It’s not me, it’s you.

I am a highly sensitive person. What some (especially my husband) might call “over-sensitive”. The actions of others often leave me feeling sad, upset, embarrassed, or humiliated, often over little things. Rationally, I know I am over-reacting, but that does not keep me from dwelling on whatever may have happened.

I am hoping that in the next few months, I can learn to get over this. I have made significant strides in this department. Now I dwell for days not weeks but still, there is room for improvement.

What I have realized as I have thought about this, is I rarely have a problem with the message being delivered-the problem is usually the delivery of that message.

I’ll give you an example. The other day, my husband and son were playing tennis at the tennis courts behind our house. The tennis courts are literally in my backyard, beyond the fence. I needed to ask him something so I walked around, onto the court. I then walked along the edge of the fence, trying to stay out of the way, made my way to my husband, had a quick chat and walked back. As I walked back, one of the players was really rude to me. What I didn’t know is that is that in tennis, you need to wait until play has stopped before crossing the court. Me trying to stay out of the way wasn’t good enough.

Here is my issue. I was wrong. I didn’t know. It was, most definitely, my bad. But did the guy have to be a jerk about it? Or could he have said, “Hey-just so you know for next time, this is the etiquette”. I would have been embarrassed, apologized and learned my lesson. Was it necessary to be condescending and rude?

Another time I was driving and hesitated for 5 seconds as I tried to figure out if I was going right or left. The truck behind me accelerated to pass and the driver stuck out his middle finger. Really? Again, my mistake, my hesitation but do we really have to be so mean?

And yet another time, I was at my brother’s wedding. We were in Calgary and my boys were 2 and 4. They were exhausted, off schedule and sleep deprived. They were being monsters. I turned to an older woman who has children older than mine and asked her how to keep them from being so rotten. She answered with “Well, I don’t label my children”. It was amazing how much arrogance, self-righteousness and judgment was conveyed in a single sentence.   She made me feel so terrible, so small, and like the worst mother on the planet.

But looking back, I now realize that it wasn’t me. It was them. I am only human. I make mistakes. And as much as I would like to claim to know it all, I don’t. But the people who are rude and mean and treat others with disrespect have the real issues. Perhaps they have something going on. Perhaps there is some tragedy, some stress or pressing issue that makes them impatient, short and angry. Or perhaps they are just jerks by nature. In either case, it’s not about me. If I am feeling very generous, I may even give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are just having a bad day but I am hoping that from now on, I won’t let the actions of others affect me as much as they have in the past.

I try to remember this when it comes to my own choices as well. I try to choose my words carefully. Think about the impact of my words or actions. I try to emphasize this to my children. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. An apology can do damage control but it won’t reverse the impact of mean and callous behaviour. I always tell them to be kind in their delivery. The message will be much better received. Be empathetic. Think about others.

And in the end, when someone treats you with disrespect or is generally unkind, just remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

 

 

The One Thing I Wish I had Known When My Mother Was Alive…

This is always a particularly hard time of year for me. My mother passed away on July 7, 2004. This year is even more difficult as it marks 10 years since she left us. It is amazing how ten years can seem like an eternity and yet, at the same time, like a blink of an eye. So much has happened, and yet, so much has remained unchanged.

There are many things that I wish I had done differently when she was alive. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and I try not to dwell on what I would change if I had a chance for a do-over.

But there is one thing that I wish I had been able to experience while she was alive and that is motherhood. I don’t think you truly understand what it is to have a child, to love a child, to sacrifice all that you are and all that you have for your child’s happiness, until you actually have a child. And I think once you understand it, once you feel it in your soul, you can better appreciate your own mother and the sacrifices she made for you.

As a kid, I was the “rebellious” one. I say rebellious but I really wasn’t. I was always at the top of my class, didn’t date until my 20’s, didn’t drink or do drugs, and had a decent group of friends. But I had a lot of drive and ambition and I don’t think my parents knew what to do with that.

