|Filing our story from Chili's in Sioux City, Iowa|
I blinked, and it’s the middle of December.
I swear it was August yesterday. Why am I wearing a big fat coat right now?
I have a bad habit: I overdo it.
I thought I had learned a lesson about this during our first year of marriage, when I lost 30 pounds without trying (that I, of course, later found) and much of the hair in the front of my head.
But, apparently not.
At least now, though, I can tell the signs my body gives me that I am getting overly stressed.
I work a more than full time job.
I commute at least an hour to and from work each way.
I am a caregiver to my husband, which can take up between 2-4 hours a day.
I started a volunteer project helping Wounded Warriors and their families at Walter Reed, which is quickly snowballing into something bigger than I can handle alone.
I like to have a clean house.
I like to make home cooked meals.
I like to shop at 2-3 different stores each week to save money.
I like to have a clean car.
We have two dogs, one of which really should be bathed every other day.
I am covering a Presidential campaign that has been going on for about a year, but is REALLY getting ready to heat up, for real, for the next 10 months.
I like to clip coupons to save money.
I like to stay in contact with my family.
I don’t like to miss ANYTHING. Be it a story, a Facebook post, a Tweet or an Instagram picture. I admit, I am an information addict.
I like to spend quiet time alone reading my Bible and devotionals.
I like to make homemade Christmas presents.
I like to buy Christmas presents, and wrap them.
I don’t like to work out, but I do feel guilty about not doing it.
I like to keep this blog updated.
I don’t like to drive my husband back and forth to Baltimore for wheelchair repairs, but I need to, at some point.
I feel overwhelmed just reading over my little list here.
Last week, I couldn’t sleep worth a you know what.
I was waking up grumpy and with headaches.
My hands started breaking out.
Monday, I woke up so stressed I pretty much wanted to cry.
I felt like the to do list was towering over me, and the calendar was crowding my sunlight like an eclipse. So, I stayed home. Worked from home. Got some stuff done for the show. I made a huge list of things I wanted to do at home, having to do with Christmas gifts and the post office and making this and that and cleaning this or that. Wanting everything to be perfect for when my sister arrives the day after I get home from this trip to Iowa.
Then, I did something revolutionary. I scratched a bunch of stuff off, without doing it.
Go ahead, shriek. I did. This is not me. But I have to cut the fat.
I can’t do all of this stuff.
Why do I do this to myself all the time? Set these crazy, impossible goals that are either not humanly possible, or simply not worth it.
So here is the list of things I am not doing:
-Bathing the dogs (Michael is making them appointments at Petsmart)
-Clipping coupons (this should say I am not feeling guilty for not clipping coupons, because honestly, it’s been a few months since I’ve clipped or printed anything)
-Cleaning my car. I’ll wipe the inside down before my mom gets here. It’s not that bad anyway.
-Cooking for the Wounded Warriors this weekend. I can’t do it this week. There is no time. My sister is bringing oodles of cookies we will take those, and I have some supplies a co-worker donated, so I’ll drop those off on Sunday. But, sorry guys. No meals this week.
-Painting the ceiling in my dining room. I know, there’s been marks on the ceiling since we replaced the lighting fixture this Summer. Sorry, Mom. I wanted it to be perfect for you when you came to visit, but it’s not going to be perfect.
-Making bread. This year, Michael’s grandparents and aunts and uncles are getting cookies and magic bars in their Christmas packages. No homemade bread. I didn’t have time this year to mix, knead, wait for bread to rise, bake, etc.
-Homemade Apple Butter, not happening. I have some “spiced apple sauce” for my neighbors, if y’all are interested. You’ll have to refrigerate it, FYI.
-Working out. (this is another one that I’m really just dropping the feeling guilty part for, because I haven’t worked out since that hotel in Vegas the day before my birthday, in October)
-On that, I’m giving up the idea of ever celebrating my birthday. Michael and I keep meaning to do it, but there’s just no time. And soon, it will be 2012. Oh well. I can celebrate next year, right? Oh, wait, my birthday will be two weeks before Election Day. Maybe 2013 we can go out to dinner like 3 times.
-I wanted to wrap our Christmas presents all super pretty with ribbons and little ornaments and all that jazz. I bought the stuff. But, it didn’t happen. Have fun opening the taped edges. Sorry, that’s all I have.
Don’t I sound so defeated? It’s dumb, isn’t it? I mean who cares about smudges on the ceiling of the dining room or if there’s a snowflake on your Christmas present, right? Who cares if we have no homemade bread for a few months or if I spend $15.00 more a week because I’m not driving all across town with coupons, shopping at like 4 different stores for groceries and household supplies, right?
Because the things I cannot and will not compromise on just won’t give. And they shouldn’t. That’s the whole idea of priorities, right? I mean, my husband has to go to the bathroom and be bathed. The pets have to be taken care of, the house has to be at least moderately clean, I have to work, pay bills, and travel for work, and to see family for Christmas. And they have to come see us, too!
All of this is an apology, really, for not making homemade Apple Butter.
For having dirt in the corner floor boards of my kitchen.
For being overweight.
For having grown out roots.
For not being perfect.
But, our life, health and well being is fine.
I’m good with God.
And I’m giving back to my country.
I have a lot to be thankful for.
I try to remind myself that I am “blessed, not stressed.”
But if I’m honest with you, I’m both.
Aren’t we all?
There you go.
My unedited thoughts on priorities and giving up, when you have to.
Major shout out to my husband who had my back today in mailing a package to my brother, and making arrangements for the pups!