One Thing At A Time.

Today is one of those mornings where, even with my beautifully marked bullet journal, I’m overwhelmed by what all has to be done so I just wander around my house aimlessly carrying around one sock and constantly in search of my coffee mug.

You ever have those mornings?

I really did carry one sock around from room to room this morning…this is not some weird metaphor. I found it in the hall and was trying to pick up/put up stuff and it just ended up going with me everywhere and I never deposited it in any dirty clothes pile because it just became a part of my body and I kinda forgot I was even holding it. Then I went to make my coffee and it was there…in my hand. So, I put it on the counter, made my coffee, then picked it back up again like it was a newborn needing constant attention.

And right now? The sock is next to me at my computer and I can’t remember where I put my coffee cup.

These mornings, when I’m snowballing down a hill in a frenzied panic, I’m trying to remind myself to stop…and BREATHE. A new friend just last night was talking about the importance of breathing. My mantra for today (which I’ve already forgotten, obviously) is supposed to be ONE THING AT A TIME. I am not accruing extra years in my life by doing several tasks simultaneously. I don’t win a prize for having a sewing project on my passenger seat to tend to when I’m stuck in horrible traffic. (Which I normally avoid by leaving early but got stuck in yesterday due to a Donnie’s crazy morning.) I didn’t gain another year of peace by sewing that at a red light. ONE THING AT A TIME.

So. I’m going to stand up, put the sock where it belongs, and then look for my coffee cup. Then I’m going to pack lunches and I’m not going to try to watch a TV show simultaneously. Then I’m going to drive to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things, then go to the recyclery, then go to work. I’m going not have anything within hand’s reach to grab if I get stuck in traffic. I’ll have my podcast going or NPR on, and THAT IS IT. ONE THING AT A TIME. I’m not going to carry toys to the playroom on the way to the bathroom. I’m not going to fold laundry while eating dinner.

Now, I know there are studies showing how ineffective multi-tasking is, but when I talk about multi-tasking, I really mean single-tasking…EFFICIENTLY. Like, while I’m waiting for the Keurig to brew my coffee, I’m doing dishes. I call that multi-tasking, because I’m doing TWO THINGS in the amount of time it takes me to do ONE THING (make a cup of coffee) but at no moment am I actually doing TWO THINGS simultaneously.

And my kind of multi-tasking? CAN BE EFFECTIVE.

But I’m trying to stop that shit because those few seconds I preserved by washing dishes while waiting for coffee just keep my mind in that frantic WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NEXT mode and I don’t like that mode. It makes me a little frazzled and tense. I want to sit and breathe while the coffee is brewing. ONE THING AT A TIME.

But I’m TERRIBLE at it. While writing this entry I actually BREWED A CUP OF COFFEE but instead of just waiting and savoring the moment of peace during the 60 seconds it took to brew, I CAME BACK TO MY LAPTOP TO TYPE.


Here’s to staying out of that frenzied GO! GO! GO! mode, even if I don’t do quite as much in a window of time, I’m hoping my spirit will be in a better place because of it.


Another “Kim Is Too Sensitive” Post.

Okay. I’ve been thinking on something for awhile. For a REALLY long while. Like, since I found myself really upset at the existence of a website called “People of Wal-Mart”. THAT’S how long I’ve been thinking about this. THAT WEBSITE IS OLD, YO. I mean, not Geocities or Ask Jeeves old, but you know…old enough to prove that I’ve been mulling this topic around in my head longer than the 30 minutes I’ve been awake this morning. Which is more than I can guarantee for most days in November.

Here’s the topic: Is There Ever A Time Where Humor At The Expense Of Others Creates A Net Gain Of Good/Positive Energy?

I say “net” because I always want to factor in the expense of the person (people) who is (are) being made fun of.

Let’s start simple:

If George posts a picture of someone at his kid’s recital wearing a white tanktop and baggy jeans and is all, “Look at this classy guy at my kid’s recital!” on Facebook then you would assume the GAIN would be that it makes all of George’s Facebook friends laugh and that creates a nice positive energy in each of their lives. BUT – what if that guy happens to be the brother of one of George’s Facebook friends? And that FB friend obviously does NOT laugh because that’s her brother George is making fun of. And then what if she’s shows it to George? Then I think the hurt she and George feel would totally overpower the small momentary laughs the joke gave George’s Facebook friends.