My mother and I didn’t have a good relationship when I was younger either. Of course, as I look back, we were very similar so of course we butted heads. But in my mind, she didn’t treat me the same way she did my brother and sister. She didn’t take care of me the same way. She didn’t worry about me as much as she did them. And to me, this was all proof that she didn’t love me as much.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

What I mistook as ambivalence was actually trust in my abilities. What I mistook as a lack of love was in fact confidence that I would thrive without her constant guidance. I was fine and she knew it, so she didn’t bother worrying about me.

And there were times that she did worry about me but I never found out until after she had passed away. My mother was not a touchy-feely kind of woman. She didn’t hug. She didn’t cry and she rarely said, “I love you”. I remember on my wedding day, she looked me up and down, smiled and told me I looked nice while my father stood sobbing beside her. But after she died, several of her friends told me she had confided in them about her fears for me. She was worried that I wouldn’t conceive as I was struggling with infertility at the time and she told them that she was worried about what the MS was going to do to me. She never told me any of this. She just always said that she knew I was going to be fine.

It all makes sense to me now that I am a mother and I see my children. I see my two boys each with very different needs, different personalities and different ideas. I love them both equally and differently at the same time. My love is unconditional. It knows no bounds, no limits.

I wish I had understood all of this when she was alive. I would have appreciated her so much more. I would have let go of my resentment and accepted that she gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it, even though I didn’t realize it.

In the end, we had a good relationship. We grew closer in her final years. She knew I loved her and I know she loved me, probably more than I will ever truly understand. Of course she did – she was my mother.

My Dirty Little Secret.

As you know if you have been reading my posts, I am a Naturopathic Doctor. Generally speaking, I live the principles I preach. I get enough sleep. I exercise. I don’t smoke. For the most part, I eat really well. I keep my coffee consumption organic and minimal. And this is exactly what I preach to my patients. Focus on the big stuff. It’s not the little things that will drive you to illness. Focus on good food and good water. Sleep. Rest. Try to manage stress. These are the foundations of good health.

When it comes to supplements, I try to be realistic as well and tell my patients to focus on a few key items. Nobody should be taking a mouthful of supplements three times a day to maintain health. But the basics are essential-a good fish oil, a probiotic, some vitamin D and a few others based on individual needs.

But here’s my dirty little secret. I am a Naturopathic Doctor and I don’t take my supplements regularly. Sure I start taking a few for a couple of weeks and then I add more and then it becomes too much so I stop -until the cycle begins again.

You see, being a naturopath means that I have a ton of supplements. I have expired products that I experiment on myself (please don’t do this on yourself-it is generally frowned upon!). I get samples from companies claiming they have the newest and best products on the market. I go to trade shows and get a million freebies. This means that I have 3 full cupboards full of supplements that I don’t take. It’s overwhelming. This is why I don’t prescribe oodles and oodles of supplements to my patients.

Of course, it helps that I have been healthy and feel pretty good. Sure I get a few colds but I have two germ ridden children who love to share. Other than that, my energy is great. I sleep well. My digestion works. So I don’t really have a motivating factor to take my supplements except for one-I preach prevention not cure.   You know the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? I am supposed to be living that.

Plus, of course, as I turn forty in the next little while, I want to preserve my health. I have been lucky. The MS hasn’t gotten the best of me but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be vigilant.

So here it goes, my next habit will be to practice what I preach. Take a fish oil, take a probiotic and take some vitamin D. The last one I am pretty good about-no Canadian gets through Winter unscathed without some bottled sunshine, at least not in my practice.

I have the pill box set up. I have reminders programmed into my phone. It’s simple. I just have to do it. Once I get the hang of these, I will probably add more. Some curcumin, a multi B complex, maybe some magnesium. I could probably use an antioxidant as well, and extra B12.

And so it begins.

