savoring the seasonings

— August 06, 2017

Hello there! How has your summer been? Can you believe it is August already? Hold on to this month and squeeze every bit of summer moments out of it. Be ruthless! Say “no” and be selective on how you share your moments. Make sure that they matter!

I have returned from our annual Road Trip to NY to visit family and friends and am obsessed with how quickly my summer goes when we spend weeks of it somewhere other than at home. (Can you tell?) Even though it was still summer in NY and we enjoyed summery things, my brain always feels like we missed out on summer when I get back home so I get frantic about the time left. As much as I love my seasonal way of life here in the upper portion of the US, the cold weather months way outnumber the warm weather months. Adding the start up of the school routine to it really adds pressure.

As usual, my brain never vacations, so it has been busy thinking and pondering new and old topics. One old topic that came back to me the other night, was that my newest adventure in blogging has also been my slowest. I have been writing and creating for “The Awkward Bird” for a year-and-a-half now and continually find myself frustrated by my lack of content creation. What is wrong with me and why am I so lazy? Why can’t I take the millions of ideas that come to me and put some of them on my blog?

I am one of the awkward people who are affected by the full moon. I haven’t become overly hairy and growly at that time of night (not since I had newborns any way), but on the nights when I can’t seem to get to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night feeling rested and unable to get back to sleep, there’s a big moon out there each time. Earlier this week, I found myself awake after a short bit of sleep, with a big moon outside, and decided to read for a while versus lying in bed trying to go back to sleep to discover that three hours later, I am still awake. Then somewhere about midnight past, I still wasn’t tired, but I was hungry. Thoughts of my delicious dinner for that evening came to mind so I allowed myself the opportunity to go to the kitchen and get something to eat.

Dinner had been a skirt steak marinated so simply, in Italian dressing, a few splashes of soy sauce and a spoonful of brown sugar and chopped garlic. Accompanying that tender, sweet, savory, and garlicky goodness was angel hair pasta, again, dressed simply. It was drizzled with sesame oil with a few chopped chives and black sesame seeds sprinkled on the top. Mmmmmmmm. I also have not kept up with my TV viewings of The Pioneer Woman shows, so I found her “On Demand” and selected a recent show to watch while I ate my happy dinner leftovers in the wee night hours.

As I was finishing up my late night adventures (technically early morning), my brain came upon this metaphor for my frustrating lack of drive in my current blogging world and in my lack of desire to push push push to finish up my cookbook, send art samples to companies and the other potential dreams on my list that are within my reach at this moment in time: I am Savoring the Seasonings of the stage of life I am in right now. Each phase of my life is like an ingredient because you add one at a time. And since seasonings add spice, I am at the part of my “life recipe” where the foundation is already in the bowl (the flour and sugar) and I am adding the flavor.

I could have picked a Pot Roast recipe to imagine, but some sort of baked good seems more on target as my metaphor visual.

You don’t need to know this but I pondered what seasoning is being added at this phase of my life and I think it is cinnamon and I do have a rationale for this decision but I won’t make you go there with me.

I am fascinated with the seasons of life right now, probably because I am in a transition season of life as my children leave the “baby years” and move on to the “kid years”. There is one more year left before my youngest goes to Kindergarten and then my “cinnamon ingredient” has been fully added to my life recipe and I will need to begin adding a new ingredient (I will have to decide which ingredient it is). I want to savor these last bits of cinnamon that I am adding to my life recipe. Are you tired yet of how much material I can get out of this metaphor? I’m totally enjoying it.

It doesn’t feel like anything is “wrong with me” or that I am just “being lazy”. It feels intentional. It feels like I am in this period of slow growth because I am preparing for the future. A future that feels like it will eventually be full of content when I am in a different “season” of life. I see myself surrounded by writing and my dream adventures, happily busy creating content and sharing it all in another season when it fits better in my daily world. I know myself well enough by now, at 46, to recognize that I may not fully understand what is taking me so long to “get with it” and have the blog I envision and to accomplish more of my personal dreams and goals but that there is a reason for it and that I must be patient.

Busy daily life naturally plays a part in my inability to accomplish all that is on my personal list of desires, but I can feel that there is a deeper layer. There is something intentional in my slow pace.

Now that this transition moment is taking place, I have an overwhelming sense of losing time. I can recover from everything that happens to me and my dreams except that I can not recover the time I spend on them.

