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Love yourself, hate mid-season

So, now that the kids are finally back to school, mommy can take her blog back up. Yay! This is also that time of the year when I usually start to miss my kids, while continuing to nurture a deep hate for mid-season. This year however, I am also trying something new: the “love yourself” routine.

No socks with sandals

Really guys, why do you put sandals on socks? I mean, I am a Birkenstock addict myself, but come on, those were not made to be worn with socks.

It is no secret I’ve always hated mid-season. You never know how to dress, you wake up in the morning and it’s freezing cold, then you end up sweating like a pig in the afternoon. Plus, it gets even worse when you are also in charge of dressing up 2 little humans, who are not yet able to tell you if they are cold or not, and who inevitably get sick after 2 days in.

Anyways. Enough about the awfulness of mid-season and its looks. The revelation here is I have started to love myself.

Born again

Something happened to me this summer and it took me a couple of months to start accepting it. Then, it took me another two months to heal. To be completely honest, this is still a work-in-progress. But for how cheesy this might sound, it is true that this horrible thing gave me the chance to meet new great people and re-start from scratch.

It’s almost as if the universe had decided to give me a second chance. A chance to reboot my life by fixing what was broken. Cause turns out, I realized that a lot of things were actually broken. However, I was just going with the flow, ignoring them.

When I think about it, I had never taken the time before to simply stop for a second and acknowledge myself. You know, just looking at myself in the mirror and asking: “how are you doing today”?

Think about it

Do you ever ask yourself how you are doing? I bet the answer is no. And the reason is this is not what we’ve been taught.

Growing up, we’ve learned to ask others how they feel and with time we have lost the connection with ourselves. I’ve had a burn out, which literally means that my brain and body have burnt out (well not physically, with flames and stuff, but you get it). I wasn’t able to function anymore, one day all of a sudden I switched my laptop on and tears started to fall down. And I just could not stop them.

After three solid hours of crying and feeling crap, I went to see the doctor and he told me: young lady, this is your body telling you “enough, I can’t take this shit anymore!”. You’d better listen to it.

Keeping in touch with yourself is vital. How can you love yourself if you do not even listen to what your body has to tell?

I am glad I was given the chance to learn this before it was too late. I have started to take 10 minutes every day, to just sit down and listen to my body. I ask myself “how are you feeling today?”. And I take note of every single feeling, positive or negative.

The trick here is to NEVER read anything you’ve written. The past is in the past and that’s where you have to leave it. I have to admit that at the beginning I was very skeptical, but the more I do this the better I feel!

That’s not it

I am also starting another very powerful exercise to re-boost my self-esteem and nurture the love for myself. Closing every day with a small celebration of any little win – like cooking an entire meal without Philadelphia cream cheese as the main ingredient for instance. Or being brave enough to tell the supermarket cashier wrong when the change he gives back is not right. My therapist is going to be super proud of me.

Stay tuned to see how this works out for me and for how long I manage to stick to this “new life, new me” commitment. Bets accepted!


Finding balance

Or – how you thought you had everything perfectly under control, but instead, you do not even know where your balance is and how you can find balance for a better life.

I have never really understood why people are so insensitive at work. It’s as if every morning, as soon as we walk into the office, something comes over us and makes us forget who we really are, that we’re here on earth for a blink of an eye and – instead of cherishing each other and making an effort to make this journey pleasant for all – we do our utmost to be jerks.

Does it really have to be like that?

Is that what’s needed to have a career and be successful? Could it not be different and should it not be different? Why are we being like this?

I can’t help but think that it’s a question of balance and most importantly finding balance for a better life. That famous “work-life” balance that’s filling up glossy magazines and empty HR promises. Is it really working? For whom? And how can we find our own?

Last Friday hubby and I were having dinner, alone, just the two of us. As it used to be. Before the kids, I mean. It’s crazy how difficult it is to get some space once you become parents! So we decided we would invest some money in a babysitter at least once a month to make time for those little “just the two of us” moments.

Anyways, when dessert arrived, he asked me what I wanted to do. Not after dinner; really, in my life, in the near future or in the long run…

I did not know. Scariest thing ever. How can I be almost 34 and not know what I want to do with my life?! I’m supposed to be the adult here – I’m supposed to have a plan. I should have found my balance already.

Where the hell is my balance?

Turns out, I really don’t know. Finding balance for a better life is not that easy.

It was not just because the dessert was so delicious that my mind was completely blown away (I had tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream – orgasmic). I truly, really honestly, did not have an answer, and that was hard to admit, hard to live with. So I started thinking about it.

How come I do not know?

