What A Difference A Year Makes

I went to get a massage the other day – big surprise – and the therapist and I started talking about birthdays. She hit a milestone recently, and I, too, so we started discussing how we were changing: bodies, mindset, attitudes, etc. I turned to her and nodded, “Oprah said that once a woman turns 50, she just stops giving a shit.” She replied, “I certainly hope it starts sooner than that for me because, frankly, I’m getting fed up with all the nonsense.” I couldn’t agree more.

Later I saw a quote that read, “A year can make such a difference. You won’t even recognize yourself.” Oh boy. Ain’t that the truth. It’s actually alarming just how much a person can change in a year. (One of my friends has worked her ass off – literally – and lost 110 pounds this year. Another got his product into two major grocery store chains. Two others weren’t so lucky and life threw them curveballs that will alter their lives forever.) But I’ve experienced several changes, too. Mostly in mindset. And to me, mindset changes are some of the more difficult ones. Yes. A year can make a huge difference in so many things.

Like what? Well, I’m about to tell you. This is my creepy online diary, after all, so grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s find out.

My life. My goals. In the past, I’ve let others define what I do with my time. A husband who doesn’t work? Okay. I’ll work more. A friend who likes Greek food? Okay. I’ll choke it down. A boss that can’t handle conflict? Okay. I’ll dance around the issues. All of that has changed. I want to tell you there was a moment when my priorities became more important than anyone else’s, but it was gradual. I realize I might lose some folks in my life because I keep setting boundaries and putting the brakes on the co-dependency. And honestly? I do not care, which leads to my following change.

Saying “No” more often. And I’m unapologetic about it. For example, this is the first weekend in FOREVER I’ve had zero commitments. Seriously. The only two things I needed to do were 1) cook up all the Blue Apron meals that seem to be piling up in my refrigerator before all the ingredients rot, and 2) cancel my Blue Apron membership. I was asked to go someplace, and I turned down the invitation. I had plans. I had plans with myself, my kitchen, and the most recent Nicholas Sparks book. (Spoiler: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, someone dies. – Essentially every Nicholas Sparks book ever written – except this one was actually good, even if it was completely unbelievable. But I digress.) Also, let me add…‘No’ is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain it any further if you don’t want to. Which is a nice seque…

Flipping the switch more often. I’ve been told that I have a high tolerance for bad behavior, which has been confirmed in many ways, but I realized that this pattern no longer serves me, and I’m starting to give less of a shit about a whole heck of a lot of things. Somewhere along mid-August, as my birthday approached, my F-it switch got a little touchy. Touchy as in…easier to flip. Some of the walls I thought had crumbled went back up. Some of the people I started to trust, I stopped trusting. Some of the work I pretended to like, I stopped liking. Some of my volunteer commitments seemed less rewarding. You get the picture. In other words…the people-pleaser up and left town. It was like I walked off stage in the middle of the third act, not giving a fuck at all about taking a final bow in that story. At first, I was a bit confused. Then I simply shrugged. Meh.

Being less assessible. I grounded my son from his tablet last week and Lordy. It was exhausting – for me. Trying to keep a busy and inquisitive nine-year-old occupied for four hours each night was hard. However, we started watching an older show together (“The Middle“. You have to watch it.) and to my surprise, he loved it. (I watched it before I had a child and it was funny then. It’s even funnier now.) So it’s now our thing. Eight at night, we take our vitamins, settle in, and watch two episodes of our show. He turned to me last night and said “When I get my tablet back, can we still do this every night?” (Queue Frankie Heck narration): I realized that being accessible to everyone else had left me less accessible to my favorite human on the planet. I vowed right then to do everything I could to protect this time.

Comfort over cool. I wear a lot of Chuck Taylor’s now. My jeans have turned into jeggings. My shirts are a tad bit longer, and a tad bit baggier. I do not care. I do less webcam-on meetings because I do less make-up. I wear sports bras – and those are my fancy ones. I’m not saying I don’t care about my appearance. I’m saying I care about it less often.

Stop dieting. I’m going to eat when I’m hungry. Stop when I’m full. Make better choices 80% of the time. Move more, sleep more, breathe more. I’m also going to stop with these meal plan services because all I feel is guilt and frankly, the food is gross. Seriously…I’ve tried them all (Daily Harvest is nasty, btw. Refrain. You’re welcome.)

Laugh more. Okay – it’s no secret that I watch documentaries about serial killers for fun, and I am highly addicted to true crime podcasts. I love psychology and am fascinated by the sheer craziness that goes on out there. But it’s made me a little dark. And cynical. And fearful. So, a switch to funnier and more uplifting stuff has helped. Also, a good Nicholas Sparks book thrown into a pile of Lanine Moriarty and Karen Slaughter is a refreshing change, even if I like to dog on the poor man. After all, he’s living in a pretty expensive house in New Bern, NC and I’m here writing on a free WordPress template with exactly zero sponsors. I should be nicer to him. Except….

Stop being nice. There’s a big difference between being nice and being kind. Nice is done because approval is sought. Kind is, well, just because. Nice people are resentful people (and co-dependent, and boundary-less, and ‘sweet’). I once won an award in college entitled “The Russell Stover Award” because I was so ‘nice’. Yeah, that’s right. I was always so worried about what other people thought and wanted to fit in so badly, I was nice. And it wasn’t until about two years ago I realized that winning the treasured “Russell Stover Award” was not a compliment. Brene Brown says (paraphrased) that people with boundaries are some of the kindest people on the planet. I agree.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. – Brene Brown

Relax more. Everyone needs that one person you can text at 3 pm on a Saturday and say, “Hey, I know it’s short notice, but do you wanna come over later? I’ve got cheap wine, and I’ll let you kick my ass at Scrabble.” Not everything has to be a fucking discussion about the meaning of life. I’m in my brain enough – it’s the curse of being an INTJ and an Enneagram type 5. There are times when I just want to pour fancy honey over store-bought frozen snacks and ask, “Yellowtail or Barefoot?” all the while asking if (even though I’m American) she’d allow British slang in our game of Scrabble (i.e. Wanker). I pay good money to pour out my emotions bi-weekly, and I have this blog that no one really reads. After a hard week, I don’t want to get dressed up and pretend to like sex. I simply want to relax.

I tried REALLY hard to make this photo smaller but my FREE WordPress template was an asshole.

So, essentially, long story long…Yes. A lot has changed in a year. I’ve changed a lot in a year. And I suspect there’s a lot more change left to come if I live long enough.

Finally, the part you, Dear Reader, have waited for through this entire blog. My song for you. It actually is a very good, well-themed one, so grab that corkscrew (or in my case, leftover screw top) and pour yourself a drink. Enjoy your week! Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “What A Difference A Year Makes

  1. Oh yeah, totally agreed. And a lot can change when you take consistent small steps too. I never knew I could write so much, but just by putting out a few words each day did end up becoming quite a big sum. Anyway, thanks for this post, Denise!

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