Well at least I can confirm that my blog has stuck, even if it’s gone through periods of neglect here and there. And it has been serving its purpose pretty darn well, even if I do say so myself.
A year ago I was just starting out on my journey to become content with a Life More Ordinary; to work on my adulting skills and stop being such a discontent drifter in life, waiting for everything to miraculously fall into place somehow without any effort on my part. In all the back-and-forth shuffling of the past twelve months I can confidently say that I’ve come out at least slightly ahead.
That feels pretty damn nice, I must say.
Reading back through all my early drafts – and especially all the stuff connected to Blogging 101 last September (seriously, I can’t recommend that course enough for anyone just starting out on WordPress) – I feel enough of a clinical distance to be able to compare and contrast my head now with my head back then. It’s pretty great, really.
I’m so glad I took this plunge!
I do feel like more of an adult now, even on my off days. My threshold for mess is much lower than it used to be. I’m able to be more mindful in the moment when necessary and compensate better on bad head days (apart from today, which was a bit of a doozy, but let’s not allow that to spoil the moment). I’ve been bringing less stuff into the house and letting go of things more easily. I’m getting better at maintenance cleaning and – better yet – establishing easy storage systems so that the kids can start helping more.
Like, really guys. Despite my ridiculous expectations for myself and my tendency towards perfectionism-induced atrophy I’m actually making progress!
So let’s zero in on The Starting Line I defined back at the beginning and take a closer look at what I’ve achieved.
Diet – Although my loose meal planning system has fallen by the wayside a bit I have been able to use it as a fall-back when stumped for dinner ideas and am generally getting better at planning meals at least a day or two in advance. I also feel weird and antsy if we aren’t eating dinner by 7pm at the absolute latest, which is a VERY new thing for me! My current approach to food is best summarised by these 15 eating habits of long-lived cultures, derived from many years of studying large sample groups. I’m still working on cutting back on convenience foods (especially potato chips and bikkies) but have actively increased my fish intake and use of fermented foods, beans, seeds, and nuts. I’ve also embraced my coffee habit (4-5 cups a day is actually good at staving off depression and dementia, you guys!!) but stop it by 2pm and switch to white, red, or green tea if an afternoon pickup is necessary.
Sleep – Slowly getting better but still really erratic. I’m falling asleep before midnight more often than I used to though so that’s a plus.
Fitness – Still pretty average as I still freaking hate exercising. I’m moving it up the priorities list and formulating a plan based around short, angry bursts of activity though: I weighed myself for the first time in ages yesterday and I’m back up to 80kg. That’s getting up towards the “obese” end of overweight for my BMI and is the start of a slippery downward spiral of poor health if I don’t nip it in the bud NOW – before my heaviness becomes much more of a barrier to moving around more.
Happiness – Generally better. I’m more conscious of natural fluctuations in brain chemistry and can identify and anticipate triggers (today’s blow-out, for example, was due to me taking a chance and eating panko-crumbed tofu at a sushi place yesterday. At least I confirmed that I’m still sensitive to gluten, I guess…). The antidepressants are definitely helping to keep me on an even keel and water kefir fills in any gaps. It also helps that my 2yo is getting better at playing with her big sister so I can snatch more quiet time throughout the day, and I’m still reaping the benefits of enduring the stress of having an extra adult and child to care for for a couple of months. Knowing that life can be way more hectic and stressful than it currently is – and I can totally cope with it then too – helps me appreciate the quiet times and live in the moment more gratefully than I used to.
Day to Day – I am getting way better at curbing the impulse purchases and even have $130 in my savings account at the moment. And $60ish on my credit card! This probably sounds like small fry to most people but it’s pretty huge for me. I’ve spent my whole life living week to week – if not day to day – and never being able to curb my tendency to just spend money when I have it. Having any sort of buffer is a massive deal. Like, we’re thinking of getting hubby to transfer most of his salary into our shared account so I can manage all the bills and household expenses because I have more restraint than him now.
Seriously, if you knew me you’d be all “Wha…?! No way.” Trust me.
Long Term – I still haven’t tackled anything more complicated than daily budgeting and trying to pay off my credit card, but I’ve been following this guy’s newsletter for a while and am slowly picking up on more practical advice. I’ve also put any goals of making extra money on the back burner for now. I’d rather devote energy toward living within our current means and being a better mother and housewife. That’s enough work for me at the moment! Thankfully we get enough financial support from my parents and the government for me to exercise this choice without it causing too much stress for anyone (for which I am extremely grateful! Definitely counting my blessings with that).
Ongoing Maintenance – Getting there. With my new “Productive Pottering” approach I’m much better at just getting shit done without over-thinking things, and know that if I’m feeling stuck I can pick up the dish wand and wash a few dishes to start feeling productive again. We still have way too much stuff so I get overwhelmed easily when I survey upended boxes of (formerly) carefully packed toys strewn across the floor or I can’t find a clear surface to rest my coffee cup next to my rocking chair, but… clear progress is being made. Even if things don’t get cleaned up and put away in a timely fashion at least more things actually have a set place to go, so it’s easier to clean up when I finally do get a wind up me. That feels pretty sweet, I must say.
Culling and Organising – I’m probably proudest of the progress being made here. Every time I sort through a section of the house and cull things it gets easier and easier to let go. I’m sure the antidepressants help a lot but all the hard work I’ve done on my own head is finally starting to pay off. I haven’t formally monitored it, but I’m pretty sure the amount of stuff that has left the house over the past year is greater than the amount that has come in, and my desire for this to improve only continues to grow. Again, I can thank my friend who lived with us for a couple of months for the leap in personal growth here: seriously, seeing an unreconstructed hoarder (for want of a better term) all up in my face like that really helped me find more resolve to never let myself get that far into it. I am determined to have a place for everything and everything in its place as soon as humanly possible!
Parenting – This is a particularly challenging area at the moment thanks to my oldest girl’s anxiety problems. I’m seeking help now, so hopefully things will improve soon. As is, I’d say this area of life hasn’t changed much in the last year. Overall we’re managing ok, but there’s clear room for improvement. I think my biggest practical goal in the short term is to cut right back on screen time and increase the physical/sensory play. We’ll all benefit from that!
General Organising Skills – Still a bit average, but slightly better than a year ago. My memory has gone to shit again lately so writing things down somewhere prominent is vital if I don’t want to miss anything important – if my wall calendar is empty I get very worried!! When an upcoming event is on my radar, though, I’m able to plan a little further in advance than I used to. I’ll buy birthday presents the day before a party rather than on that morning. I’ll double check the school snacks supplies every couple of days and make a list of things that are low. I started cleaning for the house inspection coming up this Saturday weeks ago (we’re talking washing walls and scrubbing floor tiles and buffing the wooden paneling on cupboard doors, people!).
So yes, progress has been made and the next year of blogging is looking good. I’ll pin down some new goals over the coming week (see? I went to write “days” just then but stopped to reassess what is actually achievable and adjusted expectations accordingly) and see if I can inject a little more life back into my corner of the blogosphere.
Mediocre Meg has already had such a great impact on my life. I’m looking forward to building on that foundation with you.
(Aaaaand now it’s the 5th August here. Ah well, better late than never, hey little bloggy? 🎉 )