“Being a grown up seems to involve running really fast to stay where you are,” my friend Anna said as we sat sipping at cappuccinos provided to us by our amateur barista pal, Sue, who was trying out her new java wonderment machine.
Anna’s like that. She sits quietly, listens and then sums everything up in a pithy little sentence.
“No kidding,” I said. We had been chatting about how we’ve all become incidental high maintenance women. Aside from our constant fretting over our children, husbands, parents, houses, bills, and jobs, there’s the exponential scope creep in the time and money required for personal maintenance—both physical and mental.
Getting older would be more tolerable if it didn’t involve feeling and looking worse, ya know?
For example, I used to exercise because I loved it—the speed, the effort, the burn. Now, I exercise, so I don’t feel like shit or look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. My new personal best involves sorting out the recycling without resorting to Robaxacet.
We have so much to be grateful and it’s difficult to avoid grasping and hanging on tight in a desperate bid to keep what we have. A lighter touch would be better and really, aside from showing up on time and doing what needs to be done, we have little control over our circumstances or the people we love.
But there’s no denying the constant work involved in family life, along with the pressure of trying to fit into last year’s pants. We have to be strong and well enough to do the work, don’t we? Look better; feel better, goes the adage. There’s a lot of truth to that. Want to lift your mood? Even an insincere smile gets the happy endorphins going.
I recounted the things I do to keep functioning physically, mentally and emotionally and by the time I got to the end we were in hysterics. Keep in mind that there are days I sleep in and skip stuff:
5:40 a.m. – Wake up and lift weights or do yoga (alternate days) for 20-30 minutes
6:05 a.m. – Five minutes of meditation, which involves: self-castigation for having a monkey mind, fake fights with people, reviewing internal work and home to-do-lists, imagining some worst-case scenarios, silently yelling at myself for producing the thought barrage, finding 24 seconds of peace, and then time’s up. This feels like an hour.
6:10-7 a.m. – Write stuff or stare blankly at screen. Check Twitter feed and email. Write some words, erase some words.
7a.m.-8 a.m. – Get ready for work. Eat oatmeal and fruit to avoid stomach problems later. Take probiotics, calcium, multi-vitamin and fish oil. Wash face and eyes with at least two different specialized products to minimize redness and prevent plugged oil glands. Put warm compresses on eyes to mitigate dry eye syndrome and prevent cysts from forming on eyelids. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Apply makeup in artful ways to look like I’m not wearing makeup.
8:30 a.m.12 p.m. – Work
12 p.m.-1 p.m. – Run or walk to counteract poor circulation in legs to restore feeling and warm up a little. Eat lunch.
1 p.m.-5 p.m. — Work
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Husband and I prepare meals, share chauffeuring duties, clean, prepare lunches, help with homework, and put laundry away.
8:30-9:30 p.m. – Work if something left unfinished, blog, or have sauna to warm up again. Shitty circulation. Thanks a lot, Dad, for that genetic legacy.
9:30-10 p.m. – Listen to IBS hypnotherapy tapes to keep stomach problems from worsening. Thanks a lot, Mom, for the trick stomach. Repeat face washing/moisturizing routine. Turn humidifier on to help with the dry eye thing. Deal with the dog’s resentment and new-found disappointment in me for purchasing and using said humidifier.
How do you let things go without giving up? That’s the question. Seeing the humour in things is one way and heading off to the hairdresser for touch-ups is another.