Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coming to know myself

I turned 30 earlier this summer. I didn't set 30 goals or reminisce about the previous 30 years or look towards the next 30 or anything like that. But I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes me happy and what makes me enjoy my life and what things I genuinely enjoy. I've been rereading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project for the fifth time, and I keep thinking about what she says about "being Gretchen," or acknowledging the fact that while you may wish you were the type of person who loved going to the symphony, you aren't, or you wish you had a taste for sushi, but in actuality raw fish sounds terrible, etc.

Anyway. Lots of times I feel guilty for things that I feel like I should be doing but I really have no desire to do. Does that make sense? They're not necessarily things that I should be doing in order to ensure a certain quality of life; it's just things that I think the Platonic version of Rachael (i.e., the perfected one) would probably do but I don't really want to do.

So I've been keeping a list lately of things that I'm acknowledging and embracing about myself, even if in the past I might wish I was different.

1) I would rather stay home. I don't like commitments. I don't like anything that cuts my day into pieces or makes it so I have to be somewhere at a certain time.
2) Staying up late reading will always be one of my favorite things in this world, no matter how tired I am the next day.
3) I would rather wear yoga pants.
4) I have some OCD tendencies. I've learned to live with them and I don't really have any desire to get over them. In some ways I feel like they help me out.
5) I would rather read stories to my children than do anything anything anything else.
6) LEGOs are worth the price tag.
7) Listening to music makes me feel much more content. Singing is a sign of my mood--when I stop singing around the house, I know something is really wrong and I need help.
8) I really hate having my hair in my face. I know it looks better down and the bangs add a lot, but I just can't stand it.
9) I could care less about hard, gummy, or sour candy. I LOVE CHOCOLATE and that is all.
10) A headache means I haven't been drinking enough water.
11) Running through the woods alone is the epitome of feeling centered in myself. Nothing else that I do makes me feel so much like I am being "me."
12) I really don't care about current events or politics. At all. Like seriously not one single tiny bit.
13) I find great joy in making things, whether it's baking bread or sewing a quilt or even just painting with the kids.
14) Fresh flowers on my dining table give me butterflies of happiness every single time I look at them.
15) I say "I love you" with food.
16) It is impossible to catch up with the laundry. Even if everything is clean right now, somehow the baskets will magically be full again by the end of the day.
17) I loooove getting emails from friends, but I don't like writing them back. I'd much rather talk on the phone.
18) A clean house is really, really, really important to me. My mood is so much better when everything is sparkling and uncluttered.
19) I am great (fastidious, even) at planning trips, events, projects, etc. It's the follow-through that I don't enjoy.
20) I have a master's degree in American literature but I would much rather read a good fantasy novel (i.e. something by Robin Hobb) than dive into the books I loved in grad school. Reading is a form of mental escape for me and since I had children I just don't like to read anything that is difficult/sad/tragic/disturbing/etc. I have enough things to worry about already (case in point: The Poisonwood Bible was one of my favorite books in high school. I started rereading it about a year ago and just couldn't do it now that I am a mother myself).
21) I love sleeping in. I deliberately try to never schedule anything early in the morning because it makes it so hard for me to fall asleep at night (when I used to get up at 5:30 to go running with friends I would literally sleep about 3 hours because I was so worried about oversleeping and making them wait).
22) I have a giant deluxe tub that takes up a ton of space which I never use (unless I'm pregnant) because I don't like taking baths. I can, however, take a 30-minute shower.
23) Given the opportunity and no health repercussions, I could live quite happily on Red Baron pizza.
24) I am a creature of habit--I always order the exact same thing at restaurants, wear the same favorite clothes over and over again, and would much rather know exactly what I'm getting as a gift than be surprised.
25) I really love having friends over one-on-one, especially if we can have lunch while our kids play.
26) French fries and Lay's original wavy chips are soooo delicious to me and probably always will be.
27) I dislike swimming because I worry about losing my contacts in the water/blinding smacking my head on things.
28) I don't like to sweat unless I'm exercising. I really hate being outdoors in the summer. I don't like wearing shorts, I don't like bugs, and I hate being hot. I used to come up with all kinds of excuses to not go out with the kids when it was hot outside--fortunately they're old enough to play outside by themselves now and I can watch peacefully from inside my air-conditioned house.
29) I don't like ice in my drinks or milk in my cereal.
30) I excel at pushing myself to do hard or intimidating things, even when it would be healthier/smarter/better to not do so.


Ruth said...

I love all these little facts about you!

Bea said...

so what do you eat cereal with? :)
you are the first person who i ever heard saying she doesn't like bathS, I DO NOT LIKE BATHS either and this makes me so happy,that i'm not the only one:) I much rather do something else to relax than taking a bath. For me is just not relaxing. Why don't you like it? :)
I hate being outside in hot summers as well, i hate bugs too and everything that related to them:)

Rachael said...

I just eat cereal plain--I hardly ever eat for something like breakfast, so it tends to be more of a snack-thing for me...we don't get anything more exciting than those Quaker Oatmeal Squares anyway.

I don't like baths because I don't like being hot and sweaty, and if the water isn't hot enough then I'm just shivering. Plus I get bored or feel sleepy and then I can't actually relax because I worry about drowning. I'd way rather read a book in bed!

Kayli said...

This was so interesting. It is fun to find out ways we are different from other people as well as ways we are similar. I also love sleeping in and fresh flowers and planning trips. But I love milk on my cereal and hot baths (with a book) and can much too easily overlook an untidy house for much too long. :)

Jolena said...

This was fascinating to read! My sister-in-law did a similar thing yesterday and I liked hers too. I think I just might do a similar thing. It's nice to get to the point where we can be happy with ourselves how we really are, not how we think we should be or how others see us or stuff like that. And I saw a lot of similarities between us. Shocking, I know. ;) I think I may just do the same thing on my blog this week.

Jen Bosen said...

I love this because a) I love lists (duh) and b) I love being reminded how startlingly similar we are, despite all our differences. There is a reason we are friends, after all. :)

You know I'm probably going to copy this, right?

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