March 14, 2011


It was six years ago this day that Roy took me out on our first date. That was then:

This is now:

After six years, four job changes (two for Roy, two for me), three moves, a wedding, two pregnancies, two kids, and countless priceless memories, I can honestly say that he's still my best friend and the love of my life. (Happy dateiversary, behbehs. You still make me incredibly happy. Let's play footsies.)

Today is another anniversary of mine: the four year anniversary of the day I quit smoking. When I think that it's been four years, I can scarcely believe it. I was a habitual smoker for over ten years and I could never imagine my life without cigarettes. I'm glad I took the steps to make that change, though, because it is hugely inspiring for me to know that I did it. I made a change I never thought I was going to ever be able to make, and I stuck with it. I am a triumphant non-smoker!

My first post of the new year was a laundry list of things I want to accomplish and changes I want to make in 2011. It's overwhelming, when I really think about it, to consider all the changes I would like to make in my life - that post doesn't really touch on everything. I'd love to grow a garden, eat healthy foods for every single meal and snack, give up caffeine, do yoga every morning, floss every night, stop using the computer around my kids, wake up early each morning to write, and on and on and on it goes.

There is nothing wrong with wanting these things. But I often am doomed to fail before I even begin because I want all these changes to happen at once. I want to snap my fingers and have it be done. I'm such an American. No patience and no tolerance for the process of change. In order for my life to change, I have to change.

I did not come to this conclusion on my own. I read The Spiral of Successful Habits, an amazing post on Zen Habits, and it was like I got hit with a case of the DUHs. That's when I decided that I was going to change my life, but I was going to do it one little thing at a time, give each change an adequate amount of time to set in, and just go slowly. And so I have begun.

The first change I chose to make was showering every night before bed. It had become too difficult to get a shower each day. I was mostly successful but each shower was rushed, for obvious reasons. I wasn't always able to wash my hair either, and I have hair that needs to be washed every day. Sometimes my showers were downright stressful, especially if Charlie decided to hold the shower curtain open the entire time, letting water run everywhere.

This sounds like a simple change, something that would be pretty easy, but it's not always like that. I've almost managed to talk myself out of showering at night a few times, just because I was tired and wanted to go straight to bed. The only time I didn't make myself keep up with the nighttime showers was when I was sick recently, as I didn't want to go to bed with wet hair. But once I was better, I jumped right back to it.

When I am trying to talk myself out of taking a pre-bedtime shower, I remind myself how much I love having time to really get nice and clean, shave my legs, and enjoy the warm water. Since the boys are asleep and Roy is home, I can spend as much time as I want in the shower - this is a luxury I do not have in the mornings. I am super relaxed afterwards and fall asleep so easily. I just love lying in bed with wet hair. And in the morning I am nice and fresh, and it's much easier for me to get ready for the day.

So that was change #1. It's been going very well. My hair the next day is hit or miss, but let's face it - it always has been. At least I'm clean.

Change #2: a walk every morning by myself. I started this one right on the heels of change #1. Basically I make it a point to take a walk around the block each morning alone. I try to get out of bed, throw on some clothes, and leave the house, but sometimes I have to stop and change a diaper or feed Simon first. I absolutely love doing this little thing for myself each morning. Mornings in my neighborhood are nothing short of glorious, and I get five minutes alone in the world to collect my thoughts before the chaos begins. Much like my nighttime showers, this is a gift to myself - it is for me only. I spend countless hours a day tending to the needs of my guys (I'm not complaining, just saying), and I've earned this. Someday I would like the walks to be longer, but that will come with time and with other changes made. For now, I'm good with five minutes of solitude.

Oh yeah, sometimes my camera comes along for the ride; here are some photos from my walks.

(This is our grapefruit tree. Funny story, I had no idea this was a grapefruit tree until my brother-in-law told me it was. I thought it was an orange tree. That was a sign to me that we should actually, you know, eat the free fruit growing on our property.)

These photos are unedited. It's a fucking beautiful world out there.

So I'm into change #3 now, which is probably the most difficult one yet: brush my teeth a full two minutes each time. I use a Sonicare toothbrush, which is all fancy and actually shuts itself off once I've reached the two minute mark. I used to take my sweet time brushing my teeth. And then Charlie was born. And then Simon was born. I've been rushing through it. It's funny the things that we let go without even thinking about it. But this is something that I really need to take the time to do. So I'm about a week in and doing okay. I find myself getting bored before the two minutes are up. I find myself getting pulled away because of toddler drama. I must stop all that and exist only in my tooth-brushing world for those two minutes.

These are little things. But in my time on this earth, I have come to realize that it's often the little things in life that add up to make the biggest difference. Roy put our new tomato plant on our kitchen window sill this weekend, and that was enough to put a big stupid smile on my face each time I looked at it.

We should probably put it outside, though.

And speaking of changes, I love this time change! I thought it would really mess with the boys' sleep schedules around here, but things are going surprisingly well. And spring is on its way. My flash has been living on my camera since the fall, and it’s really nice to have lots of natural light pouring into the house.

I feel like I'm waking up after a long dark winter. Our winter was pretty mild, but I've spent a lot of it in the house, a little nervous about taking such a young baby out too much. But no more! I feel the call of sunshine in my bones.


phairhead said...

hey it's SB and me's dating anniversary today too!

Mozel Tov!

Kimberly said...

thank you for this post. it is a nice reminder for me as well. i am the typical "need it all done perfect right now" kind of person and have a hard time doing one thing at a time. Koodos to you for moving in this direction AND choosing things that include you time!

Eric's Mommy said...

I love this post, I have saved it and read it a few times.

marcia at Child in Harmony said...

Love this post and love the photos!

happy day!