I realized that I do not appreciate outside restraints on my time. I am a creative and only want to do things that fuel that energy and allow me to release it.
So, I have started a new ‘Personal Growth’ 25 question exercise. As I journey through a question a day, I will share some of my findings (not all) and let you know if I feel that I have grown as a person, mother, friend, teacher, etc. I usually just pin these things and never review but, I feel that 2017 is getting stagnant and something needs to be done. There is some action required on my part.
The first question was “What does your ideal day look like?” Of course, the answer started off with waking up refreshed and energized. As a person who is always tired and always busy, I have been focusing more on how to save my energy and live a more minimalistic lifestyle. From the waking up part, most of my day consisted of just doing things on my “own time”. There were some things that I am required to do as a responsible parent but for the most part, my day was made up of writing, creating, meditating, reading, and smoothies (and of course a coffee). There was very little to no house cleaning, although I do want a very clean house but in my ideal world my kids are at school most of the day, I am working from the nearest coffeehouse, and on the weekends we are out exploring the world–so no messy house.
What did I realize? I realized that I do not appreciate outside restraints on my time. I am a creative and only want to do things that fuel that energy and allow me to release it. I also realized that most of my ‘ideal’ tasks were solitary and that makes me very happy and the only time that I did not want to spend solitary time was when I was with my kids. I guess this makes me an introvert in a way.
The cruel reality is that my daily life looks nothing like this which is why I may be so tired, stressed, and irritable. This can sometimes seep into my interactions with my children for which I am not proud. I am only human but, the wisdom that has come from this exercise, is that taking care of self and living your most authentic life is good for everyone involved.
Day one of the (25) Question A Day Personal Growth Challenge done!!
I have been “snowed-in” for the past few days and have completed a lot of homework for my new graduate degree that I’m working on. I have also pinned a lot on Pinterest. In keeping this post short, I was able to sit down with my daughter and go through these pictures and ask her thoughts on what she saw. This was a very enlightening moment as she realized that the world was actually as big as she was being told. Kids are so visual and no matter how many reports they have to write on globalization and multiculturalism, it always hits home when they get to “see” it. The best is when they can experience. I wanted to share with you what I shared with her from a site called distractify.com.
Today I just want to vent a little. For the past several years I have been trying to do big things and open doors for myself to new opportunities. I have gone to trainings, received degrees, taken on more responsibility, let others know what I want and everything else positive that would set me up for success. The issue is that every door that has been closed has stayed closed. I have received so many rejection emails (none in regards to my writing) that it would make the average person give up. But, now it is year six and still no bite. I am getting antsy because bills are piling up, I have children to take care of, and the income is not meeting the demand. I am working multiple jobs where I am so tired that I just cannot bring myself to write.
Well, no longer! What I have been doing is following an agenda that is not aligned with my passion and purpose. As a single parent, I am thinking about affording college, daycare, rent, utilities, groceries, car, etc. The epiphany has come to me many times before but has rung more clear today than it ever has. Follow my passion. Follow my purpose. And at least if I still continue to struggle, I will be a lot happier knowing that I tried and did something I loved.
I am by no means a quitter. But, I am wearing myself thin. I rarely have time with my children trying to make enough to support them and I am still coming up short. I am writer and motivator. I want to help other single parents and write for a living. I want to help society as a whole by those means. Whether or not it becomes lucrative is of no concern to me. I want to live with no regrets.
I regret the amount of time that I have already lost away from my children. I regret running myself into the ground and not focusing on my health and multiple sclerosis trying to take on extra assignments that aren’t recognized nor appreciated. It is time to live for me and my family.
I hear a lot of my friends questioning their purpose and current situations. I hear a lot of regret. I guess the question we end up asking ourselves or should ask ourselves is “what legacy do I want to leave behind?”
When I think of my mother, I think of a strong woman whom worked hard all of her life until she retired on disability. This is the same woman who had two children early in life and then was surprised by another (myself) in her late thirties. Needless to say there was a lot of adjusting that needed to take place. With an 18 year gap between myself and my sister and a 20 year gap between myself and my brother, my mother and I have always struggled to bond as she wasn’t used to children any longer.
