This is a very long blog post. I find that writing out my feelings helps me work through things and it’s very therapeutic. Of course, this often leads to rambling and long run-on sentences. I’m sorry, but I’m not. Enjoy.
These past five years have been an incredible ride. We moved from Toronto to Vancouver- and then we moved four more times. We also got a dog, had a baby, opened up businesses, closed down businesses, gave said dog to a loving family, built a house ourselves – it hasn’t been easy, and I’d be lying if I said I loved every single moment of it, but it’s gotten us here, to this point in our lives.
It seems that the last five years have been working up to this moment in our lives. We had spent five years planning, constructing, building, moving, and waiting. The five address changes in fives years has waned my love of return address stamps and moving announcements – they no longer seemed special or necessary when you needed a new one yearly.
This year alone has brought about a whirlwind of activity. So much waiting, so much stress, so much time spent on finishing this house – so many things fell to the wayside that I wish hadn’t. I wish I could have been a better mother these past 6 months. I wish I could have been there for more school activities, I wish I was more organized and gave more of my time to my kids – but the priority was the house. If we didn’t have a finished house by the end of April, we would be homeless. And so, the kids had to wait for us.
They had to wait for us to finish scrambling about the house, running around Vancouver purchasing construction materials, sourcing appliances and bathroom finishes, and so. many. trips. to. Ikea. Even after moving in, we had weeks of disorganization – boxes and boxes to unpack, patio doors to install, furniture to put together – basically trying to make this house feel more like a home.
The house was thrown together in the last few months, and we ended up settling for cheaper options that could be done here and now, instead of spending plenty more on items that would have taken a while to be delivered. Our main goal was to finish the house, and our thoughts were to renovate when the time and the money was right. When will it be right? Months from now? A year from now?
In the two months that we’ve lived here, we’ve made lists and lists of things that need to be done. We’ve hemmed and hawed over our kitchen and what needs to be changed, the hardwood floors upstairs, the finish of our concrete floors, the patio that needs flooring and railings, and the brick exterior issues, which are currently going through our insurance company and our lawyers. All of this definitely has taken a toll on us.
The stress builds up throughout the days, and at night, we find ways to forget about our problems. We go out to dinner, sometimes with the kids and sometimes without, or we’ll make large meals at home, and we have campfires in our yard and roast marshmallows and make s’mores. We watch movies and bad reality tv and seasons of Breaking Bad, we drink way too much wine and beer than we should, we eat too much than we should, we cuddle and relax, but we aren’t as active or as healthy as either of us would like to be. We’ve basically created a bubble of comfort.
In June, we decided we should start to change our lifestyle, but it’s been hard. Detoxing feels good at first, and then it sucks. Going out for hikes on the weekends has been a good start, but it’s also made me depressed knowing how badly out of shape I am. I even tried downhill mountain biking for the first time, and I loved it, but the picture Jay took of me made me realise how large I am, and it bugs me.
For the longest time I’ve been living this way. I keep noticing that clothes don’t fit, that I don’t like what I look like in pictures, that I’m out of breath very quickly – and I get motivated and research diet plans, I start a workout program, but not even a week later you would find me on the patio drinking a beer and eating deep fried pickles. I frustrate myself continually.
And I think I’ve finally figured it out. I mean, there’s got to be a lesson here somewhere, after all the mistakes that I’ve made.
These past few years have been busy and hectic, full of major life changes – some of it has been a ton of fun, some of it has been harder – and we’ve pulled through. But instead of dealing with these stresses in healthy ways (ie. taking a walk or going for a run, even doing a yoga class), I take on a sedentary way of life – I stay on the computer way longer than I should, I sit back on the bench as my children play outside, I make constant excuses about my life and who I am and why I’m living it.
We always discuss the things that we should be doing, but it’s so much easier to say YES to going out after a long, boring day of working at home and taking care of two kids. It’s so much easier to say YES to indulgent meals because that makes you FEEL GOOD after a day where you didn’t feel so good. It’s more fun to socialise with friends at a bar than go to bed early, wake up early and exercise.
Saying ‘yes’ to all of these indulgences, all of these impulse ‘feel good’ moments have actually hindered me over the years. They’ve made me unhealthy, I’ve gained weight, I don’t sleep well, I don’t feel good. All of these ‘yes’s have actually been big fat NOs disguised as fun.
I agree that in life there must be a balance in all things, some sweet with the savoury. But there comes a time when you’re tipping the scale in the wrong direction, and the only way to undo all the damage you’ve done is to cut the bullshit and be strict with yourself.
And now, after all the mistakes I’ve made, after all the time I’ve spent saying yes to fun and actually saying no to myself, it’s time to say YES to ME. Which makes me feel selfish, but I think it might be time to focus on myself again.
It’s time to put myself first, it’s time to focus on my health, on my well-being. Because if I’m not happy, then how can I be a good mother and wife? If I want to be a good mom to my kids, I have to be happy and healthy.
This month, Jay & I have decided to only eat out once or twice, and only if the occasion truly demands it. We’ve cleared our calendars, decided to buckle down, and really be serious. We’re cutting out drinking this month, and I don’t want to say we’ll cut it out forever or for the whole summer, because it just doesn’t seem realistic. But for this month, I need to get alcohol out of my system.
In July, there are two events that I’ve committed to – TWO! Not ten, or twelve, or five. The first is a movie screening that I’ve been invited to, and I’m very excited about! The second is Wanderlust in Whistler, which takes place the last weekend of July. It seems fitting that this month, as I’m taking a pledge to put myself first by eating healthier and being more active, that the last weekend of the month I will be spending a whole weekend at a festival devoted to bettering myself.
I look forward to a month devoted to myself.
I look forward to putting away bad habits.
I look forward to a month of yoga.
I look forward to saying yes to me.