On Privilege

Last night, Cory and I attended a developer meeting for our community. The first half an hour was great: the developer discussed the exciting future plans for our area and I thought, Wow I am so lucky to live this kind of life. I feel proud.

Then, the developer opened the floor for questions…and my mind was literally blown to smithereens.

This man was bombarded by angry adults, yelling and complaining passionately, waving their HOA documents (note: this was not an HOA meeting) and demanding answers.

How will we monitor how many guests people bring to the pool?!*

We really have to share the pool with the [CHILDREN'S] swim team four nights a week?*

My neighbor has had a camper outside of their house for months and the HOA has done NOTHING ABOUT IT!*

 There is a hole in the Earth next to my house – it wasn’t there when we closed – who’s going to fix this?* (To this, I thought: Are you there, God? Ann’s pissed.)

Can you please work on adding more equipment to the play ground? My three-year-old has nothing to do but chew mulch. I would bring her toys from home, but those are the toys she sees everyday.*

At this point, all my pride had dissipated and I felt embarrassed. I was embarrassed to be among a group of adults complaining with fiery passion about mulch and chair space at the pool.

I felt embarrassed that I spent over an hour of my time listening to this foolishness. This was an hour of time I could have volunteered to something substantial: hunger, homelessness, coaching, an animal shelter, etc.

This made me realize how truly, truly fortunate we (i.e. anyone who’s reading this on a computer/phone/iPad) are, how out of touch we are, and how unwilling we are to fix our own “problems.”

If someone upsets you, talk to them.

If you’ve reached a dead end, back track and find another way around.

If you’re yelling and no one is listening, soften your approach.

If the pool, your children’s toys, or the imperfections in your lawn are the biggest of your concerns, take a step back and refocus.

We’re privileged. And we shouldn’t take it for granted. 

*Actual comments made at the meeting

Lent: Not a Pre-Easter Diet.

It’s Lent.

Please don’t tell me you’re “giving up sugar, soda, and carbs” unless you plan on praying about it every day. If you’re doing it to lose weight, it’s called a Pre-Easter Diet.

(source)

 Sorry, that’s a ginormous pet peeve of mine.

As apart of my Year of Zen efforts, I’ve been slowly tapping back into my Catholic roots. (I’m choosing not to take Pope Benedict’s recent news as a sign.)

I haven’t observed Lent in a few years because my heart wasn’t in it. Maybe it was my way of rebelling from my Catholic school upbringing, but as a young adult, Lent felt like a chore.

(source)

Also, I don’t like half-assing stuff (I’m a medicated Type A gal, remember? ;) ) Especially if I’m going to tell GOD that I’m going to do something. I mean, I know He’s all merciful, but I don’t think He appreciates shotty efforts.

So, I decided I’m not going to give up anything.

Rather, I’m going to DO something. I’ve compiled a list of 40 specific individuals, organizations, and causes. Each day, my focus will be aimed towards that person, organization, or cause.

  • Cory: He’s my priority every day, but I’m only human! Some days I’m not as selfless, kind, and compassionate as I could be.
  • MDA: Maybe a repeat?
  •  “Green” efforts: Actually turning off lights when I leave the room, turning off the water when I brush my teeth, reduce waste, etc.
  • The Rosary: I LOVE praying the Rosary, but I don’t take the time to do it very often.

These are just examples, and some efforts will be bigger than others. The point is to focus on people and things outside of myself. To do something. To be thankful for what I have, and to reflect on it. That sounds like something we all could do, regardless of religious affiliation! :)

*If you volunteer for a certain organization in the Richmond area, let me know!

Let’s chat 

  • I’m interested to see what (if any) comments I’ll get to this question: What religion – if any – do you practice?
  • If you observe Lent, what are you doing/giving up?

A Different Kind of Hoarder

Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? It’s quite an appalling show at first glance. People have literally buried themselves in filth; old newspapers, take-out food from 1996,  dead cats.

I’ve watched this show and thought, Oh good God. HOW does that HAPPEN?!

But not too long ago, it hit me: I’m a hoarder.

Don’t worry, I don’t have my pet hamster from 3rd grade (Rose Bud – what a name for a brown piece of fur) somewhere under my bed. I can walk easily from one room of my home to another. I’m married to a minimalist, so really, a divorce would come before a hoarding situation.

I’m not a hoarder of tangible, material items, but of shoulds and obligations. I constantly bring new obligations and I should(s) into my life, even if I don’t need them or want them, or worse yet, when I can’t handle them (due to aforementioned hoarding.)

Join a club? Sure.

I should volunteer more.

I hang on to relationships that don’t fulfill me. I mean, that’s what “good” people do, right? 

