Well, it appears that I somehow missed September. In my defense, over here in my neck of the woods, it didn’t really feel like September at all. The temperatures were in the 30’s with a humidity level that had my hair all confused trying to decide whether it was channelling Hermoine or Hagrid.
Still, despite the weather, for me September is like January lite. A time for new beginnings before we get desperate with our New Year resolutions. While I’m no longer in school, I can’t help but feel the influence of fresh starts and clean agenda’s. Even though I enjoyed rocking my curves and the little extra cleavage they offered my sundresses, it was time to put down the pina colada, get off of the lounger and get back into a schedule…and my jeans.
The entire neighbourhood had begun to support and challenge each other by signing up for different marathons. They use an app that maps their running route, tracks their time and posts it to their social media accounts to share with friends and inspire a little friendly competition.
I, however, believe the secret to success lies in learning to walk before you run.
To tell you the truth, I hate running altogether so my plan had to involve attainable and realistic goals and not actually include any running at all. Luckily studies have proven that walking can be just as good for you…except of course, in the case of a zombie apocalypse in which case I am definitely living in the wrong neighbourhood and will most assuredly get eaten first (at least 47 minutes before the next slowest neighbour, if the app is accurate). Until that time though, I felt pretty good about getting out into the sunshine at least once a day and walking the dogs.
Step One: Increase physical activity
There was certainly no way I was getting out of the house without taking the dogs with me. With kids at home, and kittens to take care of, they had been a little neglected over the summer. During the heat wave I was able to discourage any negative comments about their lack of grooming by passing off the dogs’ summer look as beach waves. With the introduction of back to school hair cuts I knew it was only a matter of time before the world recognized that I was in fact a horrible dog owner who obviously did not love her four legged family members enough to spend the appropriate time brushing and bathing them.
Step Two: Dog Grooming
It was a bit of a wake up call to realize it took sectioning off a block of time in my day planner to pamper my pets, in order to recognize that maybe I should spend a little more time on my own appearance. I mean, I’m not getting any younger. Gone are the days where I could get away with using baby shampoo on my hair, soap and water on my face and nothing but a little lip gloss and still get by on my youthful good looks. Currently, unless the look I am going for is a sexy skunk, I need to make sure I schedule regular hair appointments at the very least. The internet also informs me that at this stage of my life, my facial regime should involve more steps than dismantling a bomb and that self care is the new health care.
Step Three to 5 or 7 (depending on how closely I follow the advice of my dermatologist): Personal Grooming
Of course self care isn’t all about your physical appearance. It’s about making sure that you are enriching your mind. It’s about spending quality time with friends. It is as simple as making sure you are drinking enough water and as difficult as making sure you are getting enough sleep. An empty lantern gives no light and self care is the fuel that will help you shine. So if creating a brighter future was part of my September self, it appeared that I needed to commit to putting myself first once and awhile. Or at least second, right after the dogs.
Step Seven (or maybe 8?) to 12: Self Care
If the dogs got top billing, and I got the second slot, that meant my kids were falling to third place after an entire summer of stealing the show. Spoiling myself wasn’t going to feel very good all covered in guilt so investing in the children made sense on a lot of different levels. Besides, it’s not like they required as much involvement as when they were toddlers and we participated in Mommy and Me classes. These days all I have to do is sign them up. And then, of course chauffeur them back and forth. Also occasionally I might need to provide nutritious but delicious pot luck items and if for example the theme of the evening is Hawaiian, purchase the supplies for, and help construct over 100 tissue paper flowers in order to make leis for your child and their closest friends.
Step 12 to …well let’s just say each kid is about a 5 step process, times that by three kids and add 1 step per tissue flower…er…carry the one….um…about 127?: Get your Children into Activities
I was starting to feel a tiny bit overwhelmed but heck, this is my last year with everyone under the same roof after all. If there was ever a time to pull out all the stops, it’s now. My oldest starts University next year…which reminds me…somewhere amongst my new and improved routine I need to find time to research all of the different school and find out when we can do a tour of her top choices and then figure out how on earth I’m going to hold it together once she’s gone. I know it’s not like I won’t still have kids in the house to keep me busy, but it is the first painful step into my empty nest transition. Not that the nest will be entirely empty. There is another person living here with me…I see him every once in a while in passing…what is his name again? Oh that’s right… Mr. Cractpot! I figured now might also be the time to reintroduce myself to the handsome devil who I’ll be spending the rest of my life with, so I added one night a week to the itinerary for us to go out for dinner to see if we could remember what we use to talk about before we talked about the kids. Unfortunately, I forgot to cover shaving my legs as part of my personal grooming routine and somehow it slipped through the cracks of my self care so I had to add it to this one.
Step 128 and 129: Date night with husband
Of course, these are all just improvements on the current approach which still involves grocery shopping, meal planning, house tidying, oh and blog writing. Just 129 additional steps to add to the already complicated choreography that I do every day. Only 129 simple steps to a happier healthier me.
Now I know why Green Day asked us to wake them when September ends. It’s exhausting and we haven’t even added Thanksgiving, or Halloween…never mind about Christmas!
To all of you struggling to fit everything into your schedule, take it from a Cractpot; you can only do the best that you can do and sometimes the best that you can do is to use up all of your highlighter mapping out your month in a day timer before throwing it under the bed and heading out to the lounger with a pina colada to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine while you can. And if you won’t listen to me, then at least listen to Greenday…
Until next time,
Time is the only one of life’s resources that when it’s all spent, you wish you had spent more of it foolishly. ~Robert Brault