“But no one knew the guy, so therefore there was never a negative! And it was just in good humor!”

I once brought this up with a friend YEARS ago who shared out a photo of someone at an event with a terrible outfit. And she said something about how if you wear something like that, you know you’re going to get made fun of, that’s why you wear it.

And I don’t know…maybe?

Sometimes I think my history of being made fun of in summer camp for things like only having enough outfits to make it through 4 days that week, meaning I had to duplicate some stuff, has scarred me and made me a little too sensitive to this topic. But whenever I see someone making fun of a stranger, it triggers this very intense hurt inside of me. And some days I’m like, “Kim. This is SO DUMB. QUIT LETTING THIS STUFF BOTHER YOU.” But then other days I’m all, “Yeah – but what if that person doesn’t realize that those kind of words might hurt someone? What if me bringing that up could shed some light on it from a different angle?”

I also got made fun of once for TRYING to replicate a cool outfit someone else wore at summer camp and not only A) did I fail miserably but B) the same jerkface who led all of the bully-Kim brigades specifically called out the fact that it was OBVIOUS I was trying to copy that other girl. So, not only were they making fun of my outfit, but they were mocking me for having the NERVE to try to do something a cool girl was doing.

SO, YEAH. I might be overly sensitive.

But I watch movies and comedians and nightly talk shows that make fun of people and I laugh, so it’s not like I’m perfectly immune to laughing at the expense of others. So I’ve decided lately to really analyze what makes me laugh. And if – in that moment – it’s a laugh at the expense of someone else who might be hurt if they knew I was laughing, then I want to really examine that. Did that joke make enough people laugh, and maybe be the kind of joke that wouldn’t really upset someone (like when people make fun of me for being a klutz – I own that), then maybe then it’s okay?

Or maybe is it okay when it’s in the comfort of your own home and you KNOW the person won’t find out? But then…does that create just a negative energy anyway? I’ve been in small circles where someone gets mocked and sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable even if that person is no where around. Mainly because suddenly I worry: If I’m not around am I the butt of the jokes?

But really – maybe the problem is probably always me. Maybe no one in the world would be devastated to find out a picture of them at their kid’s recital in a trash outfit was being made fun of somewhere. Maybe some people would just be like Eh. I don’t care. I do me and I don’t care what anyone thinks. Maybe I’m the only one who has PTSD from summer day care and who immediately wants to cry on behave of anyone who is the butt of anyone else’s jokes…ESPECIALLY when there’s clothing involved. The “make fun of their outfit” thing is the worst trigger because SOME PEOPLE ARE BEING RAISED BY DADS WHO DON’T LIKE SHOPPING. JEEZUS. Give them a break.


I don’t know. Do you think people like me just need a thicker skin? Is there even a way to do “humor” without sacrificing someone’s feelings? I personally like to make people laugh making fun of myself, but is there a way to create a form of comedy that doesn’t make fun of SOMEONE? Or do you think maybe the world would be better overall if we stopped laughing at other’s expense, no matter what that meant on our humor landscape? I feel like Ellen Degeneres does a good job with making jokes at her staff’s expense but they’re always in on it and you can see it’s done from a place of love. Maybe that’s where it works?

Truthfully. It probably will always boil down to: Kim is too sensitive and carries too much baggage from summer daycare. And I’m okay with that, I think. Because regardless of what humanity should or should not be doing, I can at least rest easy that no one is going to read a status I post making fun of someone and get their feelings hurt by it.


Fulfilling The Potential

I was listening to the Nerdist podcast yesterday (How many of my entries start like that? What can I say? He interviews some great people.) and he was interviewing Ron Howard and he was discussing his creed and work ethics and he discussed the idea of “fulfilling the potential” of any given project and IT BLEW MY MIND.

I’ve spent the last day really thinking about this idea. Whether it’s a work task or a moment with the kids…I’m trying to think about what the potential is in that moment. It was hard yesterday because I was functioning on 4 hours sleep, but I did try to think about it when I wasn’t fuzzy from sleep deprivation.

I had about an hour of time yesterday between work and soccer and I was really having trouble with a lack of sleep and I thought to myself, “How do I fulfill the potential of this hour?”

And I took a nap.