One book I read about a cut flower garden business stopped me in my tracks when I got to the credits. The author thanked her children for being without their mom on weekends for a whole year while she worked on her book. That year of missed moments is gone, never to return. I cannot help but wonder if she knew she would have a book at some point, would she care if it took her three years to finish it so she was still able to enjoy the moments in her life. Being someone who has always enjoyed being the “best worker” around, I always gave of myself to my jobs. Age and experience eventually taught me that if I offer up everything I have at work, someone will take it. Why not? My employer’s weren’t going to tell me to go home and enjoy my moments. There’s always work to be done.

I believe that I am the one who chooses my pace and that I can have it all. I can be with my family and friends and take the time to enjoy them and our impromptu moments and still accomplish everything I have set out to that is important to me. It doesn’t have to happen by next year. There will be more blocks of free time in my world in the coming years so I don’t need to berate myself now for not accomplishing more.

I never intended to.

My plan was to start working toward my goals when my kids were in school. But I got excited and my inner drive started to create deadlines that came earlier than I could feasibly accomplish with my current duties. Then I felt pressure, stress and failure that I wasn’t meeting those deadlines. The other night in the wee hours, with my plate of pasta and delicious meat, I realized that I was the problem with my current blogging and dream world. I messed with my original plan, the one that worked so well and the one that took into account my abilities at this moment in time and my desire and belief that I had enough time to accomplish my goals and still make moments.

The plan that allowed for me to be present in these last bits of time that I still have children with me at home during the day. The plan that knew I would need something to work on and be busy with when my life season changed, but would still need flexibility because there would still be younger children around for a few years after that. The plan that would allow me to be loving when the school called and I needed to stop what I was doing to go get sick kids and then be with them for a few days instead of being stressed because now my plan to accomplish my dreams and goals was interrupted.

The plan that my subconscious already knew, that would allow me to be present with friends and family, and even by myself, as the moments came, instead of explaining that I couldn’t participate right now because I was too busy. I can easily pass up the moments that I enjoy all by myself, like sitting outside at night for a few moments, or in the morning. Or like reading or working on a puzzle. Or baking and cooking more. Or outside trying to learn more about gardening. If there is work to be done, there is no time for leisure. But then I feel the loss of those things I enjoyed doing. There is plenty of time ahead of me to weave my dreams and goals into my days but sharing the time with my friends, family and myself will pass quickly.

Who wants to be so busy building a dream to be successful and then so busy maintaining it because it finally became successful, that the ultimate cost is too much of your personal time and your personal relationships?

“Being too busy” to participate in your normal daily life. That’s scary. Taking a longer time to accomplish my goals doesn’t scare me. It sounds perfect. Failing doesn’t scare me because one way or another, I’m on a path to enjoy at least some of the items on my dream list. Once an idea is in your brain, it sits there until you toss it out or you find a way to make it happen.

Someone else’s success story mentioned that the only thing success cost them was their personal time and now weekends are spent grilling vegetables for the successful salsa business they started instead of going to parks or tossing the ball around with their family. I’m all for hard work and making dreams come true but there has to be balance in there.

And if I were ever going to give my all to a job, my current one of being a stay-at-home mom is the one job that will benefit most from it and one that I would never regret.

And one last bit using my metaphor…

In another year, I will have all of my kids in school and will start a new season in life. I will be done adding the cinnamon and will begin adding a new ingredient to my life recipe. I want to add the last bits of this moment slowly so I can smell it and savor it before it falls off my spoon and gets combined with the other seasonings I have already added to my life. Before it gets mixed in and I can’t get it back again.

I want to be intentional in how I progress so that my life “credits” don’t involve thanking the people I love for missing out on me while I was working along.

So, that is what is “wrong” with me and why I have been so “lazy”. It’s intentional and my internal being knew it before I did.

All, right, thanks for listening my BFF’s. You’re always there for me and I know it.

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that I am not truly lazy.

Ok, I am off now to enjoy a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar and loaf on the couch…

2 Comments

  • Reply

    Amy@10th Ave.

    August 8, 2017

    Very, very good post! I read the whole thing twice. 🙂 I don’t think many people take the time to think through and prioritize their plans and goals, but this will save you from regrets down the road. Enjoy the slow spot on the roller coaster!

    • Reply

      aarynemm

      August 13, 2017

      Thank you for your thoughts, I truly appreciate them. It amazes me that the ideas that seem obvious are often the hardest to do, but the peace that has come from identifying this “new” idea to live with more purpose and less pace in my daily life for a bit is intense. I am aware of the ability to enjoy my moments much more deeply now that I am not scolding myself for not having accomplished a ridiculous to-do list. My to-do list is real and contains only that which needs to be worked on at this moment in my world. It’s a struggle to not go back to my “old ways” but my brain is always talking so it may as well be this and not that I am lazy!!

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