Saturday, January 19, 2013

51. Awareness

Today I am nurturing my gratitude for awareness, as I just scoured my apartment looking for my birth certificate. I have had issues with packing for a while, back to my good old college days that followed me through my travel to Taiwan, my relationship, and my move to where we currently live. I used to get angry while packing or looking for something, swearing that I will get my act together and clean this time, and declutter/organize certain aspects of my life. Other things always took priority, until I had my child and wondered if this clutter/mini-hoarder of a household is the kind of environment I want my child to grow up in. Of course, I also realized we had a serious problem when other people gently commented on whether we had just moved, that we had lots of boxes, or that we had lots of stuff. You know something is not right when you are too embarrassed to invite people over because of clutter, or when you see your son being so much happier in somebody else's spacious home. And sometimes it takes looking through another person's box of cassettes and floppy disks  to realize that perhaps I am unlikely to read through my stacks of papers in the next few years, and that I need to devote time to decluttering, and most of all, let go of the past. I thank awareness today because instead of being angry, or saying that I will get things done in the future, today I feel genuinely sad, as I realize I have a problem on my hands that I need to address, that life cannot go on in this mini-hoarder fashion, for myself or for my child. Awareness, acceptance, and a willingness to change are the first steps to enacting that change. Being angry at oneself or somebody else for their clutter is unhelpful-as a parent and person I can guide my own and my child's change/needs, but I cannot change another adult's viewpoint. By the same token, there comes a time when one needs to step back and evaluate how much one can continue to put up with or compensate for. At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our own actions, and the consequences that follow, good or bad. Of course, the exception comes with children, and even though some adults want to revert to that childhood state, well, childhood comes once, and then with adulthood comes a time to let go of the past and embrace adulthood for what it is, a life of responsibility, routine, and accountability. Same with parenthood -a time to embrace the joys and challenges that come with having a child and to leave behind a life of adulthood without child. I am glad that I have the awareness and courage to sometimes see things for what they are, for some people do not even have that insight, or are too scared to face the possibility of such. I hope I can instill a similar sense of awareness and humility in my child...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

50. A New Year

Tonight, for my fiftieth post (wow!), I am nurturing my gratitude for a new year. I love the energy that a new year brings, really, it's just another day, but the meaning we attribute to it makes a whole lotta difference. Yesterday, I felt reenergized, reinvigorated to start afresh, to start anew, even though I can feel that every day, the psychological affect of it being a new year was different. I've been hearing about how resolutions only last a few weeks and then die out, however, it's nice to be able to feel encouraged about renewing, starting, or affirming resolutions once a year. As I understand it, it takes about 20 relapses before a smoker can successfully quit smoking, so perhaps with 20 resolutions, change will finally stick beyond the few weeks' measure? Yes, twenty years is a long time, but a lifetime of no change is even longer...

So, here's to a new year and to one step being closer to change, which in my case, is losing 25 pounds, being physically active, eating healthy, and in reasonable portions...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

49. Holiday Spirit

Tonight I am nurturing my gratitude for the holiday spirit. I love the holiday season - I think the best part of fall arriving is that a series of festivities begin from Thanksgiving to Halloween to Christmas. Even though I still feel that having Christmas stuff out before Halloween is a bit much, I like that one gets the Christmas vibe in November, even though a lot of it is for commercial purposes. I enjoy hearing Christmas music, feeling the slight festiveness when I go shopping in November, and in December, definitely savour the Christmas lights twinkling everywhere. I like my eggnog and eggnog latte, and have been enjoying Christmas-themed shows for the past several years. There is something to be said for a communal celebration - on the one hand it puts pressure on people to participate, but on the other hand, it's an opportunity to rejoice and make merry with your neighbours and the nearest and dearest ones in your life. For me, holiday spirit also means trying out new recipes, such as green bean casseroles :P

Monday, December 24, 2012

48. White Christmas

Tonight, on Christmas Eve, I am nurturing my gratitude for a White Christmas. I used to wish and hope for blankets of white, fluffy, shimmering snow to create the perfect Christmas ambiance, however living in Vancouver, dry, fluffy clean snow is hard to come by, if any. Where we live now we're almost always guaranteed snow this time of year, and since the climate is fairly dry, it means beautiful, glistening, powdery snow! A couple of days ago, we got to enjoy some beautiful snowfall, and today had the opportunity to walk through what to my eyes is a winter wonderland. White, almost blinding snow on the grounds, and pine trees covered in heaps of snow. Such beautiful landscape provides a nice contrast to the mad shopping rush that has unfortunately befallen a lovely holiday season. Some people might complain about how much snow and how cold it is outside, but to me, it's the perfect setup for Christmas. Now I just have to figure out how to make a snowman from such dry, flaking snow...

