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My 2017 Mantra: Good Enough is Good Enough

My 2017 Mantra

I know, it’s already March and I’m just getting around to writing a post about my 2017 goals. Sue me!

Every year, I choose a mantra or quote to live by, rather than a resolution. Instead of a checklist of lofty goals I’ll never meet, I find it more productive to devote each year to improving one big thing. This year, I’m tackling my problems with perfectionism.

My 2017 mantra:

“Good enough is good enough.”

I chose this because I need a break. I want to focus on self-care and letting myself off the hook more often. It’s hard for me sometimes to stop picking on myself and say “fuck it, that’s good enough.”

Only a couple months in, I find it freeing to give up on perfection and decision paralysis. Reminding myself that “good enough is good enough” relaxes me when I stress over something stupid. I get caught up with little things, and I need an easy way to snap out of it. So far, this seems to work.

I am also giving myself a break in one major area of life: cooking. Sure, I’m relatively good at cooking and baking…but I don’t really love doing it. You wouldn’t know that, though, given how much time and energy I devote to meal planning, prepping, cooking, and pouring over recipe books or magazines for new recipes. So this year, I am scaling things back. I am sticking to recipes I know well, spending less time planning, and avoiding new cookbooks or magazines. Variety may be the spice of life, but I’m going to let restaurants bear the burden of introducing us to new things. I want to spend 2017 doing more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. If that means our meals are repetitive or boring, then so be it.

The only other goal I gave myself is to read 50 books this year. This is less of a challenge and more of a reminder to take time for myself each day. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures, but I’ve gotten out of practice over the years for several reasons I should probably share with a therapist and not the general public. 😉

Check back tomorrow to see what I’ve been reading!

Being Alone vs Being Lonely

alone vs lonely

A popular topic online lately is the notion of being alone vs being lonely. It seems that even though we’re permanently connected to the world via technology, people still struggle with loneliness. We grapple with how to deal with both in a healthy manner, or if we even can at all.

In the blogosphere, I read several articles aimed at trying to answer this question. I recently read Darling Magazine’s “Loneliness vs. Being Alone: What You Need to Know” and found it a great starting point if you’re not sure where you fall. Also, I found articles devoted to embracing being alone, like Darling Magazine’s “5 Signs You Were Made for Solo Travel,” Travel on the Brain’s “How to Not Feel Awkward When Eating Alone,” and LifeHacker’s “What to Do If You Start Choking When You’re Alone” (a nod to Liz Lemon’s greatest fear of living solo). Even my “The Year of the Work” letter from Kayley this month focused on the idea of being okay with living solo.

This notion is also flooding into the wellness industry. There are articles, apps, and videos focusing on meditation, self-awareness, self-care, and mindfulness. People are opening up to the idea that being alone can be positive and healthy. Taking a break from technology is also more common as a way to re-connect with oneself.

In my own life, I find myself focusing on whether I’m lonely or just cool with solitude. I think with all the messages I’m seeing around, it’s hard to ignore.

Am I lonely, or just a loner?

As a child and teenager, I spent a lot of time alone riding my bike, listening to music, reading, and just staring at the sky. I was still a social kid, between school, sports, and hanging out with my sister – but being alone was cool too. When I started college, I did what many of us do – I got wrapped up in being busy. I spent all my time in classes, volunteering, working, and being with friends.

Then I graduated, started working 40+ hours a week, and got married. The notion of doing things alone (or for myself) faded away for a long time. After a few years of this, my mind and body started to fight back. I was unhappy and unhealthy. So I bought a bicycle, started hiking and biking alone, started a blog, and spent time in coffee shops grading papers. I loved it at first.

Unfortunately, even in these times I spent alone, I never embraced it. Grading papers is still an obligation to someone else, which wasn’t a healthy use of my alone time. I hiked or biked when I was “allowed” to, and bargained with myself whether I had the time before being home to cook dinner, teach a class, or spend time with my husband. I would rush through hikes, race home on the bike, or give up entirely and just go home.

It took moving here for me to embrace being alone. I started hiking longer and going to coffee shops to work on the blog. Sometimes, I wander around the library, thrift shop, and have the cleanest house I’ve ever had. I read more, sleep more, and started meditating. Also, I use a Bullet Journal to stay on track, so I spend time doing things I want instead of getting distracted by dirty laundry or dishes.

But does doing these things make me less lonely?

I want to believe I’m not a lonely person, just cool with being alone. I am also really hoping that these small life changes I’m making will help in the long run, by establishing good habits I can carry with me through both lonely and not lonely times.