I Heart Maslow

Today, I will write.

I have said that every day for a week now.  But today, I’m doing it.  And I’m trying to remember to do it for me.  Because that’s where this blog got off track.  I forgot my voice, and I started writing for you.  But it’s taken me a long to realize that what made this blog special was that I’ve always written for me.  So here I am.  And because I haven’t spilled my guts in a while, I have a lot to say.

So what’s been going on?  Kind of a lot and kind of nothing at all.

I mentioned it before, but I started up a blog for our family’s adventures.  Of course I’m about 5 hikes behind, but that’s because I take a billion pictures and I get overwhelmed when weeding through them.

But the exciting thing is that we are still having adventures.  We aren’t very consistent, but we are still actively exploring the island.  And the kids have actually started to enjoy it.  Or maybe they just know that I’m not going to quit making them tag along, so they are in the acceptance phase?  Ha.  Our to-do list is still quite long though, so I’m excited to continue.  When we are cooped up in the house for too long, I start to get very grumpy.

What else?  Oh, if you’ve been with me a while, you know that I used to be a photographer.  I had a business for about 6 years, but then I finally let it go because I could never really get it up and going.  But then I moved here, and I decided to try again.  At least on a limited basis.  Well, I’ve been kind of pleasantly surprised at my initial success.  And if nothing else, I’ve had fun with the photos I’ve gotten of the kids while scouting locations.

And that’s just a small sampling.  You can see much more here and here.  For my business FB page, click here.  I don’t know what’s going to happen with it yet.  I’m just enjoying the sessions I do, and I’m excited to provide images to the beautiful families I capture.  And even if it never works out in a big way, I’m okay with that.

And now to the whole health situation.  Well, quite frankly I’m frustrated as hell.  In March, J and I started being active daily.  At first, we were biking sometimes, but in April and May, it’s been all on foot.  We’ve only skipped a day or two each month, and we usually walk 3-4 miles per day.  And then about a month ago, I joined 24 Hour Fitness for the group classes.  I’ve been given this amazing gift – I met another homeschooling mom who is as dedicated to hitting the gym as anyone I’ve ever met.  And since we live near each other (and the gym is 25ish minutes away), she’s been driving me.  She says I’m helping her stay motivated, but honestly, she goes on days I don’t so…..I think it’s all her.  My goal is to attend classes 3-4 times each week, and I’ve been doing pretty well.  I skipped my second week because my friend was in town, but otherwise – so far so good.  And because my fitness friend is insane, some of our days consist of 2 one-hour classes.  I’m recovering from one today.  And ouch.

This gym offers mostly Les Mills options, and I’m enjoying them.  I’m so awkward and uncoordinated that I have trouble learning the routines, but once I get it, I’m good.  And then I feel like I can really burn some calories because I’m able to hit it harder.  I think the hardest class is BODYPUMP because I hate weight training.  I know it’s good for me though, so I’m getting it done.  Just hating every minute. 😉

This is just one step in trying to figure out a long term plan for getting in my cardio and burning serious calories.  I have tried doing videos at home many times, but I can’t stay consistent.  It turns out that I actually really enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people.  When I belonged to Anytime Fitness, they didn’t have classes.  And in the years since, I have tried a Zumba class here or a yoga class there, but I haven’t been committed.  This feels different.  It isn’t forever, I’m sure.  I’ll get bored of it at some point just like I do with everything else.  But I’m hopeful that by having a friend to keep me accountable, I can jumpstart my metabolism and start seeing some changes.

J and I are also trying to incorporate light weight training into each day, but we’re having a tough time getting that habit established.  But regardless, I’m really proud of our nightly walks.  I look forward to them all day, and that’s exciting.  It gives me a chance to move when the sun isn’t beating down on me, and I can just blab about my day.  Most days, I feel like I could walk forever, but sometimes when I’m exhausted (like yesterday), we cut it short at 2 miles.  And that’s okay too.