 

 

When Good People Do Bad Things…

When I was younger, my life was simple. I had a two dimensional view of the world. There was wrong and there was right. There was good and there was bad. It was easy. Swearing was bad. Alcohol was bad. Praying was good. Obeying your parents was good.  

Bad people did bad things and good people did good things. 

Where did I fit into all of this? Well, I didn’t drink alcohol. I did well in school. For the most part, I listened to my parents and I didn’t swear.

I was definitely “good”.

But as I got older, my views changed. I discovered that a glass of Merlot had its merits. As for swearing, well just refer to my post on potty-mouth mommy and it will be obvious where I stand in terms of that particular vice. I have made many choices that some might consider questionable and continue to do so despite the knowledge that perhaps, I may be veering away from my understanding of the “good” side.

My understanding of right and wrong has transformed into black, white and many shades of grey.

The woman I was in my 20’s with her rigid view of people and life would balk at the choices I make today.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a strong moral compass. I teach my children to be kind, loving, patient and tolerant and do my best to model this behavior. I am honest and loyal, sometimes to a fault. But I have made, and will continue to make, mistakes. I have always been my toughest critic, but now I want to give myself a break for not always living up to the standards I uphold for myself and for those around me. I want to be less judgmental, and more accepting of the flaws that we all have.

And as I continue to grow older, my views on right and wrong continue to evolve.   In practice, I meet patients with amazing stories. These people are faced with adversities and challenges, and they do their best to deal with whatever life throws at them, in the best way they can. Do I always agree with them? No. Do I always think they have made the right choice? Absolutely not.

I hear stories from family and friends and where the old me would have been quick to judge, quick to decide which side of right or wrong that person belonged to, the new me now seeks to understand the motivation behind the actions, and to understand the intention of the doer. By shifting my focus this way, I have come to appreciate the complexities of people and life in a way I never really did before.

And of course, I look at my own life. The lines between good and bad, right and wrong have blurred so much, that I would be a hypocrite to judge another. As I embarked on this journey to become the better person I want to be this year, I have been acutely aware of my shortcomings, and the shortcomings of the people around me. And this is what I have learned.

Good people do bad things for good reasons. Good people do bad things for bad reasons. But good people are still good people.

We all struggle. We all falter. But I have learned in the past several years, that we are all just trying to do our best with the curveballs, challenges and disappointments life throws at us.

It’s not about right and wrong, good or bad. It’s about having a heart, having a conscious and making peace with the factors that drive us to make our decisions without needing to label them or ourselves.

So as I continue this journey, I hope to continue to be more understanding of the people around me, and I hope that in turn, they will do the same for me.

 

 

My 11 years with Multiple Sclerosis

In March 2003, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was 28 years old. I had just graduated from Naturopathic College and had started my residency.  Within a span of a week, I lost all feeling in my left leg and my right foot.  I needed a cane to walk around.  I would make it to work, my boss would take one look at me and send me straight home. I would stop in the middle of a grocery store and crouch low to deal with the pain from muscle spasms. Then, several weeks later, I started to have double vision.

I remember waking up the day after my diagnosis. Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, burying my head in my hands and sobbing.  I was so afraid.

I remember telling my husband it was okay if he wanted to leave me.  We had been married 3 short years and just moved into our first home.  I told him he didn’t have to take the whole “in sickness and in health” seriously.  I understood if he didn’t want to stick around and watch me potentially lose my mobility, my sight and other pieces of myself to a disease that was ravaging my brain. He didn’t leave. He cried instead.

I remember the panic that set in when the doctors told me my prognosis was bad.  That my MRI results were worse than they had anticipated and it was best if I started aggressive treatment as soon as possible.

But I couldn’t.  I wanted children.  I couldn’t take the drugs and still try to conceive.  Besides, I was a naturopath remember?  There had to be another way.

The doctors told me to “Hurry up and go have your kids so we can start treatment”.  Well, as luck would have it, that didn’t happen either.  It took me 3 years to finally get pregnant with the help of in vitro fertilization.  Remarkably, I was in remission for those three years.  I never relapsed.

