Imma do better.
3. Read more.
I say this all the damn time, but it needs to happen. I’m a better writer, a better thinker, and a better person when I’m reading regularly. I just bought this book after watching everyone lose their shit over it for the last couple of years…
4. Spend quality time with Joanie and Jackson.
Joanie is with our part-time nanny three mornings a week until 1 p.m. and Jackson is in school every day until 2:30. I squeeze as much DW work, household work, errands, exercise, and “me time” into those child-free hours as I can (they go fast though). In the past, I have been guilty of letting all those activities sort of bleed into my time with the kids, but, with the exception of some occasional errands and chores, I am making a concerted effort to focus on my children during the time they are with me, especially the mornings I have Joanie. It’s so easy when you have a little baby who’s still immobile and naps a lot to stick her in a bouncy chair or on a mat and go about your business, but this time is short and I don’t want to miss out on quality time. I have designated work hours and, if there are pressing issues I need to address outside of those work hours, I can wait until the evening or when everyone is napping/asleep.
5. Go on more dates with Drew.
We are usually pretty good about spending quality time together, but it has been more challenging in the last couple of months for obvious reasons. To be so stressed out AND not spending quality time together is not good for a relationship. No good at all. We recognize this and plan to fix things asap. (We have a sitter scheduled this Saturday).
6. Go out with friends more and have weekly phone dates with long distance friends.
Friendships are so incredibly important. I am lucky to have some wonderful friends in my life, both long-distance and nearby, and I want to continue nurturing and fostering those bonds despite my limited time and energy. When I’m feeling anxious or sad or isolated, there’s nothing like a good conversation with a great friend, either in person or over the phone, to boost my mood, and make me feel loved and less alone in this world.
Also, when you go through something traumatic, like losing a parent (or parent-in-law), you especially realize how important friendships are. In the past couple of weeks, our friends stepped up with babysitting, food, shiva calls, transportation, texts and emails and phone calls, cards, and late night visits. I even had one friend who came over to help fold laundry. If you’re ever in a position where your husband is sitting by his father’s death bed around-the-clock for days on end and you’re home alone caring for a 4-year-old and a baby while also making the 1-hour-each-way commute to visit your dying FIL and support your husband through one of the most painful experiences in life, you will count your blessings if you have a friend who will drive from her home in the ‘burbs to bring you wine and offer to fold your clean laundry. (And you will also count your blessings if you have a sister who will fly up from Miami to watch your son all weekend so you can be at your husband’s side as he waits for his dad to die; it’s good to have good people in your life).
7. Sleep more.
Ha! That’s actually a joke, since I don’t foresee more sleep in my life for the next few years. Instead, my seventh change is to find a therapist. With the variety of stressors in my life at the moment, I think speaking to someone who can help give me tools to manage my anxiety (and what sometimes feels like low-grade depression) will be super beneficial for me and my whole family. (Hopefully!).
What are the seven changes you’d make to reboot your life?