Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 12 in 12 – half way through… almost

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Day 14 of this 2014 adventure and things are going along swimmingly. I have been following the baby steps like a trooper and it is most certainly making a big difference.

I wanted to start this year with the FLY lady because I was feeling overwhelmed by that chaos in our home and I need a good solid foundation for the rest of my year. It’s like breakfast for the soul.  I am a person who really needs routines and schedules in order to function at my best, it is just part of my make up, I am no good at loosey goosey, never have been and might as well face the fact that I never will be. I love a list and a schedule and a plan, it makes me very happy when those things all come together.  When the schedule goes away I get lost, I get frustrated and seriously overwhelmed. Currently in our home we have two “grown ups”, an 18 year old eating machine who hasn’t exactly mastered the art of cleaning up after himself, 3 cats all of whom have fur (little bastards!) and 2 dogs who have more stuff than I do.  When there is no plan this family spins out of control VERY quickly and it is not a pretty picture. Stuff gets piled EVERYWHERE. Dishes, socks, fur baby toys, paper just spread from one room to another. It is like the worst swarm a a D&D DM could throw at you! I get so overwhelmed that I freeze up, I don’t know where to start so… I don’t start. Hello snowball effect!

When I originally found the FLY Lady is was hopeless lost and it was really having a deep impact on my mental health. What I desperately wanted (other then the mess to magically go away) was for someone to take me by the hand and say “Do THIS! Then do this….” I am good at following orders but all I could find was giant master lists of things in a house that should be cleaned.   Then I stumbled on FLY Lady and started reading. She said “Do THIS one thing.  Then the next day do it again and add THIS!”  It was sincerely an answer to my prayers.  I have never been able to stick with it long term but I have come back to it many times and I am always really pleasantly surprised with the results. Within a few days there is a noticeable difference in our home, especially the kitchen. Part of this is because tidiness sort of breeds tidiness. When it is clean I feel inspired to keep going, I am not paralyzed by the task ahead.

Last night I was so happy with the state of the kitchen that I snapped this candid photo.  I didn’t stop to make any changes or clean up first (Which you can tell because the floor is un-swept) This was how it looked after dinner because I had space to cook and clean as I went.  It’s not perfect but a quest for perfection is what paralyzes me being with, I have to let go of perfection. I am not Martha Stewart and even she has a full team of people helping her up. My asshole cats NEVER pick up a broom.

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Happiness is a direction, not a place. ~Sydney J. Harris

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I don’t know what to say, so far 2014 has been nothing short of stellar. I was nervous about entering the last year of my thirties, I don’t know why it was so scary to me, I know that I am not my mother and her early death is not my fate, but it has had significant impact on my view of aging.

However when I passed the threshold from 38 to 39 I actually felt strangely serene and that feeling has stuck with me for the last week. I felt happier, more productive and more satisfied this week than I have in a long time. I have a plan, I am working on my baby steps, I have a goal to make our lives simpler, clearer, fuller but easier.

One of the promises I made was to live a more generous life. More generous with my time, my energy and my resources. To that end I decided to start my 39th year with an act of unselfishness.Because I don’t NEED anything and I want very little  I decided that rather than the traditional act of receiving gifts I would ask for my friends to bring me a donation for Feed Nova Scotia. Building on my idea Gil decided to also make two of our holiday dodge ball events into food drives. Today we got to deliver the fruits of our combined labour which turned out to be $420 in cash donations and 231 lbs of food.  My heart sang at the generosity of my friends and family. i am so proud at our combined achievement. I think this is a great omen for the year that is laying ahead of me, waiting for me to paint my story on it.

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. ~Lucille Ball

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I am sitting in bed on the last night of my 38th year, wearing some cozy pj’s, a cat curled up at my feet, a pile of snow outside and I have some thoughts on the last year of my life.

38 has actually been a very big year for me in some very subtle ways. Of course there where some big things, we covered those in the review of 2013. However there have been some deeper, more intellectual or spiritual or emotional changes that I have been beating against my brain and heart for several months now. When I was a younger young woman I heard women talking about this magical stage of life where you miraculously come into your own. It sounded perfectly ludicrous to me, the suggestion that I would ever get comfortable in my own skin, in my own life… FOOLISH!

But this year a quiet, calm started to creep into the corners of my life, sneaking in from the periphery, settling me little by little, breath by breath. I had been setting the ground work a while, cutting people out of my life who did more harm than good, simplifying what I can. But I didn’t realize what exactly I was prepping for, I didn’t know it was part of a larger process.

