Thursday, January 7, 2016


bluebird :: cardinal :: hermit thrush :: tulip poplar :: on the beaten path :: in memoriam 
alder catkins :: dead wood :: holly berries :: greenbrier berries (and junco) 
frost and fog :: chilly web :: resident patriot

The holidays were more stressful for me than I even knew they were at the time. I did not really understand how impactful they had been on my nerves until it was all over. But then, wasn't that all of 2015?

Julian's PhD defense, my part-time job, the move, the renovations, the sinus infection, the head cold, the holidays - it was one thing after the other and each time I said the same thing. "I didn't really realize..." When it was all said and done, I spent the better part of three months of the year sick.

A great many people are filling my social media feeds with their self-improvements and, over the course of 2015, I saw the term "self-care" on more than a few occasions. It is quite the buzz term these days. Most people who use it are also selling something to help me care for this self of mine: body wraps, nail polish, organic spices, essential oils, planning notebooks, wrinkle cream, blemish cream, freckle cream.  The list goes on. I like my freckles just fine and I have no desire to look ten years younger. But I could use a good dose, or subscription rather, to a good self-care regimen.

It feels so selfish to say that.

So many people use the self-care metaphor of filling up your bucket before pouring into others. I feel like a metaphor a bit more appropriate for my life is that of the Japanese Shishi Odoshi fountain - you know the one.  The water trickles in ever so gently into the hollow bamboo vessel until it reaches its tipping point. Then swoosh goes the water and "clack!" goes the empty bamboo. Yes. That's what this feels like.

I know what I need and it isn't sinking money into things bought off the internet. I need better sleep and less takeout. I need more time with my bicycle and less time with my phone. I need more focusing my brain and my heart on the things that matter and less worrying over the things of this world.

But I'm not going to worry about it too much. I'm going to give myself all of 2016 to get there. My goal for January is to live a month that will lead to a healthy February. And in February, I shall do the same until we are taking about 2017 and this conversation sounds a good bit different.

What does January hold for you?


  1. I'm with you, Amanda. (Except, not in the early cold morning at the lake. I am in warm cozy bed at that time. But in the other ways, I am right there with you.)

  2. go you! a defense is a biggie stress that clouds an entire year. My son in law defended in October (and passed) but not til he was married, relocated to Santa Barbara, only to fly back here in three weeks to defend. Crazy life.

    May 2016 be extra fun and kind to you :)

  3. love the outlook to take it one month at a time- sounds so much more doable, and so much more kind to ourselves.

    better sleep is one of my goals, too. glad those hard months are behind you and hoping these coming days are easier on you!

    cheers from NC~