The leaves are changing, the weather is changing (it actually snowed here yesterday), and it led me to think about the recent changes that have occurred and continue in my life. Lately, I have spent so much time focusing on my blog, a couple of projects I’m working on, and also juggling my regular mommy duties, that I haven’t yet planned my menu for Thanksgiving! Cooking the turkey is the easy part…it’s all those desserts and side dishes that I need to settle on. Traditions are wonderful, comforting, and can take the guess work out of things, but sometimes change is necessary.
So this Thanksgiving, I’ll be making some new dishes alongside the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and rice pudding. What I love about these traditions is they carry on memories of past holidays and loved ones who are no longer with us. My stuffing recipe is my mom’s. It is the simplest recipe, yet so delicious (lots of butter is the secret ingredient). Every year when I make the stuffing, I think of her and can almost feel her with me. She loved Thanksgiving and especially the Macy’s parade. My famous rice pudding is also not my recipe, but rather it is from my sister-in-law’s mother who has also passed. I truly enjoyed her mother (we shared a love of computers and shopping), and I feel honored to be able to carry-on making her rice pudding at holidays and family events.
This year, there will be some new vegetable side dishes or maybe I’ll try to bake something different along with the rice pudding. I’ll be changing the holiday menu like I’ve changed my own life this past year. I’m keeping all the good things about myself, while I continue to try and change the parts that need some work!
The one thing I’ve been working on changing recently is how I manage stress. For whatever reason, (age? Menopause? The alignment of the stars?), my level of anxiety has increased in the past months and I’ve turned small things into huge things, causing much unnecessary grief. The other day, I reached a point where I found myself upset about something and I couldn’t get it out of my mind…i was obsessing over it. My OCD switch was on full blast and my thoughts were just running in the same circle…over and over and getting nowhere. Finally, I took a few deep breaths and said “where is any of this getting you?”. I realized at that moment that I couldn’t control the other person who had upset me. I could only control myself and how I chose to react to this situation. There was nothing more to be done.
Like Elsa in the movie Frozen, I needed to “Let It Go”.
So I did. I released the negativity and my whole day changed around for the better. Whether it is an urge to shop, a bad mood, a situation you can’t control, or whatever you may be facing that is making you feel “stuck”…try to take a moment, ask yourself “what can you change, and what can’t you change?”. Focus only on what you can change and let the rest go.
Now let’s talk about some shopping.
I saw a really cute pink tweed dress that was on sale from one of my favorite designers, Rebecca Taylor. My mind immediately started wondering if there was any reason I might need that dress. It wasn’t a winter dress so the upcoming holidays were out of the question. Hmmm…there had to be something I needed that dress for? It was such a good price and they had my size!! I had an idea! My son is graduating high school next June and I will need a dress…there we go…perfect! Then I stopped. Really? Next June? That’s six months away! So much can change by then. First, I may not be into wearing blush pink anymore. Secondly, I might not fit into the dress by then. Thirdly, and most likely, I might find something I like even better months from now, and then will never even wear this dress. The “usual me” wanted the dress, felt the urge to buy the dress and searched for an excuse to get it, but the “changed me” was able to step in and grab control of the situation and tell myself to “let it go”. I didn’t need that dress. I could simply like it and not buy it. I won that shopping tug-of-war. Days later, I am so glad I didn’t purchase that dress. I'm already "over it".
Another surprise change is that I am still no longer obsessed with reading or watching Youtube videos of my favorite fashion and beauty bloggers. Before taking that two week break, I had been stuck in my old “unhealthy” habit of spending time every day seeing what these "influencers" were reviewing and promoting. During those weeks changing my routine was very difficult. I struggled trying to figure out what else to do instead. I knew this was something I needed to change, but wasn’t certain if I could. Slowly, I found other, more productive things to do that I enjoyed…reading a new book, visiting other self-improvement blogs, and even writing. Now, I spend much less time on the fashion/beauty blogs and I don’t even miss it. I changed a habit and it has had a positive domino effect on my life as I’ve become more productive and have less shopping triggers.
The next imminent thing I’d like to change is how I go about this holiday season. I love love love the holidays! I love the decorations, the music, the smells, the shows on television. But, I’ve found that as the years have passed, I have not enjoyed the season as much anymore. I’ve been stressed and overwhelmed. I became too preoccupied with making certain that everything was perfect….perfect gifts for everyone…perfect outfits to wear..perfect looking house. And these preoccupations kept me from truly enjoying all the things I loved best. I no longer had time to watch all the Christmas shows that I wanted with my kids. I didn’t have time to enjoy baking and decorating cookies. I couldn’t even enjoy the simple fun of listening to holiday music. It has been rush, rush, rush…buy, buy, buy. This year I’d like to change all of this. I want to redirect myself back to experiencing the joy instead of trying to buy the joy.
Certainly changing habits practiced for many years is much harder than changing the recipe for how I’ll prepare broccoli and carrots this Thanksgiving. In my next Weekly Check-in, I’ll get into more depth and provide tips on steps to take in order to successfully implement real positive change into our lives. Stay tuned and have a Blessed, Wonderful Thanksgiving!
What changes have you made and what more would you like to change? Please share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below, emailing me or joining my facebook discussion group.