I have never relapsed again. I have been close. This month I was scarily close. I lost feeling in my left leg again. Started tripping up the stairs again and had to be extra cautious walking and exercising, but I have recovered for the most part.

To be clear, I never fully recovered from the first episode but I did remarkably well.  If you look at me, you would never be able to tell that on any given day the amount of feeling I have in my left leg varies like the weather. At night, in the comfort of my home, I stop compensating.  My husband will see me limp.  My boys will ask why I am walking funny.  If I haven’t slept, or if I have been overly stressed, my eyes let me know.  The tell-tale double vision returns whenever I look left. Not for long, just long enough to let me know it’s time to slow down.

But 11 years after diagnosis, I am not afraid of losing my mobility.  I am not afraid of losing my sight.  I am not afraid of this disease.

In fact, most times, I consider it a blessing in disguise.

The diagnosis 11 years ago, which incidentally has not been confirmed since I never had a second episode that lasted long enough, changed my life for the better.  I don’t take my mobility for granted.  I don’t take my sight for granted.  I don’t take my life for granted.

The disease has taught me to listen to the whispers of my body.  Sleep when I have been pushing too hard.  Take a breath when the stress is too much.  Eat well. Exercise regularly. Choose friends wisely. Avoid drama.

This is good advice generally. We should all do this. But my type A personality never knew when to quit before the illness and truth be told, I still have trouble stepping on the brakes, but MS has made me try harder to strive for balance.  Those close to me may argue that I am still failing miserably at trying to balance my life, but they didn’t know me before I got diagnosed.  This is an improvement.

When I see patients in the clinic that have been told their test results are positive, that their prognosis is poor or that the odds are not in their favor, I want to scream at them to ignore all of it. We are more than test results, more than statistics, more than data points to plot on a graph.  We are individuals with challenges.  We don’t have to let those challenges define our lives.

MS reinforced to me that people are more than the sum of their parts.  There is a whole other part of us that science and medicine can’t figure out. For all intents and purposes, I should be in a wheelchair.   I should be heavily medicated.  I should be sicker than I am.

But I’m not.  I am fine.  I am healthy. I am happy but most importantly, I am more than an MRI.

 

How Hockey Camp Almost Killed Me and Other Tales from our March Break Madness.

These past two weeks, my children have been on March Break. I had this vision of March Break similar to how I have envisioned Summer breaks, Christmas breaks and March breaks of the past.  In my vision, I am free of being the chauffeur.  Instead, I sit in my pajamas at the kitchen table, drink tea, get lots of work done, catch up on my paperwork and the boys play and keep themselves occupied. 

 You would think that I would have learned by now that this is not how it tends to unfold.

 This March Break, I also planned on renovating my clinic, organizing my tax documents and working on my next habit: decluttering my inbox.  I managed to get the clinic renovated.  The rest remained pretty much untouched as I am lying in bed Sunday night, trying to recover from what was undoubtedly the roughest March Break I have ever been through.

 You see, my husband and I had this great idea.  We would put the boys in hockey camp in Waterloo for the first week of March Break.  The boys would be happy, I would get to work and my husband would book some work travel while the boys and I stayed with my dad. 

 Neither of us realized how wrong we were going to be.

You see, hockey camp is BRUTAL.  I don’t know how hockey parents do it.  Getting the boys fed, packing their bags then driving to the other side of town to get them on the rink by 8:30 for 5 days in a row literally almost killed me.  They are only 6 and 8 so I needed to help them get all their equipment on and then tighten their skates.  The one thing I will never be able to do is tighten skates.  Although they loved every minute of the camp, by the end of the week, I felt closer to a full blown neurological relapse than I have in the last 11 years. 

 It took me the weekend to recover and then it was time for the clinic renovation.  It wasn’t a big job but considering my clinic consists of mostly women, it took considerable muscle and strain to get the job done. 

