This is my favorite time of the week, Sunday evening. Sitting on my couch, listening to my favorite show on KUT, Across the Water … two hours of Celtic music that relaxes me, soothes my soul, and ends my week on a perfectly happy note. Normally I’d be at Paul’s house (doing exactly the same thing), but he’s out of town this weekend, so I’m at home by myself. And despite wishing he was here with me – I know I’ve found the perfect guy for me when I’d trade much of my alone time to have him with me instead – it’s been a perfect fall day here in Austin, cool and crisp, and I have just reveled in it.
I started my day as I have almost every day of the past few weeks, in meditation. I’m still struggling to stay focused throughout, struggling to calm down my nervous system – that’s why they call it “practice,” right? – but I am finding that I look forward to starting each day this way. It even makes it easier to get up at 5 a.m. Today didn’t start quite that early, and I had time to relax with some nice hot water with lemon and a book before I headed out for yoga. After three days off while I healed from having LASIK surgery on Wednesday, I was so looking forward to getting back to my Ashtanga practice … yet another thing I’ve added back into my life recently that seems to have stuck quite readily.
Somehow this gorgeous day managed to be both productive and relaxing for me … what a rare and perfect combination! Much of the afternoon I relaxed, curled up on the couch, drank hot tea, and watched movies, but I also managed to finish four loads of laundry, did a light house cleaning, and even tackled the very satisfying task of cleaning the refrigerator. I also took this opportunity to go ahead and throw out my unused contact lenses, to stow the unused saline solution in the cabinet (I’d throw it out but I hate to waste anything and you never know when you might have an overnight guest who needs some), and to take my lovely but now unnecessary Dior glasses and put them in a drawer until such time down the road as they might need to be repurposed into reading glasses … hopefully that will be a decade from now and they’ll be so out of fashion I’ll laugh at myself for keeping them all this time.
I can’t tell you what a weird feeling it is, to think that I don’t need any of those things anymore. I can just SEE. All the time. It’s not so strange during the day. I’m used to being able to see during the day, even if now it’s unaided. It is nice to not have the irritation I often got from a long day in my contacts, and it’s really nice to be out of my glasses, which I had to wear for the three weeks leading up to the surgery. But it still gives me a start, to wake up in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning, and glance at the clock, only to have the time appear completely clear. I love it. It’s like my eyes are a new toy. :) And I seem to be healing really well, with very few of the side effects I was warned to expect.
I don’t know if it’s the weather, or the fact that I’m generally just really happy these days, but I seem to have fallen into the holiday mode … the sap has arrived early this year. Usually I can hold out till Thanksgiving, but for some reason I seem to be feeling warm and fuzzy and nostalgic and sentimental already. I can’t wait to decorate my house, to visit with friends at Christmas parties, to see my family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m a huge sucker for the holidays … the cheesy movies, the even cheesier decorations, peace-on-earth-goodwill-toward-men and all that.
I will hold out until the week of Thanksgiving for most of it – the tree, the music, etc. One sad note … since the online radio station WOXY went off the air this year, their fantastic Holiday Mixer is no more. I’ve been listening to this non-stop throughout the holidays for years, and I will miss all the unique holiday music that I would never have heard anywhere else. If anyone knows of a great substitute, please pass it along, I’d be ever so grateful.
Maybe some of this holiday spirit is also due to my feeling physically better than I have in a while. Physically, this year has been really up-and-down for me. I started off on such a good note, with my resolution to go vegan and all that. It lasted about half the year, until months of feeling awful forced me to the doctor, and a diagnosis of borderline iron-and-B12-deficient anemia. So it was back to being an omnivore. I felt better physically, but emotionally I just couldn’t stop feeling awful about my decision. I hated it. As I joked with a cashier at Wheatsville Coop one day, I was a reluctant, bitter carnivore. Unfortunately, my way of dealing with this was to basically say “screw it” where my diet and health were concerned. So by the end of October, I was not only not running and not doing yoga, I was also eating in a way that was just making me unhappy and unhealthy.
I knew it had to stop, so I decided to start fresh at the beginning of November (hence the title of this post). I recommitted myself to Ashtanga and meditation, and I also endeavored to revamp my diet. I decided to start with the same three-week vegan cleanse that I used at the start of 2010, with the hope that when it was over, I could gradually add in just enough meat and fish to get the protein and vitamins I need to stay healthy. Within a few days, I felt better than I have in months. My skin looks the best it has in ages, and while I still have about 10-15 pounds that need to come off, I feel lighter than I have in a long time. A figurative weight has lifted. I’m being diligent about taking my vitamins – multi, iron, Vitamins B12 and D, Omega-3. I also decided to go ahead and schedule some time with Meredith, my friend and a nutritionist who has been a big help to me in the past. She didn’t disappoint. Much to my surprise and my pleasure, Mer is convinced that with some real effort and commitment on my part, I can get the protein and vitamins I need and still stay vegan. To hear that, to have the hope that I don’t have to compromise my ethical beliefs in order to be healthy … it’s like this little flower of joy that’s bloomed inside of me.
I’m not striving to be perfect … that’s ridiculous, and boring, and unattainable, and who on earth wants that kind of pressure? What I am striving for is to focus on making choices that make me feel good, and not just in the short term. I may make the occasional exception and eat meat, not because I have to, but because I make a deliberate choice to. I don’t know yet. We’ll see how it goes. But I’m really going to try to make the effort to be committed to this. And I’ll be checking in with Mer, so if I do run into trouble, we can fix it before things go completely off the rails.
Maybe all this holiday spirit is just because I feel like there’s so much to look forward to. Yes, there’s the diet and exercise and all that. But of course, most of it is that I’m looking to the future, and making all the plans and preparations to spend my life with someone else … something that for a long time I wasn’t even sure I wanted, let alone would find. And yet somehow I have. It’s funny … getting married is this thing that almost everyone does, that almost everyone I know has already done. In some ways it’s really so mundane and everyday. And in truth, my everyday life with Paul is often routine and basic and pretty ordinary, and let’s face it, it will probably continue to be that way. Because that’s how our lives are most of the time. It may be boring to some people, and maybe at one point in my life I would have felt that way. But now it’s this perfect combination of comforting and exciting all at the same time. Like that perfect pair of jeans that are completely worn in and that you reach for all the time, because they not only feel fantastic, they also make your a** look amazing. :) Is it weird to compare the love of my life to a pair of jeans? Oh well, miracles often come in unexpected packages. And make no mistake, as ordinary as this may be, it’s a complete and utter miracle to me.
I know most of us think of New Year’s as the time to hit the reset button, the time for making changes and resolutions, and to start over and try to get things right. But if you need to hit the reset button, why not do it now? Why wait? Wouldn’t it be great to go into a new year, not feeling like you need to start over, but feeling like you’re already on the right track? Instead of viewing the holidays as a time to either indulge in unhealthy habits, or to fight that urge and feel like you’re depriving yourself all the time … wouldn’t it be great to treat this as a time to love yourself? To spread all that holiday cheer to yourself first? To treat your life as something beautiful, something to be nourished and cared for and celebrated? Just a thought …