i had a dream about middle school

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About this time last year, I was in a musical. I needed to paint around 15-20 pieces for an art gallery, and I had to have surgery on my knee. I started this post then. At that time it was titled, “What I Do When I’m Stressed.” I never finished it.

The past few days my body has been fidgety, distracted, tense, and tired. I feel the need to twirl my hair and rub my face. It’s uncontrollable. I want to binge eat and sleep.

It’s fascinating. Stress is caused by feeling like I’m out of control, and my body’s response to feeling helpless is to respond with unconscious habits. OKAY?

Apparently, summer is stressful for me. I’m not sure why, but it seems like things boil over in the summer, literally and metaphorically. The reasons I feel this way this summer are entirely different than last year. So much has changed and still so much more could change soon. I’m anxious about the unknown.

Unlike last year, I’m not letting food get the better of me. I have been more devoted to watching my eating habits and cooking at home. I have been more devoted to walking and hiking with Charlie. I’m stressed, but I’m not letting that inform my choices.

Realizing how stressed I have recently become, I have been craving that feeling of complete freedom that accompanied summer when I was little. The closest thing that I’ve found to that feeling is driving by myself. I love the scenic drive to and from work. Driving gives me that little flutter of freedom in my day to day routine. It still doesn’t come close to the completely ignorant and carefree experience of summer vacation.

The past few years, I have been so focused on my goals. I’ve been working on my heart and my head. I’ve been developing skills and experience. I have not thought about the past. Then, I was driving home a few days ago and for the first time, I felt my age. It’s inexplicable. I don’t know how to describe it or why I felt that way. Maybe it was an alignment of my perceptions and my reality. Maybe it was a letting go of a little bit of the child in me. Maybe it was the fact that it seems like every song on the radio is about “glory days” and high school. Maybe it was that feeling of freedom while driving that morphed into a deeper understanding of my place in the world.

I admit, I am, at heart, a nostalgic person, but I really haven’t thought about “days gone by” in awhile. I remember in seventh and eighth grade I had almost a reverse nostalgia.  I knew my time as a kid would be short. Even then, it pained me that it would be gone so fast. It used to make me so sad. Then in both high school and college, I flipped and  started wishing away the days, striving for something that suited me better.

A few days ago I had a dream about middle school. It was like I was in eighth grade again. It felt so real. I was walking toward my friends, who were lined up with the rest of our class outside the classroom. When we sat down at the wooden desks, I looked through the drawer for the homework that was due. I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember what we were studying. Then I realized it was a dream. I said out loud, “I grew up. I’m an adult. I’m not supposed to be here.” I repeated it over and over, and when I woke up, I felt so sad.

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how to be more productive than ever

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I open articles all the time that suggest ways to be more productive and successful. Most of them want you to eat healthy, sleep enough, and exercise. They say to get up early and eat breakfast. They say have a routine and stick to it. They say turn off your phone. I think all of those points are valuable, really valuable. I NEED TO DO THOSE THINGS. Less sugar is good for your health. More sleep is good for your brain.

I’m always working on being better to myself. Leaving my phone in the kitchen at night helps me unwind and sleep easier, but it doesn’t give me the kick in the butt I need to get things done. While I want to have better habits, I also know that certain things will stick and certain ones won’t. Some things will help me more than others.

I wanted to reflect on what I’ve been doing differently in the past few months compared to before I moved into my house and even in the first few months of being in my new house. There are a few that stick out.

  1. The most obvious change is living in my own home. I know that in and of itself has done a lot for my motivation. My sister and I had made living with each other quite difficult. I think a huge part of my lack motivation came from not feeling at home in my home. The freedom and responsibility of my own space has empowered me to get shit done.
  2. The other major change is having more financial freedom. Living paycheck to paycheck is a frightening and tense way to live. I picked up more hours at my second job, and it has helped tremendously. Not stressing about bills makes day to day life so much easier and really improved my mental health.
  3. Another thing I’ve been doing is acknowledging when I am most productive and on top of things. For example, I hate doing dishes, but I like to do them while I’m cooking or right after cooking. So, I do them then. I’m being honest to myself about my weaknesses in order to find the best way to strengthen them. Finding a groove for doing chores and other day to day tasks is important to being productive.
  4. I started bullet journaling again. Bullet journaling – for me – is synonymous with a daily “To Do” list. I bought this planner on Amazon in September. I bought it because it is a blank slate and every page is for a single day. For a while, I tried to use the hourly layout, but I don’t have enough calendar events to have to keep track of hourly productivity. I printed my own stickers a few weeks ago that are basically categories of projects I could tackle each day, for example, “To Do,” “Blog Posts,” “House Projects,” etc. I put those over the top of the hourly headers, and now I just list the things I want to get done each day. It works best for me!
  5. I opened up Audible again! I have three or four books started right now, and they are a little heavy. They need my full attention so it seems like I’m not making much progress on them. In contrast, listening to short stories or fiction on Audible is so easy. I can do dishes or laundry and listen to the stories. Right now, I’m listening to Life of Pi. I’ve read several vastly different reviews for this novel. I truly think listening to a story can completely change how you perceive it. I’m glad I chose to listen to this one because I think I would have missed all of the humor and joy in it.

I feel like I have been doing a lot. The tasks are not substantial and are of no consequence to anyone but me, but it’s so satisfying to lay down at night feeling like I was productive. I have been doing the dishes after I eat. I hung décor on my walls. I resealed my bathroom sink top. I found a rack in the house for hanging pans, went through my pots cupboard, and hung the pans on my island. I had people over for Taco Tuesday. My sister, Hope, helped me rearrange my multipurpose room. I think my dog and I have even lost some weight together.

I like to think I am becoming better at being an adult. Today I even felt my age – whatever that means. I think I just felt content in where I am and where I’m going – which was a relief.

2018 trips so far

Somehow, I manage to travel without knowing it. I’m not complaining. I’m grateful these random trips pop up, and I’m able to take them. I love travel, even when I get horrible motion sickness.

trip to Cleveland 6.19.18 through 6.20.18

The trip to Cleveland was also sort of spontaneous. My sister asked me to be her chaperone, and I was hesitant to say yes. I’m really glad I did though. We had a lot of fun, and I was only responsible for four girls: my sister, my cousin, and two of their friends. They were well behaved – pretty much. I did make us late for the bus once. Rookie chaperone. I didn’t have time to buy a magnet though. I may cheat and order one online.

There are 14 years between my sister and I. I am the oldest. She is the youngest. Everyone says we are twins.

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