One morning this fall I was driving to work and I was thinking about my deep freezer. Yeah, I know such a fluffy, middle class, middle age thing to be mulling over. But I was thinking about how much power it uses, ’cause that is kind of my thing, and I was thinking about how it was a waste of power and money because we never really USE the deep freezer. Which of course got me to wondering why we have the ruddy thing to start with. And the only reason I could come up with was … because THAT is what you do, you buy a house, you get a deep freezer. By the time I got to work my whole world was shaken up like a snow globe. Had we really spent hundreds of dollars for such a short-sited reason? That thought stuck with me for days, I found it deeply unsettling. But that was only the harbinger for what was to come. The revelation about the deep freezer had a trickle down effect. It started to seem like many of the choices I had made in my adult life were based less on what I wanted or needed and more on what was the social norm. This startling sliver of truth was thrust open in the course of one conversation with my husband. We were admiring the apartment which some friends had moved into and musing how nice it would be to have all those mod cons, all the square footage and none of the crappy responsibility of maintenance that comes with being a home owner. My eyes met my husband’s and something clicked right at the core of my being… our house was a deep freezer! We bought a home, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and endure no end of frustration because that is what you are supposed to do!! We were planning a family and family’s have houses. Consequently we were also planning a family because… yeah you know the refrain by now…. that is what you do.  My husband and I started a conversation and that has moved to a dialog with myself, and with anyone who cares to sit and talk to me, a dialog about motivation and desire. Gil and I don’t love being home owners. It is a massive pain in the ass. We don’t love spending our spare time and all our money keeping this place going. Not that we dislike this house, we just would both rather being doing better, more authentically US things with our time and our money. I love my cats and my dogs, I really do but I also so that they make like more complicated, expensive and messy. Would I get rid of them? NO! Do I wish I had thought through the consequences of taking on responsibility for 5 lives?? YES!

When I started to go over my life with a fine tooth comb I was shocked to see how much I had that I didn’t need or had for the wrong reasons. Happily I report the only thing that I come back to over and over that I don’t second guess is marrying my sweetie. That still makes absolutely perfect sense.   I feel like these revelations are coming to me now because I am starting to know, accept and embrace who I really am.  I am not trying to be someone I am not so the layers are starting to peel away. I am not truly comfortable in my own skin yet because I am still discovering who that Meghan is but I feel like more and more each day I am moving to a more authentic version of myself. That sounds a bit jargony but I think in this instance is the the most accurate language I can use. Finding this path to a fuller, more contented me makes the aging process a lot less scary; because maybe the rumors that I have been hearing from those ladies is true and maybe on the other side of 40 lays an even more exciting adventure. You know what I have to say about that? BRING IT!!

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Welcome to 2014’s 12 in 12 – REDUX!

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I am one of THOSE people, I genuinely see the new year as an opportunity to clean the slate, to try something new, to embark on adventures. I like resolutions, I like vows. I am usually brimming with fantastic ideas to kick off January but the problem is that making too many changes at once tends to lead to early burn out. This is one of the reasons why resolutions end up so hard to keep, the practice almost seems to have fallen out of favour because it seems like keeping them is impossible. And yet, despite my previous failures I still believe, I am the hopeless romantic of resolutions. A few years ago an interesting idea floated by me and I grabbed on to it, 12 in 12. Twelve smaller more manageable resolutions, one for each month of the year. I tried it a few years ago and I had pretty good success until I hit a challenge that I was struggling with. Because I am stubborn and a perfectionist I wouldn’t change the parameters of my resolution so I gave up outright. This time I think I have made a more manageable list and I am prepared to make adjustments if it turns out I am over reaching.  Adapt or die mother fornicators!

I don’t want to give too much away because I need something for you to tune in for but I will say that this years resolutions involve yoga, breakfast, flossing, gratitude and more.

For the month of January I am tackling the CHAOS in my life and my home. I have been struggling to get and keep our house in a state that doesn’t make me want to cry or make me too embarrassed to have people over.  I want to go back to a system that I have used in the past and have had a lot of success with. The FLY Lady and her system of baby steps has been very helpful to me before, and I believe I can work the 31 baby steps into my hectic schedule and lifestyle. Hopefully during those 31 days a new, good habit will form.

Today I started with step #1, I got my sink nice and shiny.

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On top of the 12 in 12 I have a few extra things planned.

I am going to write one hand written letter a month. Something with substance, to someone I love, that conveys real information not just a few tweets and tags.

Once a month I am going to invite a friend out for lunch, on me. Someone who I like but don’t get to spend enough time with, or someone I would like to know better. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just two friends sitting down and breaking bread.

And of course I aim to take better care of my body. Eat better, move better, sleep better. Be better, because I am worth it.