So why am I frustrated?  Well, I’m at my highest weight since 2010.  I am more active than ever, and I’m just gaining and gaining.  I’m guessing it’s because I’m eating like a 400 pound man.  Back in 2011, I was working out hard and not eating enough.  I started getting dizzy and lightheaded, so I’m scared to repeat that.  Instead, I’m at the other extreme and eating way more calories than necessary.  This health thing is such a puzzle – at least for me.  And I get the impression that it’s like this for anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight.  We know how to gain weight and we know how to lose it quickly.  But maintenance seems to be elusive.  And losing weight the second time around has proven to be damn near impossible for me.  I want it to be slow and steady, but I don’t want to restrict.  Like at all.  I know you “can’t out-train a bad diet”.  I know that.  I am just struggling to find the place where I know how to eat enough so I don’t feel like I’m dieting, but where I’m still able to lose weight – however slowly.

I’m hoping I’ll get it figured out.  Simply being active for 75 days straight is kind of a huge deal.  I know walking isn’t burning many calories, but I’m hoping it counteracts my largely sedentary lifestyle.  Fingers crossed.  So far, it’s not working.

In other news, I have learned so much about myself since we moved here.  Everything is simply perfect: our home, our time to spend as a family, our environment, our opportunities for the kids.  But you know what?  I still find myself yearning for more.  Not in a financial way.  But in a personal way.

You know when you’re a kid and you hear of people winning the lottery?  You imagine that they are set for life.  They can just sit back and enjoy their years lounging in front of the TV and taking various vacations.  But as you age, you understand the psychological impact of having nothing to do.

In my last semester, I learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I’ve heard of it before, but I never applied it to my life.  It was the first time I realized that I’m not crazy.  My constant need for something more does not mean I’m selfish or greedy.  It means I’m lucky to have my basic needs met. The three bottom tiers have been fulfilled for quite a long time, and it’s those top two that I struggle with.

Ignore the misspelling of “hierarchy” – the graphic is nice!

I want something more in life.  I need to feel important and validated.  I need to feel like I’m making my mark on the world, and I need to feel it in a big way.  For the first time, I realized that I can be both grateful for all I have while also striving for more.  Because the more won’t come from anyone else.  I wouldn’t be any happier with a bigger house or a nicer car.  It all comes from within.  Everything more I need will have to come from changes I personally make.  If I want something, I have to make it happen.  I have more than many will ever have, and that was largely just a gift from the Universe.  So now it’s my job to take what I was given and become everything I’m meant to be.

It sounds hokey and it sounds like I think I’m more important than I really am.  I think we all have this within us, but we don’t know what to call it.  We beat up on ourselves when we require more than everything we already have.  We think that it means we need more material things, but that’s not the truth.  And all the shopping in the world won’t change a thing.

I still haven’t figured out what I need to do with my life to feel validated.  But just this simple step of knowing that I’m normal is huge.  It’s similar to figuring out that not every stay at home mom is a perfect housekeeper/culinary chef/party planner/playdate organizer/gardener/crafter.  And many stay at home moms don’t actually find it to be the dream job the world makes it out to be.  It’s liberating to know that you aren’t an asshole for being exactly who you are.

Living in this paradise has shown me that I can have every single thing I ever asked for and still require more.  I’m so thankful for this experience, because I would have kept thinking I needed material things.

So now the key is understanding what exactly will fulfill these needs.  I thought going to college would (temporarily) do it.  Nope.  I thought volunteering on the crisis line would do it.  Nope.  I thought blogging would do it.  Nope.  I thought doing photography would do it.  Nope.

But the good news is that I’m still searching.  And really, it’s about the journey I suppose.  For the people who find validation and become self-actualized, what more is there?  The whole thing is interesting to me.

So that’s how I’ve been filling my time.  It’s nothing and everything.  We mostly just enjoy our time as a family, but that means we go on adventures, we eat way too much, we attend homeschooling events whenever possible (and the kids are taking parkour and golf classes), and we talk about our future.  Life is so good.  But the journey never stops.  And the need for something deeper never ends.

And now that I feel like I’m moving forward once again, I hope to blog through it.  And I’m gonna focus on writing for me, because that’s where I started.  Interested in following along?  I hope so.