Here it is another Friday, another weekend approaching, and I am eagerly looking forward to evening plans both tonight and tomorrow. The merriment of evenings spent in good company is delightful, and a worthy way to spend time. It’s also important that I don’t neglect the woman in the mirror; she and I will be hanging out, pretty much 24/7, and she has needs that must be met, regardless what fun is on the agenda for the weekend.

I sometimes get wrapped up in life’s fun, and find myself inclined to stray from the work of keeping the ‘fun machinery’ in good working order. I enjoy reading, writing, painting, gardening…on hot days long hikes are less appealing…as is breaking a sweat, generally, at all. lol. Here’s the thing, though, and no excuses – if I don’t get the exercise I need, my health is not as well-cared for as it might be – and I just get less done. Then I start gaining weight, too. There’s a balance to be struck, and that balance requires some verbs. [Okay, a lot of verbs!] It is so tempting, after a long work day, to put my feet up with a book, or my sketchbook, or take a seat here at my desk…and…relax…every day. Lacking exercise, that’s going to be hard on my chair pretty quickly, followed by hard on my poor feet, my wardrobe, and my bank account.

Bees are a common metaphor for busy-ness, commitment to purpose, or work ethic... I sometimes find  one of the challenging verbs is the one involved in grabbing a verb in the first place. :-)

Bees are a common metaphor for busy-ness, commitment to purpose, or work ethic… I sometimes find one of the challenging verbs is the one involved in grabbing a verb in the first place. 🙂

Why am I on about this, this morning? I gained a handful of pounds over the past few weeks of very hot summer weather, is all, and I’m irked with myself. 🙂 The past couple days I’ve been making a point of walking farther in the mornings, and doing yoga after work before I do anything else. There’s a system of thinking involved; and I took a moment to observe that allowing myself a bit too much slack regarding getting the exercise I need seems to coincide with a slightly less firm commitment to housework tasks I don’t personally favor (although I like the outcome), and a willingness to let things slide more than I am really comfortable with – even for a day or two. I am learning to ‘manage my injury’ differently over time, and I am learning to… ‘parent myself’? I guess that’s a good way to consider it. I am finding it easier to be less self-indulgent without treating myself poorly, or hurting my own feelings…and I am learning how urgently important it is, living alone, to be just a bit strict with certain practices that relate specifically to the things that must be done, and gently preserve some of the things I love doing, as more appropriately waiting until self-care tasks are handled. Setting priorities with myself, and limits, and taking myself to task without self-deprecation, or emotional abuse, is challenging – but it is the life lesson before me now.

A 'coffee flower' - each as unique as any other flower. I enjoy their brief existence, blossoming as I make my coffee, gone in an instant.

A ‘coffee flower’ – each as unique as any other flower. I enjoy their brief existence, blossoming as I make my coffee, gone in an instant.

 

I smile at the woman in the mirror between scrubbing the bath tub and making my coffee. “Welcome to adulthood.” I say it aloud, and with a smile – yes, yes, there are dishes to do every day, vacuuming, and a bed to make (because it is my preference), trash to take out, laundry to do…letting any of that pile up is quite precisely not my idea of ‘living beautifully’.

"Natural area" - unkempt beauty has a place...that place is not the kitchen, bath or living room. :-)

“Natural area” – unkempt beauty has a place…that place is not the kitchen, bath or living room. 🙂

 

Nagging myself with my ‘To Do List’ lost its effectiveness at some point recently. Why isn’t important; sometimes I learn to tune out something that matters. I move my daily task list any time it begins to fail me. It was once on paper. Later, it was a Word document, in outline form – that worked for a long time, because when I sat down to write, or catch up with the world, it was staring me in the face. Some time later, that also stopped working – so I moved it to an Excel file until that also stopped working. At one point in life I used sticky notes, but eventually stopped reading them. More recently I began using the Tasks feature on my Google calendar, that’s been quite exceptionally useful for a good long time…but… guess what? It’s time to move on, because my wily brain has become skilled at comfortably removing it from view to ‘get back to it later’, without ever actually following up. Mostly, everything that needs doing still gets done in a timely fashion – because I am committed to living beautifully and treating myself well. Still, the Tasks feature is no longer keeping me focused and engaged…so…now what?

Persistence pays off. Incremental change over time requires...time (and practice). We can begin again. And again.

Persistence pays off. Incremental change over time requires…time (and practice). We can begin again. And again.

I’ve begun putting an event on my calendar scheduling myself to “Live Beautifully”, on days when I have a need for reminders. It’s specific and time limited. In the event details I simply list some handful of specific tasks that do need to be done, that very day, to hold up my end of my commitment to living a beautiful life. Living alone, it’s all on me – the person I let down if I don’t follow through is me, too. I have reached a place in my life where taking care of my own needs is far more than a personal commitment, a necessity, or a responsibility… There’s more to it than that. I often feel as if I am ‘crafting my experience’ in a willful and deliberate way, with real consideration, and aware that how I treat myself actually matters to me. I am responsible for a lot the details of how my experience feels to me. Simple things from understanding that if I like the way carpet feels on bare feet that I must embrace the requirement to maintain that experience by vacuuming, and keeping the place ‘picked up’, to reminding myself to take care of that last dish, from that last beverage, before I go to bed – if I want to enjoy the experience of waking up to a completely tidy kitchen in the morning. Details. Exploring what I enjoy most about the experience of living my life puts more of the responsibility of doing the things to make the most of my experience in my own hands; knowing what I need and how to provide it for myself makes me utterly responsible for doing so. The verbs are inescapable.

Each mighty oak begins small and grows.

Even a mighty oak once needed room to grow.

So, this morning, I sip my coffee and think of the evenings to come – and how I will plan my time for the weekend, so that my goals and needs are also attended to. My calendar is open, my time commitment to living beautifully being planned around my social evenings…welcome to adulthood, indeed. Don’t forget to start the dishwasher. 🙂