I have trouble asking for help. Not on a I-can’t-stop-drinking scale. More like a, I-need-help-with-making-dinner scale

And then? I can’t let go. I don’t have the take-one-let-one-go mentality. I’ve felt buried and attached to obligations and shoulds that should (see, there I go again) be easy to let go of.

Just like a hoarder you see on TV.

I know I’m not the exception. I’ll make a sweeping generalization when I assume that most women are like this. We like to please people and we care what other people think about us.

For what would happen if someone (who didn’t know our entire story/filled-to-the-brim planner) thought we were a failure?! Or a quitter?!

Oh, I’m certain the sky would certainly fall.

Or then again, would it? ;)

My Focus is on Mental Health Care

I don’t have words to explain how I feel about the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

I feel shocked.

Numb.

Outrageously angry.

I find myself asking questions that can not be answered, and I find myself crying every time I think and/or talk about this event.

While I feel strongly about the need for gun control to be reevaluated, my real focus is towards the mental health system, the field in which I am building my career.

This cartoon I recently came across accurately sums up my feelings. This is real life. And, in my opinion, this is why things like this are happening.

(source)

The sheer inability to access mental health care is astonishing. Along with that, the stigma attached to receiving mental health care is a genuine deterrent for so many people.

If you had a broken arm, you wouldn’t think twice about seeking care from a professional. So, why then, is it so stigmatized to receive help from a professional when you’re mental health is failing you?

I have no desire to blog, tweet, or log on to Facebook. My life is good, but I don’t feel good, and I’d be doing you and myself a disservice if I blogged about my daily life while feeling this way.

Come on back in a few days.

A Reflection on Busyness

I am guilty of being busy. 

I forget to call people. I make simple mistakes. I get anxious. I feel spread thin and obnoxiously obligated.

It’s because I’m busy.

Busy with school. Busy with building a house (and everything that goes along with it.) Busy trying to make a place for myself at a company I genuinely enjoy. Busy with people, places and things – many of which I don’t even want to be busy with.  Busy speeding through the Buffet of Life and adding more and more stuff to my plate.

When I “complain” of my busyness, I don’t mean to sound pretentious or important. If anything, I’m confident that I sound like an incapable child with terrible priority management skills.

I’m driven by deep seeded complexes and the urgency to go go go – for what kind of person would I be if I had time to fill with nothingness?

I’d feel guilty. Lost. Soft. Bored.

But when I think about it – maybe after some time, I’d feel calmer. Lighter. More focused.

I’m not unhappy. I’m not ungrateful. I’m not wishing anything away. I’m just tired of going 100 miles an hour every day. I need to learn how to pump the breaks.

This is simply something I’m working on. I’m terribly flawed and I have no answers. This is merely a reflection. Maybe you can relate? 

Slightly MIA

My morning routine is simple.

Cory and I grumble and roll out of bed at 5:21, don’t say anything to each other as we get ready, only saying “I love you. Have a good workout.” as I scoot out the door at 5:28.

I arrive to Body Pump between 5:37 and 5:38, depending on my luck with traffic lights. Most of the time, Emily is there waiting for me and she’s already set up our stuff. When she is not there, I lash out on a social media forum.

I then come home, shower and then take the dog out before sitting down to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal.

This is what I do.

Every morning.

As you can see, having a routine schedule is very important to me.

The thing is, for the past two months, Cory and I have been out of town almost every weekend. We’re doing fun things – but we’re busy. 

Laundry is piled up, my kitchen is a disaster, my grocery shopping schedule has been SO thrown off, my blogging has lagged – and I’m tired.

I have so many things to share on the blog, but I haven’t found the time or the way to do so. I’m working on it. Things have been crazy lately, and when I get home, blogging isn’t what I want to do. 

There, I said it. (And look, the sky didn’t fall!)

But life ebbs and flows, and before you know it, funny life-update posts will come your way!

 

(Like my reaction to almost having to hold a baby for the first time in my life this weekend.)

I know, you’re just sitting there hitting the refresh button, right? ;)

To Post or Not to Post?

Here’s the funny thing about having a blog: I share thoughts, ideas, opinions, and life updates with you – but it’s merely a fraction of what goes on in my everyday life.

Some people who read my blog feel like they know me and/or know exactly what’s going on in my life. But sometimes, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I don’t have an undocumented passion for punching babies or anything – there are just things that I simply don’t cover on The Lunchbox Diaries.

That said, I sometimes struggle with what “life content” I should share on the blog.

I love sharing good news, but I dislike feeling as though I’m bragging. I am grateful for the goodness in my life, and I share it personally with a small handful of people. I don’t get off on blasting all of my good fortune to the masses.

I’m all about sharing difficult times as well. I know that if I’m struggling with an issue, chances are, someone reading this blog is, too.

The thing is – stuff is going on in the Real Life of Colleen ;) Not bad stuff. Just stuff that keeps me occupied when I’m not working, which leaves little time to focus on The Blog, and I don’t believe in routinely posting vapid material.

The reason I’m posting today is because I know people read this blog, just like I read blogs. I have come to “know,” and dare I say, “care about” several bloggers, and I have a genuine interest in their lives!

I appreciate when they keep me in the loop, so that’s what I’m doing for the 3 or 4 of you who might feel that way about me.

Good things are happening, I’m busy, and I’ll share it with you when I can!

No – I’m not pregnant. Move along. 

The Feeding Tube Diet. Really?

This morning, Cory shared an article with me about the newest fad diet for brides-to-be. 

Source: Gizmodo

That’s right ladies, for a small price of $1,500 you can have a feeding tube placed down your nose. Said feeding tube will allot you 800 calories per day, which will “helps” shock your body, resulting in rapid weight loss.

Nevermind the fact that side effects include severe constipation your breath smelling of sweet nail polish remover.

Sign me up!

I don’t think I have to spend too many words describing HOW CRAZY I think this is. I mean, really?! 800 calories a day? If I was on that diet, 500 of them would be gone by breakfast.

Maybe this irks me more than it should because I recently went through that “bride-to-be” phase. Except, I never went on a diet.

zzzzzzzz

Cake > smiling for wedding pictures

If homebody proposed to you when you weighed X pounds, WHY do you think you need to lose anything before your wedding day?

Women.

I understand that ladies say they “want to feel their best” on their special day, but 9 times out of 10, it turns into a psychotic obsession, and the majority of her engagement is spent worrying about a number on the scale.

Play more, worry less. (Photo credit)

I don’t think this feeding tube diet is going to become commonplace, but it’s just a reminder of the scary lengths that women will go to to become thinner. Ladies, if you want to drop a few pounds, be healthy! Eat some salmon and spend 30 minutes a day moving. It’s not as complicated as people make it out to be.

Let’s chat – Have you ever been on a fad diet? Did it work, or did you regret it? I tried South Beach for, like, 32 hours when I was in high school. Clearly, it didn’t last. 

Look for the Good

The other day, I was scrolling through my newsfeed and was struck by the overwhelming negativity of so many status updates.

I fucking hate traffic. My life life sucks. 

I’m going to jump off a bridge if I don’t get an A on this biology paper. I’m a fucking seniorrrr. 

Worst. day. everrrr. I got a parking ticket and the line at Starbucks was out the door. 

It went on and on. And Twitter isn’t safe from the nagging, negative tweets either. I agree that we all have bad days and are completely entitled to our own emotions  - but really? People just bitch and moan via social media about insignificant things, and I don’t like it.

I wanted to read something different, so I asked for it.

And just like that, comments started popping up. 

And more…

And more still..

Reading every comment made me genuinely happy. From being with someone battling an illness to something as wonderfully simple as eating a delicious pastry: It was all positive.

Life is good, my friends. Don’t take it for granted. Yes, there will always be negative things and people in the world that can bog you down. But I promise you, that if you look for the good in life – you’ll find it.

Let’s keep it going – Tell me something good or happy that’s happened in your life today. I woke up without an alarm and then enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in my PJs. I have nowhere to be today, and that is wonderful! 

Dear Self

I was home this week for class, and in my childhood bedroom are stacks upon stacks of notebooks filled with my innermost thoughts from the ages of 11 to 23. When I was younger, I felt nerdy for constant journaling, but now I think it’s pretty cool that I documented a good chunk of my life.

Reading through pages of my journals, I wanted so badly to have the ability to shake my past self and tell her a few things:

1. 7th grade self, you are not as fat as you think you are.

2. 8th grade self, please don’t try to play basketball or softball ever again. You are terrible awkward.

3. 9th grade self, no – you will not marry your current boyfriend. Stop being a diva.

4. 10th grade self, nope – still not getting married to him. And it’s okay that you’re not drinking on the weekends like everyone else. Wait a years – you’ll catch up ;)

5. 11th grade self, WEAR SUN SCREEN.

6. 12th grade self, stop worrying about going off to college and not being smart enough. Little do you know, you’re about to experience the best four years of your life.

7. Freshman self, yes, finally. This is the boyfriend you will end up marrying.

8. Sophomore self, bitches be crazy. Friendship is about quality, not quantity.

9. Junior self, you should drink more.

10. Senior self, little do you know, all of your worrying is for not. Slow down. Things will work out. Stop sweating the small stuff. And really, 99.9% of the stuff you worry about, is small stuff ;)

Let’s chat – What would you tell your 9th grade self?