…life is not about perfection or great leaps, but about practicing being a better version of ourselves at every opportunity we can.
Last night I made the responsible decision to get to sleep early. So about 9:30 I curled up in bed with my book. At 10 I put the book aside and switched off my reading light. The moon shone in my window. This is a rare occasion; I live in an urban place so these nights when the moon is positioned just so, so I can watch as it creeps across my window, I can’t help but track it’s voyage. As I did so, I thought about how amazing I was going to feel the next morning, all rested and ready for the week….HA, who am I kidding? As usual, my “night-time brain,” as I’ve come to think of it, kicks in. And suddenly, I’m awake.
Whether by nature or by nurture, I am most definitely a “night person.” I love the feel that all the world is sleeping but me (I know this is not the case). I love the dark. I LOVE the quiet. As my clock flicked on past 10:33…11:11 (lucky, so I made a wish), 12:09…I thought about my ongoing battle with the nighttime…the clock…the dreaded morning.
This is not a new experience for me. High school? Not a stellar attendance record. College? Nope. And while in the beginning of both of my girls’ lives, my husband and I managed through those bleary-eyed, caffeine and exhaustion buzzed months, as our lives eventually settled into something resembling a schedule, I again would find myself back to pushing into the late hours of the night time and thoroughly pissed when my girls came bouncing in the morning.
I think part of my problem is that I am in awe of the 5am folks. I want to be one. Up! Exercised! Glowing and dressed! Pets? They’re already fed! Lunches? Packed! I WANT TO BE ONE! I have set out to accomplish this goal many times. BUT here’s the kicker, an important realization and ongoing struggle for me: I want to be a lot of things. There are an endless number of bits of myself and my life that I wish were better. I wish I ate more healthfully. I want to exercise more regularly. I’d love to shed about 20lb. I’d like to dress in the clothes I wore in college. I’d like to find more time for my hobbies. I think it’d be good to keep in better contact with friends and family. I should spend more time practicing Russian as it’s the only language my in-law speaks. Meditating would most definitely make me nicer. I have a pile of books by wise folks that I’m itching to read. I also need to groom more often (sorry, TMI).
When we’re choosing how to better ourselves, as I believe we all should, we must be decisive. Our willpower reserves and time are limited. Over the past several months, for example, I’ve quit Diet Coke. This has been quite a will-power challenge for me. Once a “venti red-eye several times a day” kinda gal, now my Starbucks order is generally decaffeinated and often not coffee at all. While I don’t know if I’d call it “regular,” I do drag myself to yoga class. I haven’t managed to squeeze into clothes from my school days, but I have managed to ditch the scale and buy some clothes that actually fit and I feel good in. I am not advancing in all areas of my life, but I am growing in some. And as I’m making small, manageable changes, I’m reminded repeatedly that life is not about perfection or great leaps, but about practicing being a better version of ourselves at every opportunity we can.
The last time I looked at the clock was 12:11. This morning, I did not feel happy when my 3.5 y.o. came prodding me with the remotes to turn on Scooby Doo. Eventually I would peel myself out of bed and get myself and my girls ready. Our day was largely the same as all of our Mondays, with the exception of my locking the keys in the car and my daughter’s newest obsession of applying lotion (really her own spit) in the car.
I see visions of myself, peaceful and meditated and up before the sun….in the future. For now, I will continue to drag myself to yoga class, practice putting good things in my body, love how I look now, and joyfully seek to grow into the best version of myself again tomorrow. Here’s to a new week!