The women in my life have always given me advice. Check your blind spot, don’t put out on the first date, and never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. We are practical people. Used to taking care of others and protecting ourselves from danger. Not to mention making sure our produce stays fresh as long as possible. As we get older we put these lessons to use and dole out advice to others. We become mothers constantly bathing children while neglecting our own bodies. Employees that tell others to take time for themselves while measuring ourselves against a higher standard. Mindless internet drones that spend time lusting over others’ possessions, bodies, and lifestyles while forgetting to relish our own gifts. Not today ladies.
As a mental health practitioner I spend a lot of time preaching. Take your medicine, go to groups, and don’t miss your appointments. Funny thing is I’m pretty bad at all three. Masters degree or not we’re all pretty good and giving advice and pretty bad at taking our own. The long and short of it? Self care is hard.
A friend of mine recently brought to my attention the concept of Boring Self Care. Essentially the idea is giving ourselves a well deserved pat on the back for completing simple yet often neglected tasks. It might sound stupid but on a daily basis I watch people neglect their hygiene, disconnect from society, and be unable verbalize what they need to feel better. You might not have a chronic illness but I can assure you, you probably have shitty self care from time to time.
Our house has started to look like a home. The chaos is contained and each room is more functional than not. What’s left to do is largely finding where to put things (70%) and buying decorative furniture pieces and affordable art (30%). This is the part of the process I really don’t want to rush. There’s a strong urge to just buy something and fill the corner/wall/nook to check off another item on the to-do list. Oh the putrid siren song of the to-do list. It’s powerful stuff. But I know that within a week or two I’d add a new box under the one that said “buy new art that doesn’t suck” and “stop wasting $$$ on stuff you don’t love”. Indecision is expensive. I want to take my time with these decisions and not jump in the water and swim towards some harpy that’s for sure going to delight in my demise. Nice try, to-do list.
I have a problem with multitasking. The problem is the multitasking. Doing one thing and doing it well? Not likely. Luckily, I’m not alone with this problem, #cruxofmygeneration. In limited space it can be especially hard to relinquish oneself to simplicity and not design a room for ALL THE POSSIBILITIES. Our last bedroom was equal parts sleep space and music studio/electronic workshop/computer station. The end result? Chaos and a room I never wanted to spend time in. So, when we moved we made a pact- the bedroom would be designed for coziness. We would exhibit restraint and not ask any individual room to need to do too much so that none of it was done well. Fool me once. I wanted a cozy AF bedroom.
My grandmother knew how to save a dollar. She’d turn old clothes into rugs and split every open face sandwich in half. She worked hard for her money and made her money work hard for her. She of course instilled this philosophy into my mother and my mother instilled it into me. Penny pinching is most definitely on the nurture side of things. Of course, I’m not handy enough to make my own rugs, pillows, table clothes, sweaters, underwear, nighties, slippers, and booze, but boy, do I know to use a coupon code. What I’ve lost in Estonian fiber arts skills I’ve surely gained in ability to turn on a computer. That is to say I take saving money seriously, just like my responsibility to be an informed citizen of Bachelor Nation. However, I’m aware that I’m not exactly in the majority with this position. If budgeting scares people then budgeting software is being stranded underwater with limited oxygen and ginormous CGI sharks. Don’t fret, Mandy, I’m here to help you navigate those waters (lolz). Yes, it’s possible to live in New York and not go broke, actually enjoy saving money, and keep yourself honest about what you’re spending and WHY.