Last summer sucked. I was embroiled in anxiety, overwhelmed by life in general, and so unable to enjoy most of the things we all think of a summer pleasures. I have the good fortune now to be much happier and more comfortable in my skin, and hence have promised myself that this will be the Summer of Reclamation.
I have always been a summer person – born in July and raised on summers of drippy popsicles, backyard barbeques, and swimming until my eyes were red and my lips were blue. It genuinely irks me to think of last year as a summer wasted, so here are my goals to ensure that this summer makes up for the last.
1. When in doubt, do it. When you’re trying to avoid stress, it is easy to think that staying in a predictable comfort zone all the time is the safest option. It is also the most boring and least enlightening choice, and it’s not even foolproof. Just as much stress can be had at home with three kids as anywhere else. So when I have the chance to go somewhere or participate in something this summer, I plan to do it if at all possible.
2. The caveat to number one – don’t do anything you don’t WANT to do. This is different than avoiding possibilities based on fear; this is taking ownership of the fact that my life is mine to do with as I wish. Which means I have no obligation to participate in something that I know full well will make me miserable or be an utter waste of my time and energy.
3. Get one productive thing done each day, then go play. As long as my house is sanitary and our basic household management needs are met, I’m not sweating the Martha Stewart routine this summer. If, at the end of the day, I can say I did a load of laundry or picked up a birthday gift, that’s good enough for me.
4. Detoxify my relationships. This one is already in motion, with at least two “friends” who are no longer good for me psychologically put out to pasture. That’s hard for me to do, since I don’t like confrontation and I am hopelessly sappy, but it has become a matter of good self-care. Hurtful words, thoughtless actions, and incompatible priorities create stress for me, and stress can lead me down a path I don’t ever want to travel again if I can help it. If minor issues come up in otherwise healthy relationships, I am determined to advocate calmly for myself.
5. Unapologetically be myself and like myself. That means going about my day with a confident attitude, not caring about the opinions of others. I’m going to do what I feel like doing, without worrying about looking foolish or ugly or censoring my actions for the benefit of others. In other words, I don’t care if you don’t want to see my fat body in a bathing suit – it’s a free country and I’m going swimming, asshat! I’m going to try and avoid self-deprecation as well, and talk and think about myself the way I’d talk about my best friend or my daughter.
The title of this post is in reference to the popular corporate saying, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” This probably doesn’t sound like a very simple plan of action, but it really boils down to the sole concept of increasing fun and decreasing stress.
In the spirit of my fifth goal, however, I think I shall change the acronym’s meaning to, “Keep It Simple, Superstar!” If anyone doesn’t like it – well, you know what they can K.I.S.S. *wink*