We’ve reached the time of year where reflection runs high — Thanksgiving, the holidays, the cusp of a new year. In all honesty (and I’m about to get personal here), I’m pretty rough on myself most days, putting on the metaphorical hair shirt and just running with it: “You should go to the gym more, stop buying ice cream sandwiches, update this blog more often, call your grandma, curb your taxi addiction, volunteer at the animal shelter, take a class, quit being a flake on plans, stop letting the kale go bad and actually make those grand salads you’re always planning, investigate the merits of various anti-aging face creams, and why haven’t you gone to the MoMA this year? Or last year? And shouldn’t you be running a marathon or something?”
There are a lot of things I could do, it’s true. But there are a lot of things that are good now, today, and they need to be enjoyed without ruinous worries about the future or what I could be doing alternatively. “Don’t ruin the cake mix,” as they say.
I’m so grateful for my always supportive and awesome husband (still getting used to that word!), my family, purring cats, my health, handmade socks, Pendleton blankets, libraries, candles that smell like woodsmoke, oysters, a creative career where I get paid to do stuff I actually enjoy, custard pie, bonfires, The New Yorker, homemade pasta, aimless drives down country roads, and fresh fallen snow. And I feel so lucky to be in New York; it’s not the easiest place to live, but somehow that makes me value it even more.
Now, to surround myself with all of these ideas (like a cashmere sweater!) the next time I am tempted to put on the hair shirt. Be gentle with yourself. That’s the best advice.