I am a person of lists. And goals. I love lists of goals. Even lists of lists of goals. So when my friend @thenewchrissy declared that she would be doing monthly challenges for 2019, I jumped on board. We share a lot of interests and values but I modified her a few of her challenges to fit my needs.
A lot of folks start the year with Dry January. It makes sense considering the overindulgence of the holidays but I wanted to start the year off on a different foot. With only a few weeks left in my maternity leave, I wanted to focus on just enjoying it and relaxing as much as possible before it was back to the grind. Thus Self-Care January.
Self-care on maternity leave (especially at the end of one without pay) is not spa days or days alone in self-reflection or girls weekends. It is a 30 minute bath at the end of the day with a magazine. It is going to the grocery store alone and walking the aisles very slowly. It is choosing not to fold the laundry and painting my toenails instead. It is getting outside everyday.
Having a reminder that I needed to make time for myself was really helpful as I faced going back to work. The prospect of going back to work has, in my experience, been worse than the actual return but it’s still painful.
It’s hard to be present even in the parts of my job that I enjoy (which is the majority to be fair) when I’m aware of all the things I’m missing at home. Is he smiling right now? Is he cooing? Is he thinking about rolling over? (Yes, yes and not yet.) I race home to divide my time between two amazing, demanding children. One who wants cuddles and to be nursed. Another who wants to read books or tell me things like “I ride in Dada’s truck” (it’s not fascinating but it’s still cute). On my first week back of work, Haines was sent home from daycare with a fever and I was ecstatic to spend the following day with him. With Austin safely tucked away at my mom’s, we watched a movie, took walks and played hard. I loved it.
Still at the end of the day, I was ready for a moment of me. I went to bed at 8. Best self-care decision ever.
February’s challenge is Snail Mail which I’m really looking forward to. I used to be an excellent pen pal but now I’m incredibly inconsistent. This month is going to be an opportunity to get back into one of my favorite activities.
In today’s world, you don’t need any more information than someone’s name to get in contact with them. I don’t need to exchange phone numbers, emails or physical addresses with anyone. I can’t find them in the Yellow Pages or ask the operator to connect me. For most people I meet, I can just look them up on Facebook. This isn’t exactly a novel concept. We’ve been dealing in the world of Facebook for quite a while now. I’ve been on the site for probably 9 years now and have always talked about how great it is for staying in touch with old friends. It makes me easy for me to keep up with my friends from study abroad and those folks I met while traveling in Australia. It’d be a little more challenging otherwise!
Just recently though, I had my first real encounter with using Facebook to reconnect with an old lost friend. When I was really little (think diapers) I had one friend, a little red-headed neighbor girl. She lived across the street. I don’t think we were much older when her family moved across town. We stayed friends for a few more years, well into elementary school, but after that we just sort of lost touch. Our mothers kept updated with all the news because they both saw the same hairdresser. Thanks Cindy! Sometime in the last few years, we became Facebook friends, but never did anything about it. Last month though, a red-headed
girl woman (and blogger Ardent Camper!) sent me a message on Facebook- let’s meet up. I cannot remember seeing her in the last 20 years but I knew her immediately when she walked into Royer’s Pie Haven in Round Top (Go there. Go there right now, trust me.). It was a wonderful experience getting to meet and talk to her as an adult. We found out we had just as much if not more in common than before! So for all my Facebook complaints, I’m excited that we had this available to help us reconnect.
On the other hand, I recently had another reconnection of a very different kind. Almost 9 years ago, I worked at a performing arts summer camp in Virginia. One of the campers who stayed in my cabin that summer was Jessie. Jessie had been homesick all summer long but when her mom to collect her on the last day, she was just cried and cried. So I suggested we write letters to one another- who doesn’t like mail! So for almost 9 years we’ve been writing letters every month or so. It’s a pretty incredible thing to write letters with someone over such a long period of time. Because she was 14 when we started I could easily and clearly watch her change and grow over the years. I guess she’s been do the same with me! When we went to Virginia this Christmas to visit Alaskan boy’s family for Christmas, I drove to a restaurant to meet up with her. Now, I admit she emailed me the address of the restaurant but otherwise we’ve remained connected and set up our reunion totally by snail mail. Pretty much the opposite of my recent reunion via Facebook!
Even though I have access to, and use regularly, all this wonderful technology I could never give up letter writing and my pen pals. I have another person I’ve been writing with for almost 17 years. If you ever feel like you’d like to reconnect with someone, I highly recommend the hand written letter.
Pretty stationary not necessary but you will get bonus points for it.