Every New Years’ Eve, I ask friends for resolution suggestions. This is (a) because I never know what to resolve and (b) I feel like it tells me a little bit about what my friends think of me, and who doesn’t like that?
New Years’ Eve 2009, when my youngest child was a month old, one suggestion stands out in my mind, from my friend Amy, via Facebook:
Find something for yourself. Something that’s not related to children, work, husband, or house.
At the time, I thought that was insane. My achievements ARE… children, work, husband, and house. (In varying orders, depending on the day and the moment). The things I’m most proud of in life are where I’ve gotten in my career, how I keep up with the laundry, how I feel like I’m doing a decent job parenting and wifeing, despite everything else I’ve got going on. My interests are shared with my husband, for the most part- we’ve been together nearly thirteen years, enough time to have forged quite a few commonalities. These are the things that make me happiest and the things that ARE for me.
But something happened during 2010 and early 2011, without me thinking about it or trying. Could be because for the first time, I wasn’t pregnant or nursing for a while, and had what they call “a few moments to think”. Could be because my work situation evened out with finding a new job, and work was no longer taking up brain space when I came home. Could just be coincidence.
I found a few things for me. I discovered a few things that really are just mine. If my husband wants to come along for the ride, or if I can share them with the kids, great, but really, they started with ME. I don’t plan to be holier-than-thou about how much more fulfilled I feel, finding a few things I’m into. I’m also not going to say that my life was in any way lacking during those few years that I was pretty much completely absorbed in childbearing and taking care of tiny babies. But finding some stuff I’m into, at this stage of my life (as opposed to what I was into last time I had free time, around 2003 or so…) has been fun.
So what have I found for me?
1. This one actually is a carryover from earlier in my life- I’ve re-discovered reading. I love motivational and productivity-oriented nonfiction, I’m discovering chick-lit, and I went absolutely nuts for the Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins. I may ask for one of them newfangled e-book-readers for my birthday. I have no particular attachment to paper, and I love re-reading, but don’t love the space books take up.
Like a few of these other things, I’d love to share this with my husband- but honestly, he’s not a reader, and never really has been. Maybe this was part of my mental block against getting back into it? Oh well- he’ll watch the movies when they come out.
2. I bought a treadmill, and started running. While at an earlier point in my life, this might have been husband-related, this time it really was me realizing that, while I’m not heavy, I couldn’t get up the stairs carrying a 20-pound baby without getting out of breath. I haven’t lost weight. This hasn’t really bothered me (though it would be a bonus)- because I’ve gotten better, and faster, and fitter, and I’m training for an 8K race in March!
3. I absolutely love bath products, and recently have gotten interested in making my own bath bombs, because Lush is just too expensive for weekly use. (See here, for a tutorial of something I’m trying). I sometimes couch this as “educational for the kids”, but who are we kidding? This is something for me.
4. Style. This sounds sort of ridiculous. I’ve kept myself looking half-decent all this time, but just barely, and with my new job came a new office where I have a lot more options about what to wear (instead of black suit, after gray suit, after brown suit…) I’ve actually started trying to find reasonably-priced things to wear that I LIKE, instead of just things that will be acceptable. This has forced me to try to figure out exactly what sort of clothing I like, which is something I haven’t put thought into since I was 13 or so. For the record, I like patterned tights, skirts/dresses, tall high heels, Art Deco jewelry, anything with a kimono look, flowered hair accessories, and bright colors. I do not like jeans, flat shoes, or anything requiring ironing.
This past weekend, I made my first trip to the local thrift store and had a blast. Guilt-free shopping! (I got two tops, a dress, two suits, and a Supergirl t-shirt for C for about $30). I had to dig for stuff, but I really enjoyed it, and I’ll be back, trying to find more of those things I mentioned above.
I’ve also discovered makeup, which is something I’ve missed for a lot of years- I mean, I’ve done the minimum, but never really known what I was doing. But then one of my BFFs started selling Mary Kay, and walked me through and held my hand, and now… wow, I look a lot better.
5. I’ve started to get interested in eating better. Not dieting, but eating better-quality food. I’m the farthest thing from a hippie or a hipster that you’ll ever meet, but I love the (somewhat rural) area we live in, and I love the idea of supporting our local economy, so we’ve joined a CSA and I’m looking at buying local meat as well. Unlike the rest of these, I’m dragging my family along for the ride on this one. As a kid, my favorite thing was farms. So yes, I shall drag my children to the farm where we’ll be getting our vegetables this summer.
So these are my things… finally starting to fulfill that goal my friend set for me in late 2009. Things I’ve found for me, that aren’t about husband, kids, house, or job. What are yours? I’m always looking for new ideas.