Friday, July 20, 2012
This summer has been all about spontaneity.
Something that has always been true about me is that I'm happiest when I don't over-plan or over-think ideas. It's not that thinking things through is a bad idea, but I tend to pysch myself out, or come up with a million reasons why it's a bad idea. Also ... I set out expectations for myself.
So this summer we made a decision not to overbook ourselves. Of course there are some things we need to plan. Family events happen. Birthdays, anniversays, births, family get-togethers. That seems to be a big part of the summer every year. This summer it's been a little bit different.
If there's a summer festival in the area we go - but we don't overplan it. We get there when we get there. We see what we want to see. We leave when the kids whine. It's pretty easy. It's what summer should be instead of what it's expected to be. And so far it's been great. We've seen awesome concerts. We've eaten cotton candy. We've gone on silly rides. We've ordered giant ice cream cones - and not panicked when the ice cream melted all over our hands.
We've also been a lot happier.
This didn't just happen though.
Earlier this year I had a long conversation with Mike about stress. We realized that every weekend and holiday our family was having huge arguments. Doors were slamming. People were screaming. I was leaving in tears. It was not pretty. So we decided to change that. I decided to change that. And by that I mean me. And so I stopped with this whole plan the weekend, clean the house, be a perfect parent thing that wasn't actually happening anyway.
We've accepted a few things.
1) Our house will never achieve the perfect level of clean. We mop. We do dishes. We try to tidy. But, we will always be a little cluttered. My treadmill is in the living room because it is used (less so in the summer but it still reminds me to run). I won't feel guilty about that
2) Who cares if everything isn't done. We may not squeeze grocery shopping in on the weekend. We may go to the farmer's market and get only fruit and veggies and need to pick other stuff up during the week. It's not worth a fight. If you have the choice to make strawberry jam over spending an hour at a grocery store - pick strawberry jam. Or a concert in the park. Or hanging out with a friend and a glass of wine. Or running in the sprinkler.
3) Walk away from a fight. If I'm being a b*tch I leave. If there's a yoga class I go. If not I run. If I'm tired I call a friend for coffee. Or go for coffee with a book. Or all of the above. (and yes, my baristas know me pretty well) Usually what we're fighting about is inconsequential. And we're tired or grouchy. Trust me - just try focusing on the thing you're stressed about when you're trying to beat your best mile or hold a plank or when you're giggling about someone from highschool. It's pretty hard. And starts to seem irrelevant. And sometimes when you take a break it's pretty clear that what you're upset about isn't the fact you ran out of bread, but that it's been a crappy week.
4) PICK FUN. Back to spontanaity. Just go. Go for it. Maybe it will be worth it. Maybe it will be kind of a waste of time. But, I'm starting to believe that getting out of the house and trying something new isn't going to be a waste of time regardless of whether the activity you try out is that great. I got tired of saying I couldn't run 5km before work so I did it. I didn't want to go through a summer and wished we had gone to a music festival. So we went. I got tired of saying no to the drive to my in-laws, so I booked it and we had soooo much fun.
The more we do. The more I look forward to. I'm starting to set some amazing goals for myself. I'm feeling so excited about life. And about my family. And I'm seeing a huge change in all of us. My kids are happier. They are kinder. They are fighting less. We're not dreading weekends. We're embracing them.
I have some big plans for this weekend. Too big to share right now. (I don't want to jinx myself).