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Guilt: When the “Staycation” Lacks Luster

When I took my children to the community playground yesterday, I felt sort of guilty that they weren’t on some fabulous trip for their school vacation. I thought about us parents who were there on the swings, and what our situations were that made us “stay home” this vacation (aside from vaccines). Was it money? Co-parenting schedules with divorce? Work responsibilities? All of the above?

I thought back to my childhood when I remember being on the “staycation” in Cleveland during spring break, because my parents both worked, and my mom also got her Ph.D. at night. We went to the Museum of Natural History, and we toured Cleveland. We went to the mall, had some meals out (Burger King and Wendy’s were a treat), and I watched TV . I went back to school pale as Casper, while others had a marked sunburn (this was when it was cool to burn in the ’80s). I recall feeling less privileged, which is funny, since I was in a private school (read: privileged) and really want for nothing.

Yesterday, after the playground, my kids and I walked to get ice cream, and I took them to the store for a toy. She got a Rapunzel doll, and he got a Kit Kat and bandages, so he could pretend to be wounded while playing war outside when we got home.

The kids picked these

It was a super nice day together, and I know they had fun, but I still felt sort of bad we were “home.”

I know I should not.

Truth is, I asked them: would you want to go somewhere later in the week?

She said, “I don’t like Florida.” (She only says this because of alligator fears)

Yikes

He shook his head, “no.”

I wonder if they really meant that. I know time together is what counts…

But I couldn’t help wonder if they were trying to make me feel better.

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Becoming Your Ideal Self to Avoid “Hell”

I just heard this quote about the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.

I saw this on the HBO docuseries, The Vow, and that creepy cult leader, Keith Raniere, told one of his followers that. It did resonate (as I imagine all of his teachings may have resonated with me, since I’m a perfect cult victim). And it is seriously one of my biggest fears: to not become what I could be. I have FOMO on my ideal self.

Psychologists say that this disparity between your actual vs. your ideal self creates something called cognitive dissonance, which is at the root of depression and anxiety. Hm. No WONDER I am anxious! Good thing I just figured out all of my issues…

Um, no. BUT, I guess it’s good to reflect on this idea of the actual vs. ideal self maybe, like, once a month? Too much? Okay, let’s be a little easier on ourselves (it is 2021, after all), and let’s observe ourselves like every six months. We can ask: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? What do we have to do to get there?

We can make Inspiration Boards (I have tried that), and we can write down our goals. However, the real work comes with action and commitment: committing to those goals and that ideal self.

We CAN get there. But, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice–sacrificing the moment and immediate gratification.

I remember in college I went through a serious bout of depression. I had just broken up with my first real love, and I was a shell of a human. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, and I had irrational fears, like I may launch myself into the subway tracks (even though I would never want to do that). I know that’s crazy. Don’t judge! I’m being vulnerable here! I got over it, but a lot of my depression then was that I had lost myself and was not the person I wanted to be. The ideal me was very far from the actual me.

Now, I feel good about myself, but I’m a work in progress and not my ideal. We all are, I think. I do believe if I were to meet my ideal self, I might be a little jelly and want to be her. I have to figure out how to get there, but it’s going to take some work.

I hope I have it in me.

Going to write down what I want to achieve to me the ideal me…so I can avoid that definition of hell!

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Be a Good Friend–To Yourself

Today, I almost sat on a wolf spider that camouflaged into my couch. It was grey, and my couch is grey. I put him in a glass, covered with a piece of paper, and took him outside. He hopped away.

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Wolf Spider.

Then, I went to get water, and there was a spider that was next to my water bubbler. He was eating some sort of moth he caught, probably from when I had the screen door open last night. I thought to move him, and then I thought, “No, maybe I will keep him, or her, as he’s enjoying his time here, and he’s keeping the insects at bay.”

You may be wondering why I don’t just get an exterminator!

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Here is the one next to my bubbler

But, I have realized, that I kind of love spiders. I used to be grossed out about them. I was freaked out and would vacuum them up, or squish them. Now, I realize most of them won’t do any harm, and they’re sort of sad and victims, because they can’t see well.

I sort of feel like a spider today, and that I can’t see well.

I can’t see myself. 

Sometimes, I can’t see my own self-worth. I talk down to myself, am punitive, and I wish I was different. I look at other women and think, “Wow, I should be more like her. I would look so much better if I just had that Dolce and Gabbana belt or the blown out hair with spiral curls.” Or I think, “If I was just ten pounds skinnier, and I had some Botox.” Or, “I wish I made more money” or “I wish I had a boat.”

These are things I can’t fix. Well, at least not today. What I can fix is my relationship with myself.  

Then I think about all the amazing  gifts I have, and the people in my life, and how I can’t believe I talk to myself this way!  I think how we must be kind to ourselves, as we are our own best friends.

Our internal voice is the one we hear the most. I read this blog post today by Dr. Eric Perry, and it resonated- not only with me, but with many others.

Be gentle with yourself, at least for today. xx

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