 In the meantime, my dad and brother were helping with the kids.  I appreciate their help immensely.  They adore the boys and the boys adore them.  They mean well, but my dad’s idea of childcare is McDonald’s and Bulk Barn while my brother believes Tim Horton’s is a perfectly reasonable place to have breakfast. Combined, they turned my generally healthy, well fed, well-rested children into sugar crazed, sleep-deprived animals.  I wanted to run away from them. 

Meanwhile, my kitchen was being renovated while I was away.  Icing on the cake.   I came home to a dust covered, cluttered disaster of a home Friday night and spent all day Saturday washing every dish I own and then organizing the whole space.

So now I lay here on Sunday night, two well-fed boys in bed, a brand new beautiful kitchen downstairs and a newly renovated clinic space waiting for me tomorrow.  It turns out it was a pretty productive March Break after all but I am still very excited that tomorrow is Monday, the boys go back to school and I go back to work for a rest and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to put a dent in my inundated inbox.   

 

 

My Inundated Inbox

It’s been a while since I provided an update regarding my habits.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t going well.  In fact, for the most part, the habits are firmly established.  In terms of my most recent habit, I learned over the last few weeks that although I won’t stop being a potty mouth completely, I can use my choice words more scarcely and interestingly, they have more effect that way!  I have also allowed myself to swear at the gym.  I wasn’t going to be able to overcome that.  I already owe my trainer over 10 teas so I think I need to get him a Starbucks gift card and accept defeat. But most importantly, I no longer use “bad” words in front of the children.  The boys were very disappointed that they weren’t able to catch me being a potty mouth-not even once.

The other habits are going well too.  I continue to brush my teeth before bed and I have maintained my water intake.  My cell phone usage is still under control-for the most part.  I have not returned to weighing myself daily or even weekly for that matter and I realized the other day, that I can’t remember the last time I ran around the house frantically searching for my keys or wallet.  Overall, I am much calmer with these new habits in place.  So it’s time to add another. 

The next change needs to be timed right.  I need to be able to put in a lot of time at the front end in order to get a grip on this aspect of my life that causes me significant stress.  It has to do with email. 

I am one of those people with an overflowing inbox (over 2400 emails are currently in my inbox).  I can’t handle it.  Every time I login and see all those emails in my inbox, I feel a mild sense of anxiety.  I want to be one of those people who deals with email as it comes in.  Read it, reply to it, file it or delete it.  I don’t want weeks and weeks worth of email in my inbox causing me to panic that I have missed something important.  It gets to a point where it is so overwhelming that I start to feel like it is pointless to try to control it.  But I haven’t given up yet.

I decided that I am going to get a grip on my overflowing email during March Break.  I have some extra time to catch up on this as many of the boys’ activities are on hold and I won’t be commuting as often.  My plan is to clean out my inbox completely and then to allocate some time everyday or at least every other day to catch up on messages.  I have already started unsubscribing to many of the email newsletters and specials that inundate my inbox.  Every time I unsubscribe, I feel a little more in control.  It’s amazing how a small act can give such satisfaction. 

So hear I go.  Three weeks of reading, replying, filing or deleting.

 

 

Confessions of Potty Mouth Mommy

I have a confession to make.  It probably isn’t a surprise to most people I know but it’s something I have been trying to avoid dealing with for several years.

I have a potty mouth.

I use very bad words on a daily basis.  You would have thought that after having children I would have cleaned up my language but I think it’s actually gotten worse.  Stress brings it out the most and as any parent knows, stress is magnified with children.

It’s to the point that my oldest will gasp when I say the word “stupid” and exclaim in horror that I said a bad word but I could drop the f-bomb and no one noticed.  Those were acceptable words in my house because they were uttered so often.

But I knew it would catch up to me eventually and now it has.  A couple of weeks ago my husband took the boys to the grocery store and the little guy told his brother to “Stop being an ass—–“.

Not good.

