Most years, I make a resolution. Or at least more of an intention. I’m generally happy with my life, but I’ll try to tweak things in certain areas. I’ve been thinking about 2020 and what keeps coming to mind for me is the Sabbath. Creating Sabbath within my own life.
As a secular person, I do feel a bit weird about adopting a religious tradition outside of context. But I honestly think people with formal structured Sabbath are probably happier that those without. A forced rest – time for relaxation, away from the never-ending to-do list.
So what would I want a secular sabbath to look like:
- clear starting and ending points
- without my phone (I’ve been thinking about getting a sabbath-specific dumbphone so I can see people but not use the internet)
- a delicious activity: a meal with friends, a massage, a long shower with wine – something that nourishes
I want to some more reading on this…looking at this and this
I’ve been working from home a lot lately and have been very much enjoying it. I get to have a walking commute for daycare drop-off, go grocery shopping on my way home when the stores are empty, and look out onto trees while I work. I work all morning using my lightbox and get to stand up and walk around a lot.
I also love making a meal. Instead of taking 15 minutes to go to Sweetgreen and drop $15 on a salad, I’ve been making a giant mushroom, spinach, goat cheese omelet every day. I get to make my own delicious hazelnut iced coffee and drink it from a reusable cup with a stainless steel straw.
And instead of having 15-minute breaks between meetings when I only have time to refresh wapo.com, I get to wash a set of dishes or go put laundry in the washer, or chop some veggies.
And the focused work! I get to turn my email off and…work. Perfect working environment, good mindset, productive super focus.
This contrasts now to days when I am in the office and it is run, run. run all day but often without any real work to show for it.
I have been wanting to write for a long time, but haven’t prioritized it. Life has been good. R and I are both back at work but it has been better than I thought it would be. I have become a drop-off pro, greatly facilitated by the fact that I work from home three days a week. MG is insanely cute, crawling around like a maniac and with very clear preferences. The whole world is her oyster.
I’ve been thinking a bit about the holidays and new traditions. I have a real aversion to traveling anywhere with MG. I firmly think travel is not for the baby, but for the parents (though in our case, mostly an obligation). Babies I think, at least our baby, really like sleeping in their own crib, being the masters of their own place, and spending a lot of time with people they like and know. With Thanksgiving coming up, I am very, very tempted to just bail and do what we want instead. There is something interesting to me about how grandparents (who are retired) get to be visited instead of visit, while working people with families have to cram that into already limited time off. Wow, how crotchety do I sound? I guess I have a sense that it’s not worth spending free time out of obligation. I’ve been very into the simpler life – a life where a good Saturday is making a delicious soup and eating it with bread and friends and taking a walk and watching The Americans while the baby naps. That to me, right now, is much more nourishing that going to check out the new MoMA or taking the train anywhere.
I haven’t done a formal monthly review since January 2019, but I was in the mood to restart. Something about fall back-to-school nostalgia maybe, or starting a new month where both R and I are working full-time.
1. What went well this month?
- Phone foyer! I heard this funny phrase to describe exactly what R and I have been doing. MG is creepily obsessed with our phones, so we’ve been leaving them in our mudroom. If you want to use your phone between 4-8 pm, you have to use it in there where she can’t see you. It’s been really nice actually in terms of making the rest of our house a phone-free space.
2. What didn’t go so well this month?
- Meditation. I wasn’t able to go to our meditation group at all and really miss having a formal practice. I’d like to make more space for it in future months.
3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?
- Just rolling with the moment. Overall, I think it went great. It was a month where I didn’t really make plans in advance, and spent most nights after MG’s bedtime on the sofa lounging. But it did make me feel a little antsy. R and I used to spend a lot of nice time doing puzzles while listening to podcasts, or playing games and I feel like recently we’ve been a bit lazy about having nourishing downtime versus lazy downtime.
4. What am I working toward?
- A weekday morning routine. In November, I’ll be doing daycare drop-offs but will likely also keep working from home most days. I’m likely going to make a full post on this, but I’d like to make a new morning routine that sets me up well for the day.
- Productivity. So far at work, I’ve been able to leave work at 4 and avoid having a post-bedtime shift. I’d like to keep it up so when I get home from work, I’m totally available to play and connect with MG and R.
- Simplifying. I’ve just been really over stuff recently. I did a big clean of our mudroom and want to tackle our coat closet next. (Yes, I am blessed with storage space in my NYC apartment!). Clearing out junk has been very satisfying to me. But also simplifying in terms of how we are spending our time – embracing lazy days at home with soup on the stove.
Tomorrow starts October. A month where my partner turns 40 and has his last month of parental leave, MG starts daycare, and its Halloween and Diwali, back to back. It’s making me feel very pre-nostalgic. Fall is a very fresh start, back-to-school sense for me, but it increasingly makes me think of growing old and dying. Or, just dying. Who knows when? I often wear an extremely comfortable, enormous t-shirt to bed that says “this body will be a corpse.” It’s morbid but true (and no, I did not buy this shirt — it was given to me from a meditation center that was closing). I feel like MG is so fun and so much of a kid right now — like has clear thoughts and preferences, and you can actually communicate with her. At the same time, she’s such a cuddly, squishy, loving and loveable baby. I wish I could sort of pause this era of my life. I would not have said this even a month or two ago, but it makes me look forward to having another baby.
Often I try to commit to monthly goals, but this month, I want to just try embracing the messiness lovingly and mindfully. So I commit to loving presence and daily meditation practice, and lots of grace for myself and for others.
How funny. We are spending the weekend in NYC and I thought, I should write a blog to reflect on what would make a nice weekend. And that is 100% the topic of my last blog entry.
Friday — we have started a new tradition of having a post-bedtime Friday night date. We get takeout, set the table and light candles, and sometimes watch a show. We have been talking about watching the Americans and got someone to give us their Amazon pw so we could do so. So cozy evening in to be immediately preceded by bring MG by a local friend’s house for her game night.
Sat – I will go to the gym and deadlift 120 pounds. Slowly inching back towards normal weight. My front squat will be 75. The nice thing about lifting limited weight is that I’m in and out of the gym in 30 mins. Then I get to eat whatever I want the rest of the day. Hopefully, we’ll also take a walk and see some friends. Oh, and choose a nice recipe to cook for lunches this week.
Sunday – hopefully seeing some friends or maybe getting out of town?
Elements that would make for a good weekend:
- – de cluttering
- – cooking a new recipe
- – watching the Americans
- – completing my lifting workout and going to yoga
- some time alone in a coffee shop
We have not been spending many weekends in NYC recently. Often with the grandparents, and coming and going from CT. This was my first week of full-time work since February and there’s about to be a big rainstorm. I feel like in the “old days”, we would have a weekend full of plans for working out, eating out, lounging, running errands, etc. But it’s strange now having a weekend with the baby, especially in city. We go for a lot of walks, but MG is still young enough that there’s not too much you can do with her, especially if the weather is bad.
I signed up for a personal retreat weekend. The sort of deal where you can do whatever you want in your room or on the grounds, but all your meals are prepared and you don’t have access to technology. But the idea of it makes me feel sort of lonely. What I really want is time with R…but then, I miss MG when it is just the two of us!
There’s an interesting tension in my time now, always wanting what I don’t have and often wanting to be where I’m not.
So what would make it a good weekend? I’ll say…
- seeing friends
- working out
- having a hot shower
- making a meal
- playing with MG
- watching a TV show?!
Seems fairly doable.