So I stated this effort about 4 months ago where my only objective was to just be cool as hell to myself.
That's me <-- when this effort kicked off. That was after my first self-administered quarantine haircut and I'd like to point out I kicked ass.
My plan really was just focused on silencing a sometimes not so nice inner voice that tends to be critical towards myself and I was going to give myself permission to just be.
Be what you ask? I had no idea really - just exist without restrictions I suppose.
And THAT was the question I asked myself.
What would happen if I were to loosen the restrictions on myself and allowed myself to be just happy?
Forget the calorie counting, forget getting up at 5 am every day, forget weighing myself every morning, forget dissecting everything I say or presentation I give, forget being overly critical - just a concentrated effort to chill to F out ...
and I did ...
4 months in - I have lost nearly 15 lbs by not counting calories, I have been indulging when I feel like it, going to bed "past my bed time", sleeping in on the weekends, not working 15 hour days every single day of the week, sitting in my garden, taking calls from my hanging chair, FaceTime'ing friends and spending the evenings working on my pilates practice, learning origami (which straight up sucks) and watching mindless tv or leafing through baking cookbooks.
Additionally I have limited my exposure to social media and news sites ... I'm informed but not overly informed and refuse to be bombarded with all the political discord.
On top of all this, I feel genuinely happy. It's not like I wasn't happy before but I certainly was preoccupied with all sorts of rules and constraints.
I turned 47 in early July ... FORTY SEVEN ... The photo above is my super professional head shot for LinkedIn and such - but the photo is completely untouched and unfiltered (although we did change the background from gray to black). It helps I have make up on and was having a good hair day but the two photos are remarkably different for other reasons:
In the second photo, my skin is brighter, my eyes a bit shinier, my face certainly thinner but I think the biggest difference is that the second photo I seem more at ease. That's the photo of someone happy. I also spent the day before this photo swinging in my hanging chair drinking champagne which certainly helps with my overall satisfaction score.
All this aside, there is so much going on - I think I will soon be faced with some big decisions that won't be entirely easy but I'm going to keep focusing on my family, friends, health and happiness and trust I will make the best decisions and end up where I'm supposed to be. As long as I stay chill I can effectively manage the change. I'm a change management powerhouse, of note.
I can't wait to check in, in another 4 months ... I honestly might just be a little ball of light by then.
Because the world is on FIRE ...
We have protests, shuttered buildings, unemployment, fear of unemployment, illness, closed offices, remote work environments, remote learning - our kids are out of school, sports canceled, crunched up necks, terrible hair, muffin tops, feelings of isolation, and anxiety levels at an all time high for many many people.
For me, I see such hope and am in awe of all the great things going on as well ... so much to be thankful for and so many things to focus on that are incredibly positive and inspiring. I just think we have to acknowledge the difficulties while seeking out the good and the positive surrounding us.
I see each and every day so many truly amazing acts of kindness towards one another, people are reaching out in ways that seemed to have fallen by the wayside, people are spending time (re)connecting in meaningful ways, people are truly evaluating what is important; friends, families, quality time spent with one another uninterrupted by daily demands, etc.
There has been a sort of forced movement towards a living a simpler life, a life closer to home and really for us Americans we literally can't go anywhere as countries won't even let us near their borders at this point.
I was sitting her thinking about how this year, I can't spend the summer in Switzerland thanks to COVID. Every single year before this I just couldn't spend the summer in Switzerland because I couldn't afford it - it's actually a nice change for me. I'M not the reason - YOU'RE the reason.
Honestly, spending time at home these last several months has been a truly positive experience. I may be in the minority but in my "normal" day to day life I feel like I'm always "on" there's no pause, there's no reprieve from it. It's exhausting on a profound level.
I have absolutely loved being at home. I love my home, I love my porch, my garden, my dogs, my ability to be insanely productive and focused, maintain the cleanest and most organized house on the planet (even with a teen), all my house projects completed, and I have a new renewed focus on myself. Wait? Who has time to focus on themselves? ME!
These many months have given me a much needed break from the world beyond my doorstep. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the world beyond my doorstep, but as someone with a demanding job, long commute, being a provider, maintaining a home, getting my son to sports 6 days a week, running errands, dealing with issues and normal day to day stressors, it's a lot.
It sort of builds up in your system. The demands on my time are great. I know that's our new normal and most people are in the exact same situation but I don't think I realized how overextended I was until I wasn't.
I just think when all you have is deafening static around you, you just don't realize how loud it is until it's silent.
Years ago, Psychology Today published an article called "The Psychology of Silence" - I remember reading it and it changed my behavior to a certain extent. I pulled into practice some of the concepts relating to the power of silence.
And then I few months later, I completely ignored everything about it and became completely overloaded as usual.
This step-back has really reintroduced the power associated with Silence.
I have been able to focus on the things I love, I have been loving my job, I have been able to step back and control my environment in such a way where I feel rebaselined, whole, happy, and healthy.
It has also provided a space for me to really step back, step back in that silence and sort out what it is that I want.
So often we do what is expected and at some point in our evolution we have to determine if we we wanted 15, 10, 5, even 1 year ago is what we want NOW.
I think for many of us, it's not or it's not in its current form.
As we change, our interests change, our current skill sets are well honed and refined. Things should become a bit easier leaving room for the new.
I have been spending time thinking about what would I would like to learn, how would I like to grow as the next phase of my life presents itself.
I have realized that while in a very left-brain career, I also need to spend more time feeding my wildly creative side.
This is what brings contentment in its purest form to my life. Movement - Dancing, Yoga & Pilates, art projects, writing (especially writing) and to be in a place where I can do it in a very freeing way, unapologetically.