I have always been so sure about myself and I never thought moments like this one could happen – especially not as a thirty-something, working mom, married to a great guy who takes me out for tarte Tatin.

Wasn’t this supposed to happen in our senior year, when we had to choose which uni to pick? Or when you were dating both the good guy and the jackass and you didn’t know which one to drop?

Well, my friends. Apparently this can also happen when you think that your fate is traced, that all is decided that all you can do is just keep going. That “this is as good as it gets”, like Jack Nicholson says in the movie.

No, not for me. It may have been the dessert, it may have been the extra glass of wine, it may have been my husband looking at me with a question that had nothing to do with diapers or groceries, but I had an epiphany.

I need more me time.

No, scratch that. I want more me time. I want time to do the things that really make me happy, to focus on finding that balance for a better life. Like writing this blog, for instance. I am doing this for myself, simply because it helps me put order in my thoughts. And that’s what will reset the balance.

This space is like a secret journal for me really, except that I feel like I’m probably not the only one going down this route in this very moment, and I would love to hear from others that are on my same boat.

And you? How are you keeping your balance? Tell us your story and we will publish it on here! getintouch@thereallifeblog.com

Epiphanies and resolutions

The beauty of having epiphanies is all in the making resolutions afterwards. But it is never easy, because most of the time, resolutions translate into change and God knows how much human beings do not like change!

Epiphanies are funny, because they hit you all of a sudden and when you least expect them. It’s like when you have to make a decision. Should I go right or left? Should I eat this cookie or not? And then you turn, or eat the damn cookie, and all of a sudden BAM! The correct answer is crystal clear and right in front of you. Yes, you turned the right corner or, no, you shouldn’t have had that cookie.

A moment of bliss

What triggers that “click” in our minds that allows us to see things we hadn’t been able to see before? Why is it that obvious answers are sometimes so difficult to get to?

Well, I think that we’ve probably been looking for the answers to those obvious questions in the wrong places. Sometimes, we might have been asking the wrong questions all along, or maybe, we hadn’t even started questioning ourselves at all. But what’s good with epiphanies is that they come with resolutions. You cannot just have a revelation and then sit on it as if it never happened. Or probably you can, but then I am not sure you’d be happy. When having epiphanies you also have to make resolutions and this is for sure the hardest part.

A no-brainer

My latest epiphany consisted in realizing that the only one to blame for putting so much pressure on myself (as a woman, a mum, a wife, a friend and a worker) is actually me. A no-brainer, as a matter of fact, but somehow I always thought that I was doing a bunch of stuff “because it had to be done”. So what kind of resolutions could I make, in order to move on from this epiphany?

I’ve decided to stop running all the time, especially when it’s not even clear where I’m running to (or from). As my mum used to say, you shouldn’t jump off a bridge just because someone told you to – let alone if that someone is you and you’re not even sure why you should jump in the first place.

I decided that it was time to stop listening to that little voice in my head pushing me to always do more, reach higher, run faster. Mostly because my voice can’t answer two simple questions: why? And what for?

Refocus on the really important things in life

Not long ago, I was working really hard towards getting a promotion which, to my big surprise, I was refused. After the initial disappointment, though, I realized that what I regretted the most was focusing so many hours each day on what a thought was a priority (a step up in my career), to the detriment of my other aspects of my life, that I wasn’t looking at as important. Until then, I had felt that my family-related tasks were taking away focus from my “precious” work time, when in reality it should have been the other way around. And when that epiphany hit me, I took my refused promotion for what it really was: a great opportunity to re-prioritize. 

I have been blessed many times in my life already. I have two beautiful kids and I have found the love of my life. There is a roof over my head and a family to return back to. And friends, a lot of friends who care about me. But somehow, it’s like I had to go for what I did not have. Or perhaps worse – wanting it so badly made me overlook and underestimate what I should have cherished.

Looking back now, am not even sure I really wanted that job. I think I was just going with the flow. I was just doing what everyone else around me thought was the right thing to do, because aren’t we all pushed to want more and aim higher? Enough, right?

What if we were just happy with what we already have?

What if, instead on focusing on what we do not have, we started to focus on what we do have, and be more grateful? Or better: why not try to aim higher, but only as long as the focus of the quest is the right one – as an individual, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a friend – or even to make it simpler – a human being?

Back to my epiphanies and resolutions now. I have decided to turn things around work-wise: they are not ready to promote me now? Fine, I will ask my employer to work 4 days a week and take it from there. I want more “me time”, but I don’t want this need to take away from other things that really matter. Like my kids, my husband and my friends.

So I’ve decided: my career will take a small step back for my life to jump forward.

And you? What is your epiphany? Tell us your story and we will publish it on here! getintouch@thereallifeblog.com