Reviving the Gratitude Project

Gratitude, Life, Musings

The other day, I was talking to my mom on the phone. I won’t repeat most of the conversation — it was convoluted and angst-ridden — but the general feeling was, “I don’t know what I want to DO with my LIFE and it’s TERRIBLE”

“Maybe you’re overthinking things,” she responded. “Noooooooo way,” I said. “I never overthink things.” And then we both laughed because I’ve been doing just that since I was 16.

I’ve had a lot of time to think, lately. In between job hunting, freelancing and day-to-day chores, I’ve been thinking about the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and why. The narrative we build out of events and relationships is powerful, and I’m trying to stay aware of how I talk to myself. There’s a big difference, for example, between thinking, “I’m an unemployed slob who stays in her pjs until noon every day and I’ll never find another good job,” and, “I’ve always worked hard and now I’m patiently waiting for the right opportunity.” Some days I feel like my 19 year old self, searching for her sense of self worth in straight As, only now good grades have been replaced with “money and a good job.” But I’m not 100 percent sure what that even means, because no one hands out grades on how well you’re doing adulthood. This terrifies me a little, but it’s also liberating, isn’t it? It makes me think of Anne Lamott’s observation, “I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to stop staring at my feet so much.

Which means that now seems like a good time to revive my gratitude goals. Remember those? For those of you who are catching up, I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s assertion that sometimes you have to act the way you want to feel. In a similar vein to her Happiness Project,  I embarked on a series of monthly challenges aimed at cultivating awareness, gratitude, and contentment. This month, I want to talk about food. Not in a “get healthy” way (been there, done that), but as a way of exploring how our favorite recipes can make any place feel like home, something I’ve been meditating on ever since I read this piece on NPR. So, this month, I’ll be sharing and reflecting on my best loved recipes and I’d love to hear about yours, too.

Twenty-Five

Life, Musings, Uncategorized

Today I am 25 years old. Last night, I celebrated with friends (pizza, booze, and Cards Against Humanity were all involved). My friends conspired with my hubby to make a birthday cake from scratch as a surprise. It was delightful. While I was chatting with another friend who’s also turning 25 next month, we joked about having a quarterlife crisis. “The next big birthday is 30, and that’s really scary,” he said. “Thirty sounds so adult. Like, by then you really can’t afford to make any more big mistakes. Really the only perk of turning 25 is that we don’t have to deal with those dumb fees when renting a car.”

25 Signs You're About To Turn 25

This is the year you officially cross the line and relate more to Squidward than to Spongebob. Via Buzzfeed.

It seems like we’ve been primed to freak out by turning 25. There’s lots of advice out there about lessons learned and things you apparently should have done before 25. But the more I thought about it, I realized that turning 25 isn’t all that scary to me. It’s effing awesome.

Honestly, my early twenties were plagued with insecurity and doubt. After graduation, I spent a lot of time worrying about the future as I tried to make the right decisions. At work, I took every little criticism as a sign that I just couldn’t hack it. I cried a lot. But I got through it. I married the best man I’ve ever met, gained experience and confidence in my abilities, and generally calmed down about things.

Now, this sounds cheesy even to me, but I feel like 25 is going to be the best year. Not because I know what’s going to happen, but because I’m finally okay with NOT knowing what’s going to happen. I’ve put that lingering teen angst and insecurity behind me, and I’m ready to have some adventures and generally enjoy what I’ve got. And maybe even make some mistakes, because I think that’s okay at any age.

So, here’s to being a quarter of a century and not freaking out about it.

Regrouping

Life

I know I’ve been absent. It wasn’t my intention, but I’ll tell you what happened.

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Sigh.

Last week, I went to the beach for a few days and woke up to this every morning.

Then, we came home and the rest of the week seemed really, really long. Even after going out of town for a few days, it sets me back and I was scrambling to catch up. And when this past weekend rolled around, I took the opportunity to regroup.

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I love a good walk in the woods.

I picked up the CSA and went for a walk in the woods with my hubby.

Then I deep cleaned my bedroom.This is super embarrassing (something I go to great lengths to hide from guests, because God forbid anyone see the way I really live) but the “after” photo is pretty impressive, so I’ll show it to you anyway.

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Before. (I know, I know. Yikes.)

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Ta-da! I dusted and everything. I feel like I can think now.

Then I went and saw The Heat all by myself because it was a dude-fest video game night in the apartment Saturday night (I’m not knocking video games — I sometimes beat my husband at Mario Cart now, but I was not in the mood). Going to the movie theater all by yourself feels incredibly luxurious, by the way.

On Sunday, we went to church and I made a peach crisp with blueberries.

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Summer distilled into a fruit.

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Yum.

It was a tad runny, but delicious.

Then I made a fancy dinner to celebrate the beginning of my husband’s last semester of grad school. We drank wine and talked about life and what we want to do over the next five years. It was the weekend I needed. Now that I’ve had some down time, I’ll return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.