Well I ripped my first pair of jeans of the season. Sure did. The weight gain has begun. Or let me rephrase that: the weight that I’ve been putting on all year can finally no longer squeeze itself into my old jeans. Which is a total bummer, as I told myself I would not purchase anything other than books this year. And now, I’m left with buying jeans.
I did pretty good, too, on the not buying. It was all because I wanted to quit my job, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to survive on less money. So, beginning in November of 2015, I stopped buying anything that I didn’t absolutely need. In my mind, the only thing I really need are books: I love learning and escaping, and books are my favorite way to do so. So I stopped buying everything else, and I pretty much did it, for 12 months, with just a few exceptions. I’m super proud of myself. It’s a huge accomplishment, for anyone I think, so high five.
But what I didn’t plan on was having the worst year of my life. From the heart-wrenching suicide in my immediate family that I don’t think we’ll ever fully get over, to this beyond disappointing election, to quitting my career and the stress of starting a new business, this year has been pretty much awful. There’ve been moments of relief, and moments of joy, for sure, hands down. But all in all, this year, it’s been brutal. I don’t know any other way to put it.
And when my life falls out of control, I do two things: I bake, and I drink wine. And both have happened a lot this year.
Yes, I turned to my mat too. I don’t know where I’d be without yoga. I did that at first, and it lasted for a few months, but to be fully honest, food and wine have been a huge part of my escape this year. And I’m not beating myself up; I’m not blaming me or anyone else, and I’m not ashamed of it by any means. If you go through the things my husband and I have gone through this year, I’m pretty sure you would be doing the same. There’s nothing wrong with grief, and there’s nothing wrong with finding your own unique way out of grief.
For years now, I turned strictly to my mat, to meditation, to journaling, under times of stress. And I’m glad I have that. I’m glad I understand the peace that those things bring. But in real life, for me, this year, it has not been enough. I love those things, don’t ever get me wrong. I absolutely love practicing and teaching yoga, and I love my meditation room, and my journaling. But I needed to look deeply this year, deeply at everything that’s wrong, and I needed more of a release. You don’t go through absolute hell and back with just a journal. I don’t, at least.
So, here I am. Ripping jeans, and having to break my no-shopping seal by buying new jeans. And that’s OK.
And, here I am, not writing about the election. Are you glad? I hope so. I had an earful waiting for you this morning, and then I wisely let my husband read it before hitting “publish”, which I often don’t do, and he said: so Jen, you need to think about who your audience is. Do you want to be a political writer? Or do you want to share your love of healthy food?
Dammit. I hate it when he’s right. And I hate it when he verbatim throws at me the thing he hears me tell our marketing clients: stick with who you are, with what you know, be concise, and stay on track.
So no hatred of Trump this week, although I don’t think I’ll be able to hold all my feelings back as this progresses. For now, I’m looking at the peanut butter chocolate pie I made on Sunday (well, I was looking at it, as soon as I finished typing these words, I went to the fridge and finished the pie), and the chocolate chip cookies I made on Friday, and the banana bread in my freezer, and the bottles of red wine in my cabinet, and wondering how to go about eating and drinking the rest of it without gaining any more weight. Baby steps, everyone. Baby steps.
And I’m realizing, as well, that life is all about balance, and it’s a cycle too. Some years, you’re healthy, and some years, you have no control over the outcome. Some years are so hard that you need to give yourself a break, and just let things be. Not judge, not hate. Be kind to yourself, and breathe. The next cycle will come soon.
I realize most people eat traditional type foods for Thanksgiving, but my family has never been that way. My mom and dad, for some reason, have always celebrated Thanksgiving with a Mexican feast. And I love that. I think it’s because my mom is overwhelmed by having to keep up with traditions and family guilt (rightfully so, I think all moms feel that way), and so she’s always cooked something different. And by mom, I mean my dad, as he’s always been the cook in our house. She decides what to eat, he cooks it. It works out well. Because of their tradition, I’ve had guac on my mind. And I know avocados are not technically in season right now, but this is Texas, and it’s still fairly warm outside, so happy belated Mexican Thanksgiving! Here’s my favorite guacamole recipe.