Now don’t get me wrong, she was the best mother she could be but, she, herself had grown up with a mother whom did not show love in the emotional sense, but through her ability to provide for and take care of her kids. The emotional piece had been missing for generations. I’m sure the fact that my grandmother growing up in the south and experiencing racism to an extent that I never had probably contributed to the hard demeanor that she presented. I am also sure that that was passed on to my own mother.
Now, as a parent myself I find it easy to show affection to my children while they are young but not so much as they get older; please do not beat me up for saying this. I currently have a 13 year old whom is going through her own hormonal changes and in need of emotional support of which I am not familiar except by the examples set forth in the family sitcoms I watched growing up.
I am thankful that I noticed my waning emotional support immediately (thanks to being a teacher and experiencing it firsthand with my students and their parents) because I was able to dig deep and surface the source and then research ways to remedy it.
I am happy to say that it is possible to break generational strongholds. I believe in purposeful parenting because you can never get back the years lost with your children but you can make a significant change for the better at any stage that will positively impact their lives. I am constantly searching for opportunities and creating opportunities to provide that emotional support to my daughter. I can’t say that I am an expert or that I am doing it correctly, but I am trying.
Purchased Groupons to brunch in the city for just her and I
We read a good book together or talk about whatever she wants to freely
We have created traditions that are unique to us and will be different for myself and her brother once he gets older
I purchased a devotional geared towards mothers and daughters to read with her every night
I do not allow electronics at the breakfast/dinner table to allow for conversation between her and myself
I have recently looked up more volunteer opportunities that we can do together
I am constantly looking for ways to create the emotional support that she needs as it is vital to her self-esteem and self-awareness. Recently, I read a book called How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and my goal is to fill her bucket daily with positivity. I recommend reading this book and also StrengthsFinder 2.0. Just because something has been a certain way in your family for generations doesn’t mean that it can’t stop with you (and I am referring to something negative). You must proclaim that it will be different for you and yours. Purposefully parent!
On this journey towards better health and implementing a healthier lifestyle change, I have come across a wealth of information, great recipes, and inspiration. Mostly, I am able to find the answers to my questions through simple Google searches but more often than not I have found the gamut of my recipes and inspiration from two phenomenal sources: Pinterest and heyfranhey.com, the latter being a tumbler account which has now become an addiction for me. Every morning and every night (and most times throughout the day), I visit these sites in hopes to recharge my strength and revive my passion in the direction of a healthier and freer lifestyle. Please visit my board; live longer be stronger to see my pins of great smoothie recipes, food recipes, exercises, and inspiration. Below, I have listed a few smoothie recipes that you may like.
I also like carrots and mango juiced. Notice I did not put amounts next to the fruits because everyone likes their smoothies a different way. I love more green vegetables than fruit.
It is important as a parent and especially a single parent (being that your child only has one parent o depend on) to keep you healthy. We need to be around for our children and in the best health possible. In addition to juicing and making smoothies, I have purchased Groupons for kickboxing and yoga. I will update you on my experience for each. Until next time be happy and healthy.
Notice how the words in the first part of the title begin with uppercase letters until the end? That is how I feel about jogging which I have been contemplating for the past 6 months (it’s really been a year but that sounds pitiful). There is something that keeps telling me to go out there and do it but for some reason I can come up with every excuse in the world. Here are some of the runners-up:
1. I will look like a fool
2. I will have an asthma attack ( haven’t had one since kindergarten)
3. I am deathly afraid of wildlife (I am originally from NYC so all animals are considered wildlife) especially deer, raccoons, foxes, snakes, possums, etc
4. I do not have the right gear nor can I afford it at the present time
And the grand prize winner of all my excuses:
It’s bad on the knees (this is the only one that is supported by some scientific research…i think)
Anyway at some point, and it has to be soon because I have been eating a lot better and trying to make my health my priority, I will have to try it. And by try, I mean actually commit to a running routine for at least a few months (hopefully it will turn into a lifestyle change). I have seen the benefits in some of my close friends and co-workers. They dropped a lot of weight and handle stress a lot better. They also are eating healthy and feel sick when they can’t run/jog (at first I rolled my eyes when they said this).
So, I will let you know how this pans out and when I actually start. I’ve decided to try the couch-to-5K program and continue to eat healthy. My goal is to be healthy, lose weight, stress less, and live long.
Below is a picture of how I think I will look and then one of how I would like to look: