To love my life

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Katie Den Ouden is a light in the world.  Seriously, that is not an exaggeration.  I have participated in several cleanses that she has led, and I was honored when she asked me to join her Skinny Dip Society Feed Your Soul Blog Tour.  The goal of the tour is to bring together 25 women in support of living in a way that feeds our souls, frees our bodies, and loves our lives.  I am delighted to be a part of this effort, which I believe in to my core.

Katie represents and models a life of self-care and gentleness, something I aspire mightily to and fail at often.  Still, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that all we can do is begin again.  Over and over again, I try, I stumble, I start again.

I am turning 40 this year and I have finally begun to figure out what I need to do to take care of my body and my spirit.  Of course, I often fail at doing these things.  But at least I know what I need to do.

There is a short list of non-negotiables for me when it comes to health and happiness, and when I fail to prioritize these things I almost always get into trouble.  I need 8 hours of sleep a night, I need quiet time to write and to read, I need to feel safe and taken care of by the small handful of true native speakers in my life, I need to exercise, and I need to eat mostly healthily most of the time.  These things, which are, at the end of the day, all choices, help me feel calm and happy.  They help me to love my life.

In order to make sleep, down time for reading and writing, and exercise a true priority I have had to cut back on many other things.  Because I work full-time, write as much as I can, and, most importantly, want to be my children’s primary caretaker, I don’t have much other time.  I don’t do very many things socially, I rarely meet friends for lunch or dinner, I don’t watch very much TV, I almost never go to movies, my husband and I don’t have very many date nights.  For me, it’s more important to read Harry Potter to Grace and to Whit, to be the one who packs their lunches, and to read and write and go to bed early in the evenings, and to get up at dawn to run.

When I narrowed my life to these true essentials, a startling, glittering expanse opened up.

My best, truest friends remain essential and close.  I don’t see them as much as I want, but they know who they are, and I value their support and love and presence more than I can possibly articulate.

Exercise is important to me.  25 years of running have had an impact on my joints and I can’t run as much as I used to.  I think a marathon is out of the question now, unfortunately (though, as Whit likes to say, I’ve run a marathon, just in two halves!).  I have been doing yoga on and off for 15 years and I find that it is an increasingly important part of my life now.  The hamster run of my brain is slowed and quieted by exercise, and it helps me sleep better.

Food?  One gift Katie has given me is increased awareness that what I eat is hugely important.  I like Michael Pollan’s simple, powerful line: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.  Amen.  I have come to love – and crave – green juice, and I drink it most mornings.  I don’t, however, love smoothies.  But grapefruit, kale, ginger, through the juicer?  YUM.  We eat a lot of vegetables around here.  I often view it as a challenge: how many different fruits and vegetables can I eat today? But I also love sugar and try as I might, I haven’t successfully given that up.  I am going with the 80/20 rule on this one.  Mostly plants.  Not too much.  That I can do.

It’s not rocket science, is it?  In fact, as I write this, I’m a little bit ashamed that it has taken me almost 40 years to feel so clear on what I need to do to take care of myself and to love my life.  Sleep.  Down time.  Reading and writing.  Exercise.  Vegetables.  Lots of time with my children.  And, of course, a commitment to begin again.

If you like what you’ve read here (and in other posts I’ve written about Katie), her 21 Day Challenge would be a wonderful and simply introduction to her particular brand of magic.  I highly recommend participating.  I am!  Click here to join up.
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Finally, Katie has curated an absolutely marvelous blog tour.  I hope you’ll check out some of the other content, which has thus far moved and touched me, every single day.
Friday, we heard from Jennifer: www.youngfemaleentrepreneurs.comFacebook:  Young Female Entrepreneurs
Instagram: @yfentrepreneur
Twitter: @yfentrepreneurTomorrow, it’s time for Meg: www.feedmedarling.comFacebook:  Feed Me Darling
Instagram: @megworden
Twitter: @megworden

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16 Comments

  1. Posted January 27, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Love this Lindsey!

    admin Reply:

    Thank you! xox

  2. Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks Lindsey. I look forward to reading them all.