Monday, December 3, 2012

47. Affirmations

Affirmations can be a powerful force...I never really believed in the power of affirmations or positive thinking until a time came when I thought, "Why not - what have I got to lose?" I started putting things out into the universe, not in a strict "I affirm such and such," but more like, "I want to do this," or "I wish to do that," "I envision myself doing such and such." And most of the time, it works! I think affirmations have more to do with what one focuses their attention on, when one wishes or focuses on something, one tends to notice that particular thing more, it's on a person's radar, so to speak. I also believe that's how the law of attraction works, it's not so much that we "attract" positive or negative vibes, but more so we notice those things more. For instance, if I'm thinking about how beautiful fruit trees are, and consciously think about them, then chances are the next time I'll notice another fruit tree. Conversely, if I focus on how horrid the summer heat is everytime I walk out, that thinking becomes ingrained in my subconscious, the part of the brain that is responsible for habits and associations, and chances are the next time I walk out, I'll notice and be upset about the summer heat, and miss out on all the beautiful fruit trees...

What brought my attention to affirmations? Well, I've been thinking for a week or so now that I need to look at some core exercises on the body ball, since I got an email about just that, but haven't had time to open it, and I have a body ball lying at home, plus it's been difficult to get to the Y and exercise, because my going to the Y is contingent on playcare hours, and we're still working on my little boy's daytime nap routine. So I thought it might be worth adding some exercises that I can do at home. I was watching "Anne of Green Gables - the Animated Series," and came across a commercial by Body Break on guess what? Core exercise! It wasn't an exercise using the body ball, it was a plank exercise that I could do at home and that I had done before, so I didn't have to learn a whole new exercise. I knew it was something that I could do, having done it before for as long as 90 seconds. I probably would have missed the exercise, or seen the commercial but not register it as something that I can do, and be thankful for having that exercise come by my way in a time of stress, but I've learned to recognize affirmations when they do happen, so thank you universe.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

46. Routine

I used to be an 'anti-routine' person, routine pretty much was synonymous with boring. Routine was so distasteful to me that I would rarely eat the same food from the same restaurant, always venturing for the 'new' dish, something that I had not tried before...

Of course, it's always good to try something new, and 'spice' things up, so to speak. But routine has its place too, and instead of being boring, can actually help one feel grounded at times, increase productivity (by freeing your mind to do/try other things while the routine becomes habitual), and help with physical activity and healthy eating goals (through creating healthy habits).

And when you're a parent, routine becomes something that you almost crave for, since so many new adventures are happening in one's life, with a baby learning and acquiring new skills all the time (and an adult entering the crazy, planning-EVERYTHING-ahead-of-time world of parenthood)! Actually, babies seem to thrive with a decent amount of familiarity and routine/structure in their lives, as I am discovering the hard way, being so routine-averse that I thought I could get my child to adapt to my lifestyle...while my son has adapted to my non-routine, flex lifestyle, it's also affected his sleep greatly, at times needing a parent to fall and stay asleep, and sleeping less in general. Babies generally need around 13-16 hours of sleep for healthy growth and development, and while my child was once ahead of other children his age in terms of growth and development, he's slipping behind lately. Part of it was because our flex lifestyle led to him eating on the go and therefore skipping some much-needed sit-down meals, and because he had been going to bed later and later, wanting to stay up and have fun with his parents, while waking up at around the same time each morning.

So, I am starting to appreciate routine and structure more and more in my life, one other reason being that my memory is not as good as it used to be before child, so I almost have to create routines to ingrain habits that will help me remember where I put things (such as my keys, phone, and wallet!) and what needs to get done, and free up space to keep track of things that I need to do for my child. Routine is helping my son eat more, eat healthier, and sleep better and longer; it gives me some down time to do things that I enjoy doing, provide me with some much-needed 'me-time,' and I've recently realized routine can help me eat better. And I can honestly say even with these routines, my life is far from boring, as there is always something new happening in my life vis-a-vis my child, or something new to learn, such as the fine art of choosing a daycare.

Hence, my ode to routine, I say, bring it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

45. Home Sweet Home

Today I am nurturing my gratitude for being home. For the longest time, Kamloops did not feel like home. Which is interesting, because I thought I was used to living in different places in different countries - could be an age thing :P Took me about two years to feel at home to be honest, and now when I'm in Vancouver, it's nice to be around all the action and options available, but I also notice how much noisier everything is. And I feel so much time gets sucked up just trying to find things and keep things somewhat in order, which also could be due to the forgetfulness that has become part and parcel of parenthood. I miss my routine (can't believe I'm saying this!), did not enjoy not having my sleeping mask around, shivering almost every night before I fell asleep (since being a 'guest,' I had to cater to others' need for below room temperatures, as well as waking up at noon or later), always running up and down stairs to get something (although that was a good cardio workout), and generally not feeling safe. Within two days of being away, I was craving to come back home, longing for my own space, my own bed, my eye mask, my own thermostat. It seems like my little boy is happy to be home too :)

As soon as I walked in the home, I felt lighter, replaced by different stresses, and insomnia again, but nonetheless I feel relieved. Thank you sweet home, and I'm also thankful that I can afford a nice, decent apartment to live in.