Because the truth was, I was useless and foggy and unable to really focus on anything important because I was SO TIRED. So, while “potential” could be defined by accomplishments or tasks completed, I chose to interpret it as: BEST USE OF TIME IN THIS MOMENT. And that moment? Was a nap. AND IT WAS GREAT.

There’s a lot going around now about how we tend to use “busy” and “exhaustion” as badges of honor or even signs of success. The first article I read about this hit me SO HARD because I am SO BAD about that. So yesterday, in that moment? I decided the badge of honor was to be rested. Not to brag about minimal sleep like it made me somehow better. No. I took a nap on a Thursday evening. AND I AM PROUD OF THAT NAP.

I fulfilled the shit out of the potential of that nap.

I really like the idea of figuring out the true potential of something and trying to maximize that potential. But there are a lot of different kinds of potential.

Wesley woke up with leg cramps last night. He doesn’t wake up as often but I got up, gave him a bath and some ibuprofen and then crawled back in bed with him rub his foot to get him back to sleep. I thought about the potential of those moments and I tried to give him more love and affection instead of groggy irritation that usually rolls out of me in those moments. Groggy irritation just makes him feel guilty, but love and affection helps him fall back asleep without the burden of guilt in his heart.

I’m going to be thinking about this one for awhile. It’s such a simple concept, but I feel like it can shape moments…and days and weeks and years…in a much more deliberate fashion. Which is something I’m really trying to be: More deliberate.

Thank you Ron Howard. For this and for the movie: Splash. It’s still my fave.



Scheduling Time To Reflect

I remember when I first started boot camp in 2010 that I realized the reason why it was so good for me, is that it was pre-scheduled exercise time. Something about my personality holds to something better if it’s scheduled. Same thing goes with how I kinda failed at my efforts to become a runner in 2006-7 but not in 2011, because in 2011 I did it with a group that had a schedule I had to stick with. Saturdays, Tuesdays, Thursdays. Boom. I got all of my runs in no problem.

And it doesn’t have to be someone else’s created schedule, it turns out. I think this is also why I’ve been doing my weekday runs more religiously this year. They’ve become part of my morning schedule/routine. So much so that, even if I’ve got a “rest day,” I have to convince myself it’s okay to disrupt the schedule and NOT do my morning weekday run. It was easy to convince myself yesterday because I was sore, but it’s not always easy.

SO…all of that brings me to this idea: How do I make time to reflect into part of my daily schedule or routine?

I am an introspective person. I always liked church because it was this organized ritual allowing for reflection. I found myself even attending some weekday services before school in high school, just because that quiet time just refreshed me. I loved prayer time because it was designated to for me to quietly consider how to do better, to be better. And those types of reflection are all things I still love to do, even though I’m no longer a believer. Blogging gives me a little bit of that, allows some catharsis as I parse through ideas…but it’s still something active which is a little counterintuitive to reflection.

I find myself doing it sometimes on trail runs, but part of me is always also focused on not breaking my neck, so my meditation is not always getting my undivided attention. I’ve tried scheduling meditation time in the mornings, but that’s not working. It doesn’t seem to fill my need to “reflect” because – like many people who need meditation, I can’t quite do it because I’m always so stressed about whether I’m doing it right. (I KNOW. I’M THE WORSE.)

The closest I’ve come is with my doodling and my bullet journaling. Doodling is nice because, once I kinda commit to the next set of patterns, I can zone out and color allowing enough of my mind to remain clear enough to reflect. Planning in my bullet journal is interesting because it’s such a chronicle of my day, that it is just the perfect stimulus for reflection. On days where I can really sit down with my bullet journal and plan, or document, or doodle…those days seem to be the best all around days because I’ve done some solid reflecting, even if that wasn’t my intention when I opened up the notebook and broke out the pens.

I just need to figure out how to schedule that into my day. I’ve been trying to put it in my “morning” routine but it feels like such a crammed pack routine already and I refuse to get up any earlier than 3am! I’ve had a few nights where I’ve brought the supplies into bed and kinda made that a “pre-bedtime” routine, but now that I have a book to read, that’s not always what I grab for that “pre-bedtime” part of my day.

What I need is a church where that has a giant sanctuary with stained glass (it’s my jam), but where I don’t have to believe, I can just bring my bullet journal supplies and plan and color and reflect. I have actually considered popping in on a mass someday, but I’m concretely not there for religion, I’m just there for reflection…so it feels a little like cheating and a lot like manipulating something important to the people around me, simply for my own gain.

