Bedtime by 11PM.
Okay. So - what happened was....took a massive nap this afternoon after a stressful night of broken sleep.
Sidebar: Hey Kids - and by kids, I refer to any and everyone with living parents - when you are traveling and your parent, especially your Mother, requests you check in to let her know you reached your destination safely, just fucking do it. At least send a text. Damn, the woman suffered stretch marks, maybe even an episiotomy for you or maybe she competed and submitted a shit-ton of paperwork, no matter the circumstance involved in your arrival, take 90 seconds out of your social media surf time and let a mother know your inconsiderate ass arrived intact.
Where was I? Yes, broken sleep. After a night of touch and go zzzz's I made my way to the zero gravity chair and tilted up for a little respite. 90 mites later Cole roused me from slumber for his overdue second walk of the day.
Now, it's 95 degrees out there so while a stroll around the quarter acre homestead isn't exactly a hike in Runyon Canyon, it's will knock the crap out of you when the humidity matches the temperature. This time the living-room recliner beckoned - nap #2 lasted less than one hour but between the two cumulative minutes of snooze time, I'm still claiming a "W" as I crawl into bed before 1AM.
After all, tomorrow brings another opportunity to get it right.
Hey Dear Ones,
Yes, it's been a minute since I checked in on this journey to 60...July continued the wild ride, aka 2022, which began with an as-of-yet-unknown source of debilitating neuropathy, followed by a month-long hellcat bout of vertigo capped with a touch of Covid for good measure. No doubt many factors, stemming from an assortment of sources, contributed to this hit parade of challenges and maladies.
But as some old white president said: The buck stops here.
Or, in the words of the wiser Elders of the Hopi Nation: "We are the ones we have been waiting for..."
The care and nurturing of self begins and ends with the self. My Self.
Feeling quite determined to step in my seventh decade with intention, and on steadier ground than I've experienced in the past half decade, I devised a plan. Over the ten days leading to my 60th, I incorporate or release, a daily habit in service to the nurturing of Toni.
Not exactly like cramming for a final - heavens no! - more like plotting how your gonna write that term paper assigned at the beginning of the semester in the final ten days of class.
Got an A+.
Suspend practice of false self-care practices including:
The purchase of store- brought, packaged, cakes, cookies, candies and treats.
Not only do i have no business eating that crap, but I possess the skills and tools to make most anything I happen to crave.
Note the qualifier “packaged”. Exempted from the restriction are artisan baked goods, especially Bemees from Maryland’s folkandpalate.com, or another fave from bauerscandy.com the irresistible confection, Modjeskas and i can’t omit the bodacious cran-orange muffins from Rockenwagner in Los Angeles. Really… with all this delicious goodness available coast-to-coast, why would I punish my body with a steady diet of Nabisco, Keebler or anything from a food conglomerate?
[of course the consumption of fancy desserts requires a bit of reigning-in as well. And of course, the price point for these delectable goodies is higher than yoru average Oreo™. But often the cost of something extends beyond the price, yes? I’m just saying…if I’m gonna indulge it should be worth the calories.
Mantra of the day: Pay More, Eat Less.
Streaming. Especially in the form of binge watching anything.
There are too many books, a mountain of magazines, and ideas for essays all of which largely get ignored because I chose to re-watch the entire run of The West Wing for the third (maybe fourth) time. Don’t get me wrong: this show proved quite the salve to my overtaxed nervous system in the wake of the 2016 election. Even though the health of the republic still feels precarious at best, it’s long-past time for self-numbing.
2nd Mantra of the day: Education over Entertainment.
This represents both the simplest and most challenging habit to break.
Simple as it requires no tools or substitution nor does it quell a physiological need; yet challenging as it requires a profoundly strong internal reserve of confidence, groundedness (if that's not a word, it ought to be) and ability to simply not give a f*ck. Today I commit to not giving two milliseconds of energy to Other People’s Opinion.
Now we begin incorporating the good stuff; the real-deal elements of self care!
First, start eating dinner between 6PM and 7PM daily. It’s better for digestion and assists with a whole host of other goals such as a retiring at a reasonable hour.
Thinking of inviting me out? Please don’t bother calling me for a 9PM reservation. Believe me, I’m just as shocked as anyone else at this new development, but the body has made it’s boundary on this front unmistakable clear. Packing in a full meal after 9PM means it’s on the express train through my system or it’s coming right back from whence it came. Yes, it took me far too long to make the connection, but I get the assignment, finally.
Starting today, with a menu of asparagus soup, sauteed shrimp over a roasted vegetable salad and challah (Shabbat Shalom, Baby!) dinner will be served on teh back porch no later than 7PM.
WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Woke up on this Day 1 of the month-long countdown to 60, and in my Covid-weary brain had trouble figuring out starting on July 1 makes it a 30 day or 31 day countdown to July 31st. With way too many minutes wasted in self-debate, a pivot happened. Instead of counting down to 60, how about counting up to this next decade! So… we are now officially at day 1 on the path to a new year and a elevated mindset.
Next, the recognition of my need to let go of a couple of elements, so superb in their comforting qualities they sabotage any notion of development, forward movement or growth. We already touched upon the practice of self-subjugation. Just sitting with the acknowledgment of this practice, looking honestly and with as little judgment as possible into the adverse-camouflaged-as-protective effects this had on my first 59 years gave way to granting myself permission to give up this harmful habit.