Then later that weekend I used a word that began with an “s” and it wasn’t “stupid”.  My older one looked at me and said, “That’s a bad word”.  I stared at him for a minute and replied, “Yes, you are right.  Mommy uses bad words and she needs to stop.  You will need to help me okay?”  He agreed

It is something that I knew would make it to my “habits” list.  I am not happy about my foul language.  I find it particularly interesting that I can turn it on and off.  I don’t swear with patients (thankfully!) but I mindlessly start using choice words with my friends, family and some colleagues.

So how to stop?  I wasn’t sure.  I thought of several ways to deter my potty mouth.  The whole “loonie in a jar” thing is not going to work for me.   I think the “punishment” needs to be severe.  This is an ingrained habit that will be hard for me to break.  So I thought of different things.  Maybe my kids could give me a time-out when I swear or maybe they get a ticket that they can redeem for something.  But I know myself well enough to know that those ideas will not prove to be incentive enough.

But I think I may have finally thought of something that will work.

My kids love to sleep in my bed when daddy’s away.  I hate having them in my bed.  I sleep alone.  I need my sleep and it has been a non-negotiable.  When I don’t sleep, I can’t function.  My symptoms get worse and I get clumsy.  I tolerate my husband on the other side of our king size bed because matrimonial customs insist on it.  I always tell the boys that I would do anything for them-but they can’t sleep in my bed.

So there it is.  Every time I swear and the boys catch me, I will give them a ticket.  When they have 5 tickets, they can redeem them for a night to sleep in my bed when my husband is away.

I think this will work.

For anyone else who is reading this, if you catch me swearing, call me out on it and I will buy you a tea.  It would be weird to let you sleep in my bed 🙂

 

My Mommy is a Potty Mouth!

 

 

Every Candle Counts…

Today I turn 39.  Every other year, birthdays have been bittersweet.  Another year older meant more wrinkles and even more grey hair.  But this year is different.  This year I am grateful to be celebrating another year.  Thankful for every new wrinkle and every grey hair because each wrinkle and grey hair measures giggles, squeals, smiles and inches in my children that weren’t there the year before.   They represent secrets with my husband and jokes with my brother, meals, laughter, tears and happiness with friends and family that never would have been experienced without growing a year older.

For some time now, I have tried to live my life with gratitude.  To count my blessings and be thankful for all that I have.  But never has that been truer than now.  This year, I am acutely aware of how precarious and unpredictable life can be.  Up until a few months ago, I stressed about normal things-contractors, deadlines, work, chores, kids and countless other mundane things.  Then, in November, my dear friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She is 35 years old.  She has a 1-year old daughter whose eyes will turn you to mush.  And now, she is fighting the fight of her life.  How does that happen?  How do you go from being healthy, the world at your feet to scheduling chemo and surgery in the matter of hours and days?

And then yesterday, I had a new patient come in.  She is 50 years old.  She has had a neurological disorder for 15 years.  The same one as me.  For 10 of those years, she was well.  She worked, she walked, she mothered.  Just like me. Then, in the past 4 years, her health deteriorated.  She can now barely walk or talk.  I looked at this patient and saw my potential future.  That could happen to me.

I think to myself, count your blessings and live in the present.  I have had another year of walking, exercising, working, loving, laughing and playing with the kids.   I try to focus on the positive and continue to be grateful.

But then there are moments when it’s hard to be grateful.  Moments like this afternoon, when I was driving home, thinking about getting the kids to music class and hoping my husband doesn’t forget the cake (more for the kids’ sake than for mine), when it hit me-I miss my mom.  My mother passed away when she was 56 and I was 29.  This is my 10th birthday without her.  There are times like today when I feel her absence so deeply that I can’t breathe.  The sorrow overwhelms me.  It happens at random times.  Sometimes it will be while I am cooking and I think of something she used to say, or sometimes it will be while I am running and I can picture her smile.  She pops into my mind without warning and every time, I am left feeling a tightness in my throat and tears in my eyes.  To this day I can’t speak of her for more than 2 minutes without crying.  I am crying as I type this.  I feel such sadness that she never got to see where life took me, that she never got to meet my boys and most especially, that my boys will never know the love of a doting grandmother.

