Ok, this is my first blog, so hang with me for a bit. I decided to start this blog because I have been implementing some changes in myself and around my house, and I thought it might be nice to chronicle some of it. Maybe it might inspire others to do the same, or create discussions and variations I hadn’t thought of.
First, let me start this by saying that I have the best, most patient husband in the world. I remember once my mother told me that I was a hard person to love, and I think she might be right. Yet I did manage to find someone who does love me and I love him more than anything (except perhaps my kids. Mothers.. you understand).
Anyway, my husband, Michael, and I have our problems, like every other married couple. I am fond of using the term “reciprocal effort”, and define that to mean: if you want me to keep doing things for you, like baking the bread you like, and biscuits on Sunday morning, or keeping the laundry going, etc., then you need to do the things you say your going to do, such as fix the random household malfunctions and help keep the house from sinking into the ground.
After three years of living together, I realized that the lawn wasn’t going to mow itself, and I better figure out quick how to operate a 20 ton jack. I was frustrated with how my life was going and the stress of not having enough money to make ends meet, and a house that was falling apart with no one fixing it was too much. I was so angry all the time and it was effecting everything.
Around this same time I had also decided that being overweight (clinically obese) was not helping my attitude toward life and I needed something to focus on that could help me be a more positive person. On top of that, Diabetes runs in my family and I didn’t want to have to deal with that, too. On March 13th, I once again entered the “diet zone”. This went over well and Michael (as always) was fully supportive of my efforts, despite my foul temperament toward him on most days. I started off on the South Beach diet to kick things off for about a month, and then started to incorporate some exercise into my routine.
Over easter break, I noticed, once again, that the kids were watching way to much TV via netflix. I already don’t have regular TV as I can’t stand the idea of paying for commercials and channels I am not using or wanting. Netflix is a great account for watching only what you want and it lets you know exactly what people are watching and for how long. Now, I also watch way too much TV and this is counter intuitive to my new life changes of losing weight and home improvement. Since I am on this new “betterment” kick, I did a little experiment. I shut the netflix off for 1 month to see what would happen- mostly to see if I ended up in a shivering huddle on the floor do to TV withdrawal! That didn’t happen however.
What did happen was I suddenly found things to do. I picked up my crocheting again, riding bikes on the weekend, and mostly – yard work. I remember coming home one day after having worked myself into a furry over something Michael had done. I stomped through the house having a general old temper tantrum, and out into the back yard. Once I got the broken lawnmower working, I mowed for an hour! Yes, it was spring and we have nothing but weeds that grow 4 feet tall! We also have a very large yard so this hour of yard work only took care of about ¼ the back yard. I vented and I swore and I fumed and I worked my butt off.
I also burned over 500 calories… hmmm… wait… there might be something to this yard work thing. Not only did I get my yard started toward something I could invite the neighbors or family over to enjoy, but I got some good exercise toward my weight loss. Imagine that, do work, lose weight. huh… was it really as easy as everyone has been saying?
Another side effect of turning the TV off in my house… I have nothing to distract me from my thoughts, to numb me from my daily fears and desires. Ultimately, Michael and I ended up in a confrontation over all the things that were making me frustrated and anxious and causing me to be so unhappy. Turning the TV off was the best thing I have done for my relationship so far… And things are getting done! For one thing, he is opperating that 20 ton jack I mentioned earlier, so now I don’t have to learn how! 🙂 My house isn’t going to fall to the ground anymore.
It took me about 6 days to get the entire backyard mowed so we can use it comfortably again. I replanted my flower bed (which I had let die two years ago do to lack of motivation or will power). We now spend at least 2 nights per week at our outdoor fire pit roasting marshmallows with the kids instead of inside watching TV. We are planning a family get together, and I am looking forward to inviting our friends over for a BBQ.
I can’t remember when I have felt so sustainably happy in my adult life. Things still frustrate me, but I can look at them as minor compared to what I have accomplished for myself and our home. If the dishes aren’t done, I just do them. I can only work on me. What I want for our life and my home, may not be the same as what everyone else wants. And in the end, I have to take charge of my own happiness and not hide from the disappointments and frustrations with mind numbing distractions.
So far, I have lost 22 pounds. I now have my FRONT yard mowed, plants planted, ugly bushes cut back waiting to get pulled out (that was another few hundred calories chopping those puppies back, let me tell you!), and am working on maintenance of the yard.
Next big yard project…. Veggie garden is full of two years worth of weeds. That should keep me busy for a few days. 🙂