This catapults me into a state of such immense relief, I feel giddy. A portion of a load lifted from my shoulders. This committed release made way for the next step in my ABC’s of self-reclamation (I promise - the full explanation is coming!).
B is for binge. A creature comfort that served me solidly from elementary school days consisting of constant change and instability (I attended seven schools by 7th grade - not due to military or corporate relocations). And surrounded by adults who, while well-intentioned, were nonetheless clueless about child-raising. More on that later. (#MOTL)
From Rice Krispies Treats to Wordscapes to the West Wing (and by West Wing I mean the streaming of TV shows I’ve already seen multiple times) it is easy to see - again, no judgment just acceptance of the situation and a strong commitment to change it - the self-destructive element of this habit.
Education Over Entertainment.
Creativity Over Consumption.
That’s my motto for the next 30 days. I am releasing the binge habit. As long as we’re looking at the B’s let’s drop the almost-involuntary practice of mindless buying as well while elevating the baking habit from the binge category to that of ritual. Baking remains a means of connection. Bake to share, not to eat.
Say it with me one more time:
One aspect of this new commitment to self includes to reducing superfluous screen time to one evening per week, limiting online word-gaming to one daily round of Wordle and bidding farewell to my personal pimp trio Snap Crackle & Pop and their twisted brother from another mother Mr. StayPuff. In the culinary equivalent to amazing breakup sex, I've made one last gloriously enhanced batch of Rice Krispies Treats featuring every enhancement - candied ginger, dried cranberry, black sesame, tahini, before settling into the work of caring, nurturing and loving my Self in ways previously inconceivable.
The discipline this requires, I now understand, is the most profound form of Self-Care and Self-Love.
Dateline June 30, 2022
During this month-long countdown to 60 years young, the temptation to cram all manners of self-growth and introspective modalities looms large. From the attainable & productive to the obscure & unrealistic, I am willing to try anything in a desperate attempt to kick off this next decade with the Queen/BossLady/Grown Ass Woman attributes I never quite envisioned myself possessing.
Among these indulgences include learning enough French to hold a conversation with a native speaker and impress my children, then Italian (same reason) daily meditation, attaining enlightenment, breathing life into my perpetually fledgling enterprises - Courageous Carrot Cake™ and Toni’s Table™, regularly publish my musings, recreating a summer garden bounty (see photo), transition my daily routines, okay….failed daily routines into a set of rituals. How infrequently were my “routines” executed, you ask? So rarely they resemble more of a wish list than actual routine. Lifting their importance while elevating my sense of worthiness in deserving this level of attention to self-care just feels right.
There are the needs - those actions and practices without which there is no making it through the day: Sleep before midnight, stretch before rising, drinking 16 ounces of water immediately upon rising, writing, and 30 minutes of cardio.
[Okay, you and I both know that on any given day, at least two of those items tumble from the must-do list to the lost orbit of “later today”. Sleep before midnight plays the neglected stepchild in this ensemble. How do we know this? I am typing this at 1:30AM. Not to worry, I won’t insult your intelligence by promising a happy ending, Let's just see how this progresses, eh? This first step, writing, and publishing, a blog entry…can we just call it an essay? It feels like an essay to me. At any rate, publishing this initial stream-of-consciousness along with incorporating the above listed practices on a daily basis simply serve as congruent stepping stones on this path to 60. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.]
The desire to practice self-care, the intellectual understanding of its importance, remains stubbornly vulnerable to my indoctrinated urge to people-please and self-subjugate. In addition to being incredibly self-destructive habits, they also happen to constitute my own subconscious rituals.
Time to flip that particular script.
These next 30 days I plan to commit every ounce of my Covid-drained energy (oh yeah - that happened, but let’s just save that for another chat, eh?) replacing the habit of merely surviving with the mindset to practice thriving every damn day.
Transcending the psycho-emotional distractions requires finding my way back to the basics.
I’m talking about the ABC’s, baaaaayyyy-beee!!
You’re probably wondering, “Learning the alphabet? What the hell is she talking about?” I developed a quirky little method utilizing the alphabet to redirect my energy and elevate my spirits, mindset & Self from whatever depths to which I may sink. The practice came to me quite organically after experiencing two consecutive days of earthquakes back in LA.
What?? You don’t recall my post introducing this gem of a practice?
Of course you don’t - because I never published it.
Lots of reasons why - over three years - this brilliant concept never saw the light of day, but not a single damned good reason.
So on this march to my seventh decade, the first commitment to my Self, beyond basic care and feeding, is to publish at least twice weekly.
It may be drivel.
It may make you laugh.
On occasion it may offend.
But it will represent my authentic Self.
Today, that goal serves as my summit.
Join me for this smorgasbord of thoughts, stories, recipes - you already know, I’m all about the food! - as I journey towards 60 and a renewed sense of self.
Kind of like notes to myself… ... ... T-Notes! (Can I tell ya?? I been sittin’ on that one a very long time.)
Do you have a milestone anniversary or event coming up? How about a new beginning, whether long-awaited or unexpected? I’d love to hear whether and how you choose to mark the passage.
Drop a line and let me know.