But then I try to remind myself that this is what life is about.  Life is sweeter when you have experienced death.  Health is more precious when you have faced illness.  Love is greater when you have lost.  The highs are so much higher when you have spent time wallowing in the lows.

So this year, instead of grumbling about getting older, I am thrilled to be celebrating another year lived, another year of health, another year of mothering and another year of endless joy, abundant laughter and immense blessings.  This year, I am putting all 39 candles on my cake to symbolize how much I appreciate every single one of those years, the good ones and the bad.

Happy Birthday to me.

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So another year begins….

Like every other year I have made New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 but this year I am going to pursue them differently.  Instead of making a list and trying to tackle it all at once, I am going to continue to incorporate new habits, as I have been over the past 3 months, in 3-week increments. 

My strategy so far has been quite effective.  I am still brushing my teeth every night, drinking lots of water and avoiding my phone.  My newest habit of trying to stretch everyday didn’t quite work out.  For whatever reason, that has and continues to be a challenge.  I have been stretching more, but not consistently.  I guess that’s better than nothing but my concern is that unless it is a true habit, I will eventually stop doing it. 

As I have been reading more studies and information on habits, I have found that the research is actually showing that the time it takes for an action to become a habit depends on the complexity of it and of course, on the individual.  Though certain easier habits may take 21 days, others may take much longer to develop.  So I am not sure what to do about this one.  Do I keep trying to incorporate it or try again later?  Or move on to another habit and accept defeat? 

I have decided to keep it on the back burner for now, kind of in a holding pattern.  I will still try to stretch more frequently, but I am also going to try to start Hot Yoga again.   A friend of mine asked me about it and I think we will try to go weekly together.  Hopefully the buddy system will help me with this particular challenge.

I haven’t weighed myself either.  It’s been almost a month.  Perhaps avoiding the scale over the holidays wasn’t such a wise idea but I have to say that not being a slave to a number is proving to be quite liberating.  I will weigh myself next week and then I hope to only weigh myself weekly. My hope is that I will view the number that stares back at me with less emotion and angst.  I want to shift my goals away from a number to something else-maybe a long distance run or a certain number of push-ups.

So what to do next?  I have several habits I want to incorporate but seeing as I have spent the last 2 weeks at home getting things somewhat tidied up and organized, I thought maybe I should continue with that. 

I have always found it particularly challenging to stay organized.   I am always losing things-my keys, my wallet, my sweater (I probably have close to 10 black cardigans because I keep misplacing one and then buying another one).  My husband, on the other hand, is very meticulous about putting things away and keeping things uncluttered.  I watch the calmness he exudes and long for it.  I never see him frantically looking for his keys as he leaves the house, or for his favorite pair of shoes as he gets dressed.  I want to be more like that. 

So, I am going to take 10 minutes every day to try to put things away.  This means cleaning up my closet, putting my keys where they belong, filing the mail and generally decluttering.  

But I think there is more to being organized than just the act of tidying up.  There has to be a certain consciousness about it.  I watch my husband and how he puts things away with care.  He doesn’t throw his wallet on the kitchen table and then look for it, as it becomes buried under papers and knapsacks.  He makes it a point to put it where it belongs, in the space he has chosen for it.  I want to be like that.  I want it to come naturally. 

I am not sure if I will be able to be as well organized as he is.  He is a different breed than I am.  You know how they say opposites attract?  I think we are the flagship couple for that cliché.  My brain is wired differently than his.  My hope is that I will still be able to change my patterns a little bit by adding some consciousness to my everyday actions.  Afterall, that’s what this whole 20 habits in 60 weeks thing is about right? 

So here I go, into 2014 with my first new habit of the year.  53 weeks and 15 habits left to building my better life by 40.