Inspired by Glennon Doyle (Melton)’s 25 Things You Don’t Have Time To Read.
1. I believe I might be on my way to reaching nirvana… er, nevermind. Because kids. But loving a barrel of monkeys, no matter how imperfectly, is certainly as important as nirvana — and is perhaps the path to it, as well.
2. We have no TV and never had one, even 20 years ago. I grew up the child of hippy school teachers, and T. grew up in cars, trailers, motels, campgrounds and an old logging cabin in the woods, so neither of us had much use for them. Besides, who needs TV when there’s the Internet?
3. Each day, I contemplate getting rid of all the screens in our house. Except for mine and T.’s, of course. But our kids are now too grown up, aware, and argumentative to stand for that much hypocrisy. So while I contemplate possible non-IT solutions, I type here onto this screen. And listen to our kids not arguing, while they play Minecraft.
4. In the past several years I’ve written over a million non-work-nor-correspondence-related words. I kept most of them private, until a few months ago, because I was afraid they were not good enough. I want to write a book based on some of the recurring themes in these million-plus words, but I’m having trouble getting started, because I’m afraid everything I write will be not good enough, not good enough, and…not good enough.
5. I am a semi-recovering semi-winoholic, and mostly-recovering OCD perfectionist, binge sweet-eater, clothes shopper, and consumer of OPOC-SHIT-YM (what I call Other People’s Online Content, particularly Self-Help produced with the Intent to Take Your Money). Sometimes, mostly late at night, I still binge on wine, sweets and/or OPOC-SHIT-YM, in the same indescribable way you keep going back to someone who abused you and repeatedly left you self-loathing and sore.
6. I’m surprised by my temper like it’s some Cretaceous hermit-crab dinosaur that takes over Broca’s area from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if I have undiagnosed Tourette’s.
7. a) “I believe strongly in downsizing, in simplicity. The people I respect most in the world are those who quietly choose to live with less so that others might have more” (Glennon Doyle). Yep, me too sister. Unfortunately, I too forget this daily, as I browse the Internet for bigger, more stylish houses that I dream would make our ton of crap look like less.
7. b) “One of my most frequent and fervent prayers is that one day what I do and want will match what I respect and believe.” You said it. However, another one of my most frequent and fervent prayers is that one day I will own one of the above-described dreamy homes. Preferably waterfront, acres of forest all around it and a nice boulangerie nearby. But anyway.
8. I’m a lot like a trucker in some ways. I once belched so loudly, leaving a restaurant, that everyone turned to stare. I would have died of embarrassment if I’d known about it at the time; but, being immersed in a daydream as usual, I was blissfully unaware. I found out because my friend started laughing, eyes wide with incredulous admiration, thinking I’d done it on purpose. After we left the restaurant I asked, curiously, “What up, girlfriend?” Then she told me. I promptly died. And was born again. (It happens a lot.)
9. For the past few years I can’t seem to sleep more than 6 hours at night. Even if I try. Maybe it’s a holdover from my 10 years of mothering babies.
10. I am a delinquent quasi-Zen-Bhuddist, which I’m pretty sure is the only honest kind of quasi-anything. Nonetheless, when I’m not trying to remember where to put the “h” in Buddhism or how many d’s or t’s there are in Bodhisattva, I’m deeply in love with the divine Boddhisatvha (haha) within us all, as well as with God/GUG, LIAV, Mary, Jesus, Mohammed, Artemis, Hephaestus, Oprah, Tony Robbins, Sister Chan Khong, Glennon/Craig/Abby Doyle/Melton/Wambach (did I get that right?), Liz Gilbert, Parvati, Krishna and also the Bear and the Raven of First Nations creation stories… etc. Not necessarily in that order.
11. I’m mostly kind, mostly since I have little idea how to be cool. But agreed, as god/Glennon Doyle (haha) says, “both is the dream.”
12. I believe T. is one of many human beings who could have healed me. But he’s the only One I “chose,” after an earlier serial-monogamist lifetime of “allowing myself to be chosen.” I think that’s why he and I are still together. We’re opposites in some ways, but we want and love most of the same things. (Except for pretty handbags and shoes. That’s mostly me. And except for more technology. That’s mostly him.) The main difference seems to be that I want and love to get my things by dreaming, talking, and writing about them, while he appears to want and love to get his things through hard work, or by having sex. (Sadly for him, I seem to get what I want and love more than he does. Thanks to his hard work, and my dreaming, talking, and writing.)