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so much. xo

  3. Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Goodness- we are like two peas in a pod. My list would be identical. Both what I need, what I do and what I continue to fight (sugar!). Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to read more.

    admin Reply:

    I am glad to hear that … always good to know that there’s a kindred spirit out there. One eating … sugar! xox

  4. Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing this … and the challenge and the blog tour. Love it!

    admin Reply:

    Thank you! I hope you find the tour, and Katie’s message, as compelling as I do. xo

  5. Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I love this so much. It’s mindful.

    admin Reply:

    Thank you! xox

  6. Posted January 27, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    How wonderful that you know exactly what you need to feel good. I am working on this. I look forward to reading these posts. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    Yes, I know … of course DOING these things remains another challenge altogether. xo

  7. Rachel C.
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Love this! I agree with so many of your happiness essentials!

    admin Reply:

    🙂 xox

  8. Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing how really what we most need is right in front of us? I agree with you…teaching full time plus, mothering, writing and holding it all together requires sacrifices- and then when we get sick, it requires patience. Thank you!

    admin Reply:

    Thank YOU. Yes, it does! And of course the irony of this post is that I wrote it last week, before coming down with my third nasty cold (as in, in bed, out of commission) of the winter. Argh!

  9. Katy
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I remember when you thought that diet coke was a food group and I believe, possibly, nutella… nice to hear you turns the lens so the peripheral is out of view. There’s no other way to do it-
    None.
    Katy

    admin Reply:

    Well, as I said, I know WHAT I need to do but don’t always do it. Diet Coke remains my biggest weakness (one a day) but I have given up Nutella … (my nut-allergic son helped that).

  10. Katy
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    If we did what we know we should– I wouldn’t have a job at all.
    40 was a wonderful year for me- I had P at 41 so remember you have lots ahead. There’s no rush as my dad 🙁 used to say.
    KT

  11. Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Such a great post! Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom. Honored to be a part of this blog tour with incredible writers like you!
    Robin

  12. Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    This was so motivating. I’m 37 and always feeling closer to the ME I want to be. You make me feel like it will only keep getting better and clearer.

    And I’m intrigued about the 21-day link up there . . . about to click!

  13. Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Okay, signed up for the 21 day challenge. And glad it’s not a cleanse because although I’ve flirted with the idea, as you know. I’m not ready! (I eat pretty healthily–took years–already.) I could do A LOT better, but I’ve been so much worse in my life too. Sometimes I’m afraid to focus on it too much because it can get me a bit batty.

  14. Posted January 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I am so fascinated by self-care routines because I am STILL trying to figure out my own. Or maybe just listen to what I know to be true. Either way, this is super inspiring. What I loved most was this:

    I need to feel safe and taken care of by the small handful of true native speakers in my life

    I have a huge need for safety and comfort but I never thought about making THAT a priority. Duh. Thank you so much for this.

    admin Reply:

    Well, it doesn’t always work that way. And unfortunately when I DON’T feel close to or taken care of by one of those people in whom I have vested such power, I can really be a wreck …

  15. Posted January 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Such a gift, this reminder to listen to what we really do know is best for us. Earlier today I was faced with the question: what makes you feel most fulfilled?

    I was surprised by how quickly I knew the answer: when I don’t carry anger or envy.

    Love that you’ve given me my second reminder today to honor and heed my internal cues.

  16. Posted January 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Lindsey! You are talking my language here! I am 41 (after I hit 40, I swear I forget how old I am most days), and I’ve never been more dedicated to the way I live. I work out 6 days a week and eat clean 90% of the time. Okay, maybe 80. The one thing I want my kids to learn from me is how to take care of the precious bodies God gave them. They are already light years ahead of where I was at their age (my middle name should have been Sugar) and so I know I’m doing something right there.

    I love that you are at peace with your life and you have found what makes you happy. Some people spend their whole lives searching when all they have to do is embrace the life they have. You are such a great example of that and thank you for sharing this snippet of who you are with us. xox

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