Pretty soon, the internet will be filled with retrospectives on this year and how many items were checked off the to-do list and it will be tempting to compare yourself to a different standard, which would be a mistake.
“Stop comparing, and start celebrating what you DID, rather than what you DID NOT do.” ~Professor Haston~
A few weeks ago, in my pursuit of amplifying black voices I found a new voice to share.
In her own words-
The Birth of Fleur de Lis Speaks
“On January 9, 2018, life came crashing into me out of nowhere and rocked me to my core. Literally. I was hit from behind in a motor vehicle accident on my way to work that morning, sustained a concussion, and a traumatic brain injury. And I haven’t been the same since… It’s crazy hard. To type. To read. To accept. To share with the world. But, it’s true. Honest. Transparent. MY Reality.
And I had to figure something out. FAST. My life was falling apart at warp speed and I had no clue how to even begin to pull myself back together. And without realizing that I’d be learning a lesson about anything, I set out to adjust just a little : how I saw myself, how I loved myself, and how I took care of myself, because I knew I’d been doing a pretty poor job of it for so long. And because now, I had the time. And because if I didn’t set aside some of that time for myself every single day, that time would be devoured by tasks and appointments and obligations and cooking and carpooling and cleaning and mom-ing and wife-ing and friend-ing and ‘who knows what else-ing.’
I set out to do one thing for myself every day: to honor and nourish myself by writing a self- care note. That’s it. Five minutes. Just one little note- and I’d post it on Instagram for accountability because otherwise I’d find any reason not to write that note and because I knew the “InstaThugs” would totally call me out on it if I didn’t. #eyeroll The more notes I shared, the more comments, DMs, and emails I received from people I’d never met. Sharing their whole life stories, their hurts, their struggles with mental health, their failed friendships, their marriages that were coming to an end, their childhood traumas and the paralyzing guilt that came with attempting to prioritize themselves and to practice self- care. ”
This is her website so you can read more about her and her journey.
A month ago, I decided to give up soda. I had come to the conclusion that it’s way too much sugar and drinking two of them a day does not serve me in my lifestyle I am trying to establish. I thought a lot about what caused me to enjoy soda so much and what my attachment was, and it turns out it was linked to a rare happy childhood memory.
Recently I have been examining habits that no longer serve me and while planning on eliminating them, I have also decided to add things in their place. For example, giving up soda, I am drinking a ton of water, which has it’s own benefits.
I kept a diary for the last 30 days and noted that there were only 3 days I REALLY wanted a Pepsi. Each was tied to a not great day, and it was easy to see my habit has been to comfort with Pepsi.
I comforted with sugar those days, but no soda. It would be easy to beat myself up about the lack of willpower on that front, but I am not going to do that. The focus was on giving up soda, not sugar.
Today is day 31, and I am shocked to find, I don’t miss it AT ALL, and am really enjoying an increase in my energy level and clearer skin as well as a little weight loss.
I can’t give you a number because unless a medical professional asks me to step on a scale, I don’t do it, it makes me feel bad no matter the number and I am done with that nonsense. As Sonya Renee Taylor says. “The body is not an apology”
For me, it’s about how I feel (energetic) and fit in my clothes (better) and accomplishing a goal of a healthier lifestyle. This is probably where I will lose some people.
If soda is your jam, go have some, but for me I realized it was NOT working for me any longer so I gave it up.
Next up? Giving up the snooze button! It’s day 9 of that one and proving to be considerably more challenging, but again, I find it doesn’t serve me to continue it so I am going to give it up.
What are you doing that doesn’t serve you any longer?
When I was growing up, physical fitness wasn’t really an activity that was encouraged in my household and despite a few athletic attempts here (benchwarmer for basketball) and there, it wasn’t really a featured attraction or really talked about in our family.
When I decided to become a parent, I set a goal to be sure that I could keep up with my kid to run or ride bikes. I was not reaching for a number on the scale or pant size, but able to walk a flight of stairs without gasping for air was my goal.
I am proud to say I have spent a good deal of time building a habit of walking and running (a few 5K races)
and have even walked/ran/stumbled 10 miles.
I was cruising toward marathon training when I threw out my back…. ugh! I hated that I had to stop and rest and heal, but it was necessary so I was mature about it and kept working out but in smaller doses. All the silly poses were to keep me motivated!!
Right about the time I felt better enough to start getting my miles back up, world events conspired to put my exercise in my living room, where I danced to videos after my daughter was asleep.
As it turns out, my daughter LOVES the outdoors (she takes after her Daddy) and around the same time I started thinking about getting back to more regular exercise, but still not feeling comfortable going to a gym, I had a brilliant idea! Why not take something she loves (outdoors) and combine it with something I have a daily goal (exercise) to do?
I am going to be honest and tell you my Mom suggested it, about three years ago, but I am stubborn so just now it has occurred to me as my own new and shiny notion. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
So it’s been a week, and much like working out, I really don’t WANT to, till we start and then I am very happy to walk/jog with Vivienne. It serves as a nice bridge from her school day to home.
What I wasn’t expecting was the conversations that have started happening. She has told me epic narratives about leaves and rocks. She also played a game of “Simon Says” with me. I didn’t even know she knew that game! It’s a great opportunity for me to listen to her and to nature.
It’s also very healing knowing I am simultaneously building healthy habits that she will just see as “normal” and that makes my motivation even stronger.
What is something you can do to heal a part of you that is hurt?
Five years ago, we made our last payment on debt ever….
As of 11/16/2015, we NO longer had any monthly payments. (Except rent!)
It took the two of us working 5 jobs for 3 years and we did it. We paid off 36,945.91 in 3 years.
Cars, School loans, and many a regret later, a 401K loan. (Boy howdy, do I regret that one!) but it was done! In fact, that was our first debt we paid back to my parents. Told you it was a regret.
Five years later, we are still debt-free. We had a LOT of people tell us that with a kid on the way, this is her—
we would not, could not stay that way, and we have.
Take that, doubters and haters!!
It’s not always easy, because the intentional and continual decision to STAY debt-free comes with sacrificing vacations, and newer cars, and our first house seems very, very, very far off into the future, AND we will get there, because we are a team and getting out of debt together made us a super strong couple.
We have weathered some storms, for sure, and things have tried to break us and those things continue to fail.
We have help, and we ask for and receive advice from couples who have been together a lot longer than we have. You know who you are….
All this to say, marriage is hard and having a goal you tackle together, like finances or parenting… make you stronger.
Grateful to be debt-free, and to have a wonderful partner by my side to do ALL of life with as we continue in our journey, debt free and beyond….
What big goals are you tackling? Who can you partner with to help encourage you along the way?