February 15, 2010

More Than a Nudge

I've been feeling pretty down lately. I have a job I like, which is great, and I'm very thankful for it. But I'm at the office nine hours a day which leaves little time to do things I like when I get home. So I decided to really think about what I like to do, to use my time wisely.

Ah, there's the dilemma; I couldn't think of anything! No, really. Part of it is because things I like to do are outdoors, which in Wisconsin are NOT happening in mid February!

But instead of giving up on the search, I decided to give myself a bigger push, a bigger dig to figure it out. Sometimes things need a big push to make their presence known. I'm not just talking pregnancy, but that's a start! Flower bulbs, like daffodils, tulips and hyacinth, have to push and push to make their way out of the ground and into the sunshine. Baby chicks have to peck away at the shell to break out.

Me, I tend to give up easily. But not this time. After pushing myself to do so, here's a short list of things making me happy and keeping me sane throughout the blustery winter months:

1. Sewing.

I didn't start my little butterbean label just to make money! That would be ridiculous, because it's a lot bigger initial investment than you get in revenue right away. I really wanted to do it because I genuinely enjoy sewing, putting together patterns and colors, making sweet toys for babies - because I love babies, too.

Sewing relaxes me (now that I have an awesome sewing machine!) and keeps my mind working on creative ideas instead of worrying about something else. It forces me to concentrate on making straight lines, cutting correct sizes and achieving good craftsmanship. And the end result is a whole bunch of fun items I can take pics of and advertise. Which brings me to...

2. My camera.

Like my sewing machine, I toiled away with a perfectly useful but absolutely no bells-and-whistles digital camera for a long time. It did the job, but with no flourish, no finesse, no sharpness. I always thought my memories would look cooler than they did, and finally realized it was the camera's problem, not mine!

Nic got me the Canon powershot for Christmas two years ago. It's got everything, it's great. I can't even describe what a joy it was to take "real" photos on it for the first time! Now I am trying to actually learn how to use the manual settings, which means having the discipline enough to study how the camera works. Maybe I'll even take a photography class through community ed. You know, put these liberal city-folk programs to good use. =)

3. Fashion.

I love living in jeans and t-shirts. BUT I have always been inspired by fashion and decided to incorporate more creativity into my office attire. I would much rather be "that girl who always dresses up" than that girl who looks the same every day. Some say your clothing is a reflection of your personality. So I'm a little schizo.. let me express it a positive way, through my clothes. I started a blog about it, too, but we'll see how diligent I am with it.

4. Working out.

It's a well-perpetuated myth that thin people don't need to exercise. Thin does not necessarily = healthy. I have always been grateful for my high metabolism and natural slimness, but let's face it I am not twenty anymore. My metabolism has slowed, and I definitely do not have muscle tone. How do I expect to raise a family if I can't raise a box over my head to put it away? Pathetic!

The deal with me is that I suffer from that normal old insecurity business that women are so susceptible to. I should say, I suffered from it. One day I realized that pushing myself in physical activity is only to my benefit and I should go for it as hard as I can. Right now you're saying "Duh!" but trust me this took a LONG time to sink in. "Will I look silly doing this or that? Will men at the gym be judging me?" These are the things that ran through my head, constantly restricting my ability to work myself, which lead to my physical weakness, which made me feel bad about my appearance! As do many things, this is so clear in hindsight. =)

Since that day I have worked out every day. I really do go for it and have found that, low and behold, I actually LIKE to work out. Physical results will come in time, but the great feeling of accomplishment makes it so worthwhile.

5. Cooking.

Since starting the job four months ago, I had been slacking with my culinary ventures. Somehow my time seemed to slip away and before I knew it I had no dinner made at 8 o'clock. Well, that simply will not do in a household where one member basically comes home to refuel, then leaves for more studying for the rest of the night. Can't get much more studying in if the meal isn't until 10 pm!

Accompanying my new workout regimen is a diet to support my internal health. We already eat a restricted diet (no wheat or gluten) but I needed to make some changes with reducing sugar. I'm a sugar fiend, and would put it in, on or around everything. Changing to a lower GI diet has jump-started my cooking, however, since I'm making tons of things I've never made before. I'm even sometimes shopping at - gasp! - Whole Foods for great produce I can't get elsewhere.

All these changes have produced in me a happier, more energetic, vibrant spirit. I have a renewed interest in spiritual things because I'm not so focused on worrying about myself and my problems (although they are still there). I don't get sleepy during the day, or bored, because there's always something new to do. Maybe the best part of all these activities? None of them are using the laptop! [Sorry, laptop that had to type that for me!] During the day I can read news and what not on the computer, and at home I can simply live.

What are you doing to beat the winter blahs?


Parisienne Farmgirl said...

AHHHH!! This was so inspiring!!!! How honest and motivating! Feeling a little soft in the muscle department myself since the pregnancy...counting the days til I can resume the sweat routing...23 to be exact.
Hoping you will post more of your photography and some of those creative outfits.

Bonjour Madame said...

You actually sound like you have it together. I like your approach. Have you thought of sewing some of your clothes? Since you like fashion and sewing, maybe it would be fun?

Victoria said...

Ang, I am working on those outfits and trying to get the photos down. My biggest problem is NO backgrounds. Like, none. =( Any suggestions? Maybe I should go to public places and have someone snap them of me? That'd be fun...

I definitely should sew some clothes. Combine two fun things - I love it! I've actually never completely sewed from a pattern. Ahh, another challenge. ;)


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