On Productivity

Hello, friends!

I hopped on the scale and apparently I have lost 9 pounds in about a week! That’s more than a little crazy to me, but according to everyone I have spoken to, that’s just water weight and should come off fairly easily.

I’ve had people rag on me for my weight, with some even going as far as to say that in order for me to love myself, I must lose weight. That comment makes no sense. I mean, that can help, but that’s not everything there is to it! I started on the journey towards loving myself long before I decided to lose weight AND hated myself even when I was thin. I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting messages about weight and appearance, both from media of all kinds, from the people around me, and even from myself. I used to be deathly afraid of having a double chin, and look what happened! I have one now. Do I hate myself for it? It’s kind of a nuisance, but no! It’s part of what I look like right now. Am I working to change that? Yes. This is not something to hate myself over.

My double chin.

The message I have gotten over the years (as evidenced by my fear of having a double chin) is that being fat makes me worth less than a skinny human and as such should be avoided at all costs, even if it means depriving oneself for extended periods of time. Not okay. I went through a lot of shame before realizing that there’s more to one’s worth than how much they weigh, how closely they follow time honored traditions, or how much they live up to others’ expectations. I am loved constantly and consistently.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the same ideas go for being productive, as well. If you aren’t accomplishing X amount of things during the day/week/month, you’re a failure. This pressure to constantly be doing something can lead to burnout, at least according to this awesome Buzzfeed News article. It specifically talks about millennials, but I think that anyone can suffer from burnout.

It makes some interesting points about how millennials were told from a young age that if they go to college and get a good job, they’ll have it made like the generations before them. But financial disaster struck, rendering their hard work somewhat useless. Being told to work, work, work their whole lives, they overwork themselves in this environment that is different from what they were promised in their childhood. This leads to a culture wherein many burn out and crave more than the hand they were dealt.

I’ve seen this come true with my husband more than for me. Both of us were born at the oft-reorganized tail end of the millennial generation, with him born in 1996 and me in 1997. I don’t want to be lumped in with those who eat Tide Pods, so I tend to call myself a millennial. He has worked very, VERY hard for the things he has accomplished, even going past burnout. He never went to college, and has gained a ton of wisdom and knowledge through work and life experience alone. He’s a hard worker, no matter how much he hates the job or how difficult it gets. It’s what he does. He is the most determined, productive individual I have ever met.

I, however, am just getting started on my adulthood journey and I find it difficult to stay committed to things when the going gets rough. The exception to this is my husband. I am determined to stick with him to the end, no matter how hard it gets or how much we annoy the crap out of each other. He is the biggest help on the adulting journey and he constantly pushes me to do better. One of the things he said to me yesterday was that my best is not what I am doing. I challenged that, saying that he could not determine my best since he isn’t me. He then gave examples, giving evidence that he had pushed me and I had done better than I had done before.

My clean kitchen!

At the same time, is it imperative that we are productive and improving all the time? I see posts on self care, but many of the items described involve distracting oneself, which I find does not help me. I find that the best thing I can do for my mental health when I am sad is to actually get up and do things. As described in my post Wholesome, I find that smashing my daily to-do list gives me more satisfaction than actually taking an off day. I wonder how to fill the time when it’s not structured, and rattling around in the empty time often leads to extra stress and sadness that should not have been there. But then there come the times when I just…can’t do anything.

A lot of times recently have been because of nausea and cramps (I appear to be in that time again) that make it difficult to even move and I’m not able to achieve my fitness goal for that day. Other times I’m just feeling sad and the work doesn’t help at all. Then there are the times where my mind throws such a hissy fit that it’s difficult to even move. Those are the times when I think it’s important for me to take a break – when nothing else will help and both my body and mind need a rest. It’s important to push myself and push myself hard, sometimes past the point where I feel I will break (I get past this most of the time), but it’s important to also stop and rest when I need to. If the stomach pain gets bad enough, my husband makes me draw a bath and sit in it until I feel better. And it helps. Sometimes I need someone else to get me to chill the heck out, listen, or redirect.

Today’s to do list in the process of being smashed.

I believe that my need to accomplish things comes from having far too much time on my hands rather than too little. As with the weight loss, I’ve been taking steps to fill my time and improve. Too much is too much, though. I need to be careful not to actually break myself, like I need to be careful to not undereat or hurt myself exercising. I have a tendency to get overzealous and do too much at once if I get passionate about something, never to pick it up again. Because of my struggle with moderation, I also think it’s important to remember that I am not a failure if I don’t accomplish much one day. There’s a next day so long as I’m alive. There’s never a need for shame and rarely a need for guilt so long as I – we – are improving.

With that, I leave y’all.

Love,

-Mago

Blog post and gratitude list = SMASHED

OH, QUICK, 10 THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Beautiful Alaskan weather.
  2. Finally feeling motivated today.
  3. Friends who accept me.
  4. That I’m successfully losing weight.
  5. That I’m not melting in Texas right now.
  6. My wonderful husband.
  7. The way the air smells here.
  8. Remembering to do things on my list.
  9. That I’m able to get up and move around today.
  10. That ice cream exists. (what?? I’m not eating ice cream today???)

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Plans…

Hello, gentle readers!

I suck at making plans. I am always envious of those who can make long term plans. I can make plans for two, three weeks from now, but I very rarely make plans for more than a month out. I find that my plans are often derailed or changed. I fear making long term plans because I either find that there are too many moving parts, I change my mind, or I lose sight of my goal and lose the willpower to complete it. And as such, over time, I shied away from making any plans and setting any goals… except one.

I don’t normally make plans involving other people for fear that they will crumble and end in flames, but a man meandered his way back into my life last November and I couldn’t help but get my hopes up. This man was a very special man. This man was my future husband.

I saw a meme that said something to the effect of, “stop waiting for your prince charming. Go after him. The poor soul might be stuck in a tree somewhere.”

In some ways, that’s what I did, or tried to do. When he first started to write to me, we had been out of contact for six years. I was blown out of the water. The man was articulate. I think that that was the moment I fell in love with him. So I tried to charm him. I chased that man like my life depended on it. I doubted that anything would happen between us, there were too many challenges. He lived in Alaska and I lived in Texas, and that was only one obstacle. Then the unthinkable happened.

He started falling for me.

We starting dating long-distance in January of 2018 and started talking marriage in February. We just knew. It was then that I – we – started planning. For the first time in nearly a decade, I had a long-term goal and a plan. I was going to marry the love of my life and build a life with him. This plan was real. I flew to Alaska for my birthday, where he proposed and I said yes. Then came a different sort of planning – wedding planning. I’ll confess, those months were some of the hardest months of my life. But we finally got married in October and he whisked me away to Alaska.

My husband is a planner. He has clearly defined goals and has a road map to reach them. Just by being around him, I am inspired by (and sometimes envious of) his ability to plan and finish what he sets out to do. He’s a planning beast.

Me? Not so much. Marrying him was the beginning of a new life. At the beginning, my only goal was to marry him and establish our new life together. But I’m saying it! I have a few goals now. (gasp!)

The first is that I want to adopt a child sometime in the future and raise this little one well. This is a shared goal that I have with my husband.

Second, I want to be a manager at the restaurant where I work within a year and a half.

Third, I want to blog every day consistently for the remainder of this month. I want to blog for far longer than that, but let’s start with this month.

Ready? BREAK!

Until tomorrow,

Meg