13. When I was a kid I mostly loved animals more than people and food. I became vegetarian for an easy-breezy 20 years because of that. (Also, there’s veggie meat nearly everywhere in west-coast Canada. Duh, why doesn’t everyone go veg?) Then we moved to France, and I learned to often love people and food more than animals. Because of that I sometimes eat animals, especially when the people aren’t serving anything else.
14. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Somehow the second part of that idiom (one of my dad’s favourites) is much easier for me to incorporate than the first. I guess in that way I take after my dad, who is one of the men I admire most in the world.
15. “I want to do big things for God, like adopting an orphan, but have trouble even doing little things for God, like not being a jerk.” Amen to that, sister. Amen to that.
16. I love classrooms and children, but I am also scared sh*tless of institutions, and kids who are unruly/mean. (All of our kids were born at home, partly because of my fear of sh*tting in institutions.) I want to run an alternative classroom where the kids and I explore creative awakening through music, movement and spiritual practice, but #institutions and #mean/unrulykids. And apparently #swearingsnotforteachers.
17. I can’t sing or play the first few measures of the Heart Sutra without feeling like that’s what I was meant to do with my life, for the rest of my life. (It’s the next few bars that kill me. The notes are too high for my trucker’s contralto.)
18. I love baby animals, including baby humans, and I am one of those people who talks in a high baby voice to anything/anybody remotely cute. I want to welcome a bunch of children and animals into our home who need/want welcoming, but most days I don’t have enough energy for the kids and stray cat we already have. (The resident lizards, moles and mice are no longer a problem —though they never really were, shy and quiet as they are. Sadly, the cat’s killing them off.)
19. I am way too non-confrontational (er, with people besides my husband and kids, that is). I’m working hard on offering my truth to people, even when they might not want to hear it, and ridding myself of the belief that everyone should get to say their truth, except for me when I don’t agree with something (particularly when I’m at risk of not being liked for not agreeing with something).
20. Some evenings, after the younger kids are in bed, T. and I meet for wine/beer on the kitchen sofa (yes, kitchen sofa, since the kitchen is also the living room in this originally-two-bedroom stone house, and has been since 1881) and talk about things we’ve read or people we’ve met. This is one of my favourite ways to end a day. Sometimes I wish it could be done without wine/beer, and without talking, on my part, at least. But most of the time I wish for more wine, more talking, and more people. And more space for more people.
21. Years ago T. and I didn’t vow never to brag about ourselves or our kids. If we had, I wonder what in heck would we talk about to other people? Sometimes I wonder how others don’t never manage to put up with us—and also how they don’t never put up with my double negatives. (Except in France. In France it’s standard practice to brag, and also to use double negatives. Maybe that’s why I don’t not love it here so much.)
22. T. thinks I torment myself and others with my tendency to wiffle-waffle over minor decisions. To that I say, should I try to change? Or am I fine the way I am?
23. I don’t handle criticism well. But I seek it out wherever I go, mostly by attempting to make or stay friends with people who can’t seem to stand the sight of me. Hence, I begin to handle criticism better and better as the years go by.
24. “I am unable to sustain relationships with people who talk but don’t really listen, or with people who boast.” Me neither. But unlike you, I never break up with them, regardless of gender. Again, working on #19. And #21. And #23.
25. I was never truly happy a full day in my life, even though I’ve tried hard enough to be. But that’s ok. These days I’m learning to value basic contentment, and relish extraordinary bliss in small moments. Most of my moments of bliss happen when I’m deeply appreciating the presence of someone, something or nothing besides myself. I think that is at once simple and beautiful, and the secret to a mostly-happy life.
Notes/refs/Inspiration: While I was making dolls last week, I listened to a podcast in which bestselling author and creativity synergist Liz Gilbert interviewed bestselling author, blogger and activist Glennon Doyle/Melton. Glennon told Liz about her blogging adventures, which began with a listicle she’d originally published on social media. The list was called “25 Things You Don’t Have Time To Read.”
Image: Bitmoji Nadine 2016
EDIT, 2019-01: “Our” beloved “stray” cat met his karmic maker. Enjoy your next life, dear Mr. Puddy Willow. We miss you dearly, but are grateful to have known you. We take consolation in the fact that the lizards run freely again, and birdsong has returned to our yard.