As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel at though I must be constantly working in order to be successful. But whenever I get into that cycle, I end up frazzled, forgetful, stressed, and I don’t do my best work. I take most evenings off, which means I don’t schedule meetings for that time, I don’t blog, I don’t reply to emails. Of course, some evenings end up being work evenings, but I try to make them the exception. On weekends, I try to make one day a get-out-of-the-apartment day and get away from the computer and spend time with friends or Ryan. During the week, I don’t hesitate to schedule coffee or lunch dates with girlfriends (some of whom are also entrepreneurs, others have wacky work schedules). After a morning of slogging through email or getting frustrated with a floor plan, a break with a good friend, fresh air, and good food are often fuel for a productive afternoon!
Ryan and I have been a couple for six and a half years and have lived together for three years. It could be easy to take him for granted but I try hard not to do that. Of course I’m not the perfect girlfriend – I whine, and I get crabby, the apartment gets (and stays) messy, and he sees me in pjs during daylight hours more that I care to admit. But I like to spend time doing things that I think he’ll appreciate. I cook dinner most weeknights even though I don’t really like to cook. I like to put his laundry away. I ask him about his work. I send him pictures and links throughout the day that I think he’d enjoy. We hug and kiss and say “I love you” multiple times a day. I try to let him know that I support what he wants to do career-wise and life-wise. I make it a point to not bad-mouth him to anyone, ever. I’m never going to be perfect at any of these things (he’s reading this I’m sure saying, “There are unfolded clothes in the bedroom right now!”, but it’s something I’m always working on because I cherish him and want him to feel loved the way I do.
This is something that I feel is currently lacking in my life – a healthy attitude toward food and exercise. I have a major sweet tooth, and a taste for cheese. I’ve put on weight that I’m not comfortable with (I don’t feel like ME, you know?) but I am not a good dieter. Diets make me feel deprived! The few times I’ve managed to lose weight with a diet I always gain it back. I think the key for me is moderation. Eating cake and cheese but just LESS. More fruits and veggies. More water. Smaller portions of pasta. And the real challenge – adding exercise. I’ve never been athletic and I hate running. But I’ve enjoyed some gym machines and I’ve enjoyed yoga and (very non-competitive) tennis. So I’ve decided that I’m going to suck it up and join a cheap basic gym near us that I can walk to, and schedule time to exercise in my planner. I’m tired of feeling like the image of who I am doesn’t match the physical reality, and I miss a lot of my cute clothes (yes, I have skinny jeans and they will be my marker for getting back to my old self). But I want this to be a LIFESTYLE, not a diet, not an overnight change. Eating better and being fit are things that I want to become habit.
I’m a timid person. I’m shy, I worry. I’m mostly risk-adverse. But I’m learning to take chances. The good things in life come from stepping outside my comfort zone – I met Ryan when a friend of mine made it impossible for me to say no to a trip to Canada with a bunch of people I didn’t know (something I definitely would not have done). I started a blog. I quit my day job! From small risks (emailing a magazine editor with a story idea) to large risks (getting married, moving to a new city!) I want to embrace change and the unknown. Yes, bad things might happen, but the alternative is staying stagnant, never accomplishing anything, and settling only for what is offered to me? No thanks. And when I do take a chance, I celebrate no matter what the outcome. Even just stretching my comfort zone is worthy of a celebratory manicure.
I don’t like to admit it, but I’m pretty impatient. I am always looking ahead to the future. Once I joked that I think I was born as a 35 year old soul and have just been waiting to catch up to myself. But instead of enjoying the “future” once I get there, I’m already looking ahead to the next thing. I’ve made a point recently to try to slow down and be present in the joy of the NOW. The easiest way for me to do this is to pay attention to details and simple moments. The smell of coffee brewing. The sound of waves rolling in from the ocean. My cat Thisbe purring. Holding hands with Ryan. Zeroing in on the little things helps me to realize how wonderful every day is and how much I really do enjoy my life. And the more I can do that, the more I think my other intentions will start to fall into place too.