Growing up, chores were an in-house job in my household. Eating out when you were capable of cooking, laundry service when you were capable of washing... was a waste of hard-earned money. That's how I was raised...you have two hands...do it yourself.
Now that I'm all old and have my own household to run and relationship to maintain...my, how the tides have turned. Both my husband and I work long hours. We're lucky if we spend a solid hour a day interacting with each other. And then comes those magical, rare weekends where we're actually both at home. And GUESS what those are often reserved for? Cleaning the house. A task (obviously) assigned to me because I lack the Y chromosome. (Stabby eye roll.)
Before I give you the false picture that I worked 16 hours a day and spent every other waking minute making sure that the house was spic and span, let's just be clear...our house fell into periods of time that I like to call "shitholiness." Self explanatory. As long as no one came over, it wasn't really a big deal. I'd do a big "clean sweep" every month and a half or so, and as long as no one came over, it was fine. But it took a toll on our relationship. I'd complain about the squalor we lived in (and that I created...my husband is quite tidy), and my husband would argue that he was doing his part to keep things as clean as possible, but it was hard to keep up with "Hurricane Cathy."
Some of you are thinking, "clean up your act," and some of you are thinking, "get a maid and STFU already." If only either decision were so easy. My amazing, equally hard-working girlfriends planted the seed in my head a while back that we needed to get a housecleaning service. Because if it takes 2 professionals 3 hours to clean my loft, it probably takes me 6 hours. And what are those 6 hours worth to me? At a time in my life where I work my ASS off? I don't know why, but I never, EVER looked at it that way. Paying someone to do a task that I'm fully capable of doing seemed ridiculous.
The "aha" moment for me was understanding the difference between paying people to do things you can physically do and paying people to complete tasks that give you TIME in your life to spend with the people you love, doing the things you love, is what makes it "worth it." EVEN IF doing nothing counts as doing something you love. What we pay people to do tasks we are sometimes capable of doing on our own, we earn in TIME. For our friends. For our family. Which, lately, is more scarce than any other resource...in my household, at least.
I think things like this---paying for services---is a huge, primary difference in how I live my life now and how I was raised. I think my husband and I both feel a lot of "shame" in paying for some things...eating out on weekdays when we're too tired to cook, housecleaning...even paying for a car wash here and there. No matter how much you tell either of us that you're buying time for YOU---for your relationship, your life, your freedom...it's still something that one of us (sometimes me, sometimes him) will have a hard time coming to terms with. My husband never gave me the "OK" to call a cleaning service. I just ended up doing it on my own accord. And I don't regret it, for a moment...but the guilt will always be there. It's just how we were raised.
Now that you're running your own household, what's a service that you and your SO have argued over paying for? Did you ever come to an agreement on it?
Hi! It's me, the chick that blogs here. I've spent the last 6 months wishing I still blogged. Which sounds ridiculous, right? Who WISHES they blog. Just blog. But it's funny. When you're in the business of blogging (and you're spending a lot of time blogging elsewhere anyway) ... OK wait, I'm going to stop typing in "you'res" and just start typing in "I'ms"...
I write a lot on the internet. I write newsletters, site updates, and blog posts all over the damn internet. 7 days a week. For a while, I thought that the last thing I'd want to do at 11PM after I've gotten through a crapload of writing is to...write some more. But I think there's been a gap in my life over the past year, and it's just getting my random thoughts out here.
But it's tough: when you're a blogger/internet chick (there. I said it.) there's a certain expectation that you provide...something meaningful in your words. I feel huge (internal) pressure on the fact that the stuff that I write on the internet is...awesome in some way. And my personal life? It's not really super awesome. I really like crafting, but I don't have a lot of time for glitter and glue sticks lately. I don't have a baby in which to rear, and to subsequently tell you about my spawn-rearing endeavors. I'm not planning a wedding (although I'm still happily throwing weddings in your face elsewhere). I'm 31, I eat Top Ramen for lunch, and sit around on my couch wearing a robe and a bear hat.
But, I MISS THIS. I miss blogging for the sake of blogging. And I think that if I'm just OK with not providing the most zomg awesome craft tutorial ever, or try really hard to be helpful in some way, then I think I can return. I can't promise anything amazing...but I can promise that I'll be here...wearing my bear hat, talking about stuff.
So...what should we talk about? What's new, what's good? If you're reading this you probably conceived and birthed a baby since the last time I wrote a post (that's just my crowd, I know!)...so CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby! Or, you probably got divorced. In which case CONGRATULATIONS on dumping that scumbag. Or if you're still doing the same old shit...hey, me too! Good company. xx
What a year, friends. What a crazy beautiful year.
It's pretty socially acceptable, in the blog world, to blog about your challenges. Readers and friends rally around you, sympathize, tell you that there's going to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and so on. We get sort of a satisfaction out of realizing that not only are our lives hard, but others out there are experiencing challenges, too. Relationship, career, family. Illness, failures, triumph over adversity.
This year has been a wonderful one for me, as a whole. And so, I didn't feel like I ever had much to write about. Because sometimes I read about people, with their wonderfully content lives, and I think, "well, I don't give a shit about your perfect effing life."
But here I am. At the end of a wonderful 2011, reflecting on the amazing year that it was.
I was in spin class last Saturday and at the end we stretched to the sky and our instructor asked us to make a wish as we reached up. Since this is a "reflection" post, let's reflect upon the fact that if December 2010 me was reading this post, she would laugh at the idea that December 2011 me goes to the gym, let alone on a SATURDAY. Anyyyyway, I wished for the first thing that came to mind:
I wished for snow in Minnesota this Christmas.*
And so, sums up a wonderful year. Because with everything anyone could possibly want, I wished for snow, something so ridiculously frivolous and small. Because I have everything I need: a beautiful family, my health, happiness, and love in my heart. 2011 was a highly satisfying year, and if I could hope for anything in 2012, it's that it's as wonderful as 2011.
My family is healthy.
I traveled the country.
I turned 30, and 9 of my nearest and dearest joined me on an adventure in paradise.
(My blog friend Kelly at The Startup Wife often writes posts she peppers with images like this...I love it. I'm including a little peek into my birthday trip this past week into this post! All images were taken by my good friend Stuart at Sosmithy Design in Tulum, Mexico.)
Back from an AMAZING (amazing doesn't begin to describe it) week-long 30th birthday celebration with some of my nearest and dearest in Tulum, Mexico.
This was the first vacation I've taken in 3 years where I really spent a minimal amount of time working...even when I went to Thailand last year I spent a good deal of time on the computer just making sure everything at work was going well. That actually worked out pretty nicely...even though the build up to Thailand and the weeks following were a whirlwind of prep and stress, I liked being able to access my work stuff while I was there...
it gave me a great deal of peace of mind just knowing everything was going OK.
There were a lot of things going on work-wise this past week that I had to let fall by the wayside and take care of when I got home. Because I was there with such a great group of friends, I didn't want to hole up and work for too many hours, when so many people had traveled so far to be with me. It was incredibly fantastic, but I could just feel the nerves building up day upon day, as I scrambled to get done what I needed to get done in the few internet check-ins I made throughout the week.
Worry, worry, worry...even on vacation! Shameful.
I was having dinner with my friend Kathryn a few weeks ago and was joking about my lack of work-life balance.
She said that she'd been doing a lot of things lately in her life to achieve a good balance, and is even speaking on the subject at the upcoming Alt Summit in early 2012. I don't know why, but I have lived the past few years just thinking that being frazzled all the time was kind of part of the territory when you work in publishing.
Deadlines are quick, people demand responses to their inquiries almost immediately, and going slightly insane constantly just felt like it was supposed to be a normal part of my life.
But I'm thinking something needs to change---I worry about a lot of things I can't control, and what's the point? All that happens is that I worry a lot. Worry, worry, worry. Worry that is starting to manifest itself physically. I felt it imploding on me this week while I was away in Tulum. By the plane ride home I was a ball of nerves; last night I dreamed about Skype calls and meetings and apologizing profusely to many, many people.
My brain---I think it needs to be rewired soon, or I might really lose it!
My girlfriend on the trip pointed out how strange it was that I'd just let some parts of my personal life completely break down. I'm horrible about keeping in touch; I travel a lot and LITERALLY show up to the airport not knowing where I'm going or what I'm doing there.
I'm pretty on pointe when it comes to work life and travel, but if it has anything to do with my friends or personal life, I'm pretty much just a haze of a person that floats around and expects people to kind of pick up my slack.
My husband is my rock---he really kind of just takes care of me. "Did you remember to pack? Shower? Gather your travel docs? Do you know where you're going?" ... We left for the airport at 6AM last Saturday and I packed at 2AM.
I kind of just looked in my closet, threw a bunch of things that seemed beachworthy in my suitcase, and zipped it up. I brought about 3 days worth of clothes for the week. What the hell is wrong with me?
After feeling pretty successful with nutrition counseling earlier this year, I think it's time for me to seek counseling for work-life balance.
The idea of getting coaching on something like that would have seemed so silly in the past, but considering how just sitting down with a nutritionist for a few weeks changed my life, I think it'd be worthwhile to seek out some sort of professional help for life balance.
It feels like admitting a huge weakness, something that so many normal people seem to be able to do on their own, but I think it's time to just finally tackle this beast and figure out how to organize my personal life and strike a balance.
I only have this one life...I need to figure out how to live it.
Have you ever taken any workshops on work-life balance? Did you learn anything good from them, and do you have any coaches/workshops that you can recommend?
I wasn't going to write a post about my birthday today because it'd just be a shameless grab for you to wish me a happy birthday.
But you know what? I'M FREAKING 30! SO WHAT WHO CARES! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
When I graduated from college my dad made me sit down and write out my goals for the year, the next 5 years, the next 10 years. I think I sat around and picked my earwax for 30 minutes and then forgot all about setting any goals.
Then, I joined the blogging community specifically to become a blogger for Weddingbee, and lots of bloggers kept a running "30 by 30" list where they'd create a bucket list of things to do before they turned 30. I always meant to start one as well (LOVE seeing people check things off their list. I love lists.) but didn't. Thank gorsh, because I would have probably checked nothing off. Or maybe everything off? Who knows, this list does not exist.
Living life without a concrete plan seems to have worked for me in my 20s. I always feel like I'm being left behind not being traditionally goal oriented, but I took the time last night to step back and really evaluate my goals. And I realize I have them. They may be loose, they may be vague, but they've always been there.
Be better than you were yesterday. Everything you did yesterday, do them today, just better.
I think I did OK in the last 10 years. Here's to the next decade of moving upwards and onwards, one baby step at a time.
30. Time to get serious about skincare, I guess.
Edit: One thing I am not looking forward to: saggy tits. It's already starting...