Buy the ridiculous onesie. Wear it randomly.
Yes, you’re an adult. A full fledged nearly 40 adult. But buy the ridiculous onesie. The one with breakfast foods all over it, that has a hoodie and pockets. Wear it on the weekends. In the evenings after dinner. During Zoom meetings with a jacket.
Every time you put it on you will smile a little and laugh a little and not take yourself or this life too seriously. It’s okay to be childishly ridiculous once in awhile. Embrace it.
Check for caffeine.
I drink a lot of coffee. You know this and assume this based on my picture. But it’s only during the day. I mean, it’s all day starting at 6:30am and its a significant amount. I’m the reason they write those articles about whether coffee is or isn’t good for you. But I don’t drink it at night, because I like to sleep and I’m terrible at sleep as it is.
If someone offers you tea, and you think it will relax you… check for caffeine. Clearly I did not, or else this wouldn’t be a lesson.
The crockpot meal will be mediocre. Make it anyway.
No one makes a crockpot freezer meal thinking it will be 5 star Michelin quality. Everything is mixed in there together; they are going to end up sort of homogenous taste (carrots and potatoes absorb everything and no longer taste like carrots or potatoes).
Sometimes it will be good and you’ll think, we should make this again! Sometimes you’ll wish it had more of this, or less of that. And sometimes you’ll wish you had just ordered pizza. But make the freezer meals.
Eat the freezer meals and be thankful. You saved yourself a bunch of time after a long day. You didn’t dirty 45 dishes making this thing happen. You have leftovers and don’t have to cook tomorrow. Let it ride. Be thankful.
Make traditions. Keep traditions. Adapt as needed.
Every year for 19 years we’ve celebrated our dating anniversary. You can call it corny, but I love it. It only happens because on year one, he remembered (I did not). And here we are. For 18 years we ordered a cookie cake to celebrate, from the same place. This year we couldn’t because… well the same reason in 2020 that everyone has to adapt everything. This year we also bought our anniversary box (long story) from a different store and this year for the first time we ate our anniversary dinner outside on a restaurant patio when it was 45 degrees in the middle of Illinois-almost-winter, wearing coats and hats and gloves under a heater.
But in year 1, before he was my husband, my husband decided to start something new. And we kept it up, which made it a tradition.
Make new traditions. Start something new. And no matter what, keep it.
Don’t think you can skip a year. Do it. Adapt it if you have to but don’t abandon. One year we had to celebrate early because we knew we’d be out of town. One year there was an epic tornado and 75% of the town had no power. One year our marriage almost fell part because we’re humans who make mistakes. And this year, well, now you know that part. But we never skipped a year. Even in the years when we were rocky. Even in the years when work was busy and excuses were plentiful.
If you’ve got a tradition, keep it, somehow. If you don’t have one. Make one. They make life… life.
Give someone a bag of pants.
Sometimes an answered prayer comes in the most unlikely packaging. I love jeans. I wear each pair until there are holes in the knees. Most of mine have holes in the knees and I realized I was going to have to go buy some new ones. Then I got a text. A friend was cleaning out their closet. Would I like their jeans? How timely. How funny God can be.
I ended up with a bag of pants. They all fit perfectly. I love them. I love the person who thought of me and gifted them to me.
Whatever you have, is a blessing to someone. Put it together in a bag, ask around, and give it away. Be the blessing to someone else. Give. Even if it’s a bag of pants.
Imagine if someone wrote a 5 star review… about you.
Imagine if someone sent you a personal letter or email and it was a 5 star review about you as a person. It was the compliment above compliments. It raised your spirits, gave you hope, gave you confidence to keep going and trying.
There is a business out there that is struggling. There is a worker out there that is struggling. A teacher. A server. A nurse. A police officer. An analyst. A leader. A social worker. A pastor. A volunteer. They all need a boost of hope, confidence and courage to keep going and trying.
I you know one personally, text them and tell them you are proud of them. Offer to bring them something. It could even be a bag of pants.
Think of a business you love, even if you haven’t been there in awhile. Go online and write about why they are amazing. Be as specific as you can. Use the names of people if you can.
Compliment the cashier on something when you check out. Make eye contact. Read their name tag. Remember it. Then go home, go online and mention them by name and how amazing they were. “So and so, at this location, was X… did Y…”
Sometimes the best way we can help, is letting people know we see them and appreciate them.
Thanks to White Oak Brewing, Lil Beaver Brewery, Coffeehound, Ivy Lane Bakery, Mystic Kitchen & Tasting Room, Epiphany Farms Restaurant and Flingers Pizza Pub for all of the amazing beverages pitcured here.
Pay attention to timezones.
Not a new lesson. I used to know this. I forgot this. Therefore, it makes the lesson list.
In my new job I mostly work with people in Illinois, so timezones aren’t that big a concern anymore. Until they are.
If you ask someone to have something done first thing in the morning, make sure you know when that is for them. Because 9am on the west coast, is noon, central time.
Noon is no longer morning. In case you were wondering (face palm). I knew this. I forgot this. Lesson learned. Again.
Prepare. A little. Just hit the button.
I don’t want to do more adult things before I go to bed. I want to do it college style. Meaning, dirty dishes by the sink, makeup on my face, fall into bed and deal in the morning.
But with a little preparation…
- I can hit the button. Half asleep when the alarm goes off I can walk into the kitchen and hit the button. In 7 minutes I will have coffee. I don’t need to grind the beans, or fill it up with water. Hit the button, take a shower, come back and drink the goodness.
- I don’t have to think about my wardrobe. The clothes I picked the night before are on the hangers ready for me to throw on. They are more likely to match. I don’t have to overthink this.
- I don’t have to figure out lunch. I already made the sandwiches and labeled them. So when I’m about to walk about the door I can just grab them.
Do I get this right every day and every week? Nope. When I do, is my day smoother, easier and all around better? Yep.
There is a lot we can’t predict and can’t plan for. But a few well placed decisions and sacrifices can make future decisions easier. They can give you the space to save some time, some money, and reduce risks. Like the obvious risk of mismatched socks when you’re rushing in the morning.
But beyond socks, preparation can also look like frozen pizzas and driving used cars until they die. The world wants you to spend what you have and what you don’t. It says you should live it up. “Upgrade your car, trade it in! Upgrade your house! Rates are low! You deserve it!”
Ugh. I don’t want to try to keep up with the world’s expectations. Of being on trend, with the right colors and interior decorating. I mean… are gold fixtures and light wood trim back in again or are we still doing the white trim, dark wood thing? Don’t forget you need the whitest teeth and perfect eyebrows. And don’t forget the top 10 blah blah blah….
I don’t deserve this pressure and constantly moving subjective standard. And neither do you.
I think it might be easier to say no, than to follow the “yes” the world wants me to choose. The “no” approach can mean less debt and more savings, less comparison and more gratitude…
It’s an approach that can mean in a ridiculous year, wearing a ridiculous onesie, you can choose to follow a passion and work side-by-side with your spouse. Which is so much better than a new car or replacing baseboards.
We didn’t know we were planning for this. But we wanted to plan so we could say yes to God, if he asked us. Even if it meant mediocre crock pot meals… because they might become the new silly tradition we’ll look back on and be thankful for.