My day one started on Sunday, right after I was called in to work at my part-time retail gig. Instead of complaining about needing to work (they hardly ever ask), I immediately said yes. I figured this was an agreeable way to start my challenge!
I went in to work with a smile on my face, and even took the train so DH, who normally drives me, could remain sprawled out on the couch nursing a cold.
I got to work early, and decided to stop at CVS to get DH cold meds and to pick up a few iced teas. I figured DH and I could enjoy some, but perhaps my coworkers would like some as well! I could be the exceptionally cool coworker who brings in “treats”!
While the idea was good, the plan was poorly executed. I ended up sticking them on a back shelf, covered by my coat because there were simply too many people working that day (including me, there would have been 6). I tried not to let this get me down, but felt like one goal--being nicer to others–backfired, and forced me to slack in another goal–being more mindful of my financial state.
The day did get better after work, when DH decided to go with me to visit my family. My dad worked on my car (and even vacuumed out the interior!). I’m not good at expressing enough gratitude with him, so I made sure to thank him in person, and sent a follow-up text the next day to make sure he knew how much I was still enjoying the absurd cleanliness
I did struggle, again, with food and my grandparents. I feel like this will always be a struggle, and it’s one I need to realize and accept before going in. My grandfather shows love through food–he kept asking if we wanted more, why I wasn’t eating some of everything that he laid out, why I wasn’t eating any meat, etc. etc. Then he laid a huge guilt trip on me with, “We’re just going to throw away whatever you don’t eat. So you should eat it so we don’t waste it!”
That’s a lot to throw on someone’s shoulders.
I did take a little extra. Politely said “No, thank you,” to more. And then wrapped up the leftovers in a container for DH and I to eat for lunch this week. Problem solved.
Since a chicken was involved in dinner, I asked if I could take home the carcass to make chicken soup. Apparently, this sided well with my grandfather, who smiled big, pronounced, “You’re making homemade soup?! Sure! Take it!” And even helped pack it up.
My grandmother, standing nearby as we’re eating and wrapping up items, came over and wanted to share a grocery store find that SHE loved, too. She pushed a boxed banana bread mix in my face and said, “Have you ever tried these?”
- “Oh, no. I tend to just make my own banana bread.”
- But this is so easy! It just takes a mashed up banana and an egg!
- “Well, but how hard is it to measure out the dry ingredients? It’s just flour and baking soda…”
- But this doesn’t have any added oil! It’s just SO EASY!
- “It looks like there’s dried soybean oil in the ingredients…and I can’t pronounce some of these.”
- Oh… well… your grandfather really likes these. And they take no time at all…but if you don’t really want to try it….
I realized at this point that I was acting as if I was superior to her method. She could have just as easily gone out and bought a pre-made banana bread. Instead, she was opting to make her own, the easiest way she knew how (plus? Her flour is probably a few years old. And no telling if the baking soda even works. This was just easier for that 70+ year old woman). I should have been celebrating the fact that she was baking her own breads!
I mentally slapped myself in the face, turned to her and accepted the box. It was different than what I would normally do, but who’s to say my way is the best way? I thanked her and told her I would make it as soon as I had an overly ripe banana, then I’d report back. She was VERY pleased.
If that’s all it took to make someone happy, why was I always stressed out? Why can’t I just let things go? I’m trying to be more aware of how I sound to people, and also trying to embrace family time. Couldn’t I get over myself long enough to enjoy the time together?
I did not start my day with the gym (as I intended). I did not eat as healthily as I could. But this wasn’t about what I didn’t do that day. I DID manage to change my way of thinking. I did manage to bite my tongue. I did accept reason and other people’s preferences.
The big takeaway was on the car ride home. I mentioned to DH that I had a problem with control (to which he rolled his eyes. Apparently this was obvious to everyone except me!). I explained how I felt when, earlier that evening, I realized we hadn’t gone grocery shopping. While we didn’t need much, I’d be pretty sad without fruit for work the next day. My grandfather swooped in, like he usually does during these conversations, and offered up fruit from his house. I preferred to just go across the street to the store and buy fruit.
DH said he’d pass, and that he’d just pick things up on his way home from work to save 20 cents/lb. My grandfather waxed poetic about a local Mexican grocery store that had better prices. Biting my tongue against the criticism of being too tired at the end of the day to shop, and the local store not having good quality produce, I just went into the kitchen and packed up some fruit to get me through the next day instead.
I recounted this to DH, about how in my head, I was fighting with wanting to go and get my own food that I could eat as much of as I wanted, but also that I thought it easier to get it done since we had time NOW. I felt angry that I had to go pack up fruit (they didn’t have a lot. And I didn’t want to wipe them out of food right after they went shopping for the week).
DH totally didn’t see it as an argument, or a fight. He shrugged and said it was just a comment for what he preferred. If I had really wanted to go get fruit across the street, he would have done it. It “wasn’t a big deal.”
But to me, that WAS a big deal. I make all little things “a big deal.”
And I’m trying not to! Light bulb moment. I figured everyone saw things the same way as me, and that they were arguing with my way of doing things. I was defensive and, in turn, stressed out.
Something I’ll be working on for sure!