“Hi. I don’t believe in anything this church teaches as it relates to God or the Bible or Sin or Salvation or Afterlife…BUT!…I really like the atmosphere for reflection. I’m just going to sit here in the back with my pens and my notebook and soak up the energy while I reflect on how to be a better person outside the dogma you’re teaching.

Is that okay?”

During my last pregnancy (the one that ended in my final miscarriage in 2012) I was very anxious (as I always was with pregnancies) so I found myself going to one of those paint-and-drink classes as a way to center myself. (I didn’t drink! I promise!) I think I painted four paintings during that short-lived pregnancy, and those classes are like $35 a pop! But I found it was really handy – not because I was doing it as a social outing like so many other people – but because it was quiet reflection time. If those classes weren’t expensive I’d probably put those into my routine. And I can’t just sit down and paint because the act of TRYING to figure out what/how to paint is counterintuitive to reflection…but someone telling me what to do and me just doing it seemed to be the perfect formula.

Do you have quiet reflection time built into your day? Do you think I just need to make it a priority and set aside time like I do with running? Or is it better to just be in tune with my spiritual needs and when I need time to step away and reflect – just do it then? Somedays I really feel a pull to find a quiet corner to just color…but rarely am I able to do that. So maybe the trick to really effective centering is to do it when my soul seems to call out for it?



There Are So Many Kinds Of Wagons.

As I have contributed tons of content to me “A Better Me” category on this blog over the years, I’ve learned one thing: There Are A Lot Of Wagons.

I mean this in the way that addicts, specifically alcoholics, reference wagons. You know, “falling off the wagon” indicates that you’ve had a falter in your sobriety. I’ve always felt like the proper way to address a lot of my issues (especially the stress-binging one) is to look at them like addictions, but as I start getting many of parts of my life on track I find myself thinking about the term “falling off the wagon” often.

I’ve given up Diet Coke. I’ve stopped binge eating. I’ve gotten on a good exercise program. I’ve stopped yelling at my kids. I’ve stayed present in my days. I’ve been mindful. I’ve spread joy.

I’ve done all of this at least a dozen times. And then I’ve stopped doing each of those things at least a dozen more times.

And every time I fall of the wagon – whichever one it is – and it takes me a long time to even find the damn wagon on the road again, much less climb back up.

I’ve been in a good place lately, but I feel like every day I’m repeating the mantra: One Day At A Time. I can tell you specifically that last Monday I almost fell off ALL OF THE WAGONS. But a reset and a run with a friend who was also struggling…all of that helped keep me on.

Wesley’s back in a not-so-great phase again. We’re not spitting on me but he’s had a few meltdowns that involved hitting and I’m really focusing on being deliberate and consistent with my messages to him. It’s exhausting but I know it’s necessary. I have to control my temper if I’m going to teach him to control his.

I’m working on my martyr syndrome. I handle a lot of the domestic responsibilities in our house, but I tend to fall into a trap where I sometimes do it with bitterness because I want recognition when no one actually asked me to do it. I want the “we are so lucky to have a Mom/Wife who works so hard!” attitude every day, but I’m not going to get it. So I need to learn to do those tasks with joy in my heart, or I need to mandate a division of labor. I’ve gotten better about both parts of that, I do more with joy, but I also ask for help periodically.

The eating/training has been on track for awhile, and that feels great.

I’m doing better at time management, especially at the end of the day when my brain is fried. Most days after work I want to cook the simplest dinner and then veg out in some way or another. But yesterday? I cooked stuffed peppers, did housework, got everyone to soccer, and then came home and got my stuff ready for this morning.

SO DO YOU SEE? I’m riding a lot of wagons lately. AND IT FEELS GREAT. But it also keeps me very aware of how easy it is to fall off and how hard it is to get back on. I feel like I’ve been struggling for a year to even get on ONE wagon, much less several at once.

I think of the fake Mad-Eye Moody often. “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” One day at a time. I can’t think about staying on all of these wagons forever, the task is too daunting because I can see how bumpy the road is ahead of me. BUT. I can think about staying on them today. And if I fall off one, it’s easier to climb back on if I’m still on the others. I can’t let myself get discouraged when one part of my life falters and throw the rest down the crapper. If I fall off one, I try to stay on the others while I climb back on. And then I commend myself for climbing back on every time I fall.