People sometimes say that they appreciate my honesty in my writing. Yes, I am honest, but I am usually only honest about the things that I want to be honest about. If I were truly honestly these days, I might write something yucky and choppy like the following.
Hello, my name is Jasmine Martin, and the truth is, I am not good at Januaries, Februaries, and/or Marches.
I want to be, but I’m not.
These months are dangerous ones for me. They immobilize me. I think my body may be trying to settle into a form of hibernation, and it turns out that laws of nature are difficult to work against.
These blindingly white days have a way of shoving me towards darkness, even though I don’t want to go there.
The truth is…
Being social feels like too much work.
Untangling myself feels like too much work.
Writing feels like too much work.
Trying to swallow a giant Advil feels like too much work.
Working well feels like too much work.
Making decisions and moving forward feels like too much work.
Surviving feels like too much work.
Perhaps that last one on the list is the real frustration.
Why does living require so much maintenance?
(You mean that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I need to regularly wash my hair, brush my teeth, do dishes, make food, tidy, do laundry, go grocery shopping? And on top of that, I am supposed to be having a job, responding to texts and emails in a timely and meaningful manner, and making life decisions? And I am supposed to read my Bible and pray? And sleep at night? And clear the snow off my car? And have a mysterious, exhausting cold that goes on for almost two weeks? And write and create and have thoughts? Plus I was going to EXERCISE and LOSE WEIGHT? AND WHY DO MY FINGERNAILS NEED TO BE CLIPPED- AGAIN? How is this humanly possible?)
(But I’ll have you know that I have kept that new year’s resolution to make our bed every day. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health… I have made the bed.)
The truth is, I do all these things, and then I just need to do them again the next day, the next week…
The truth is, I have to learn to be okay with the small, daily, necessary tasks. I have to. That is what life consists of. It is time to accept my smallness, my humanity, and to take delight in the process of nurturing a life of quality.
The truth is, I might not feel like I want to do all these things, but I feel so much more alive when I do.
The truth is, once I start these tasks, I usually don’t even mind them.
The truth is, there are things that I can do to make February a healthier month than January was.
Here’s my list.
- Go outside and do fun things to combat the mentality that the cold is something to be avoided and fought against. Embrace the cold (before it embraces me).
- Get into a regular sleep schedule. This has always been tricky for me because I COME ALIVE between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., and just want to stay awake and do ALL OF THE THINGS. Unfortunately, I have yet to work a job that works well with this.
- Leave enough time in my schedule to enjoy caring for myself and my body, so that I don’t need to rush through my morning and evening routines like a madwoman, and end up resenting my body for the care that it requires.
- Choose to be okay with the process of making food. It’s a required part of life- nothing to get all huffy about. It is literally a life-giving task. Embrace it. I like this woman’s perspective on it: http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/enjoydinner (I actually like her perspective about a lot of things. If you aren’t yet familiar with the Lazy Genius, you have been missing out.)
- Do the next right thing. One step at a time. (If you ever feel overwhelmed, consider listening to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing. Her voice alone will calm you, and her words are truth.)
- Hand my phone over to Ricky in the evening so that I avoid mindless scrolling.
- Watch my little sister Renee’s videos for artistic and just general life inspiration. (You can count on beautiful and thoughtful content from her. You should definitely subscribe.) Here’s one of my favourites:
“I suppose I thought life was the puzzle. That it was meant to be lived, to be understood, to be unriddled with the help of the ocean and a bottle of wine. But the puzzle isn’t life, is it? The ocean, the wine, the Sunday evening on the balcony- that’s life. It’s enough to be enjoyed, with or without the missing pieces.”
Erin Loechner (Chasing Slow)
Happy February, everyone! Does enjoying the winter months come naturally to you? What have you learned about yourself in this area? What makes winter wonderful/bearable for you?