Week 3: To kitty litter with love, stand up straight, unplug

One day late, I am bringing you my Week 3 update on progress towards the 22 in 22. I’m only picking three of them, although there is fodder for other articles in here. Who knows. You might even hear more about them next week!

#3 Scoop the kitty litter as an act of love

I love doing the kitty litter! It’s my favorite part of the day.

No one. Ever.

However. One of my kitties is very very sick. He is diabetic. I have been attempting to give him two shots of insulin a day since last summer. He has stopped responding even to the insulin and has developed this last week a lethargy that we know means that he will soon be leaving us.

My heart literally could not break any. more. than. it. does. when I think about how much this cat has meant to me over the last ten years.

When I worked at the radio station, and had become an obsessive workaholic, driving myself and my colleagues crazy with my perfectionist rages, it was this cat who appeared out of nowhere on my balcony at 6:00AM, scrawny, starving and filthy to reset my clock. It was a balcony…a rooftop terrace. There was no way he could have gotten there unless some heavenly battalion dropped him there.

We took him in, tried to find his home, put up posters, but no one ever claimed him.

Instead of staying at work for lunch for that first week after his arrival, I came home to check on him. And for 45 minutes, I would sit on the couch with a purring cat on my lap. This cat brought a modicum of balance back, when I was incapable of bringing it for myself. Sure, I was still a perfectionist crazyperson, but he taught me to sit still and let myself be loved.

Okay. So, now that I am crying again. I may not love doing kitty litter, but because I don’t know how else right now to take care of my feline friend, scooping his litter feels like an act of service. I don’t generally speak the “acts of service” Love Language very fluently, but I can understand its importance now. Sometimes, you just can’t affirm them and have it mean anything to them. Sometimes, a gift just won’t do it.

Sometimes, ya just gotta scoop the litter. And clear the book off your lap so he can snuggle.

#16 Improve my posture

I’m trying. I’m trying when I am alone, when I think of it, to just re-square my shoulders and take a deep breath.

But that would be too easy. I happened to be chit-chatting with a mom at the school gate. We were talking about extra-curricular activities, and how I had to take my littlest out of Circus School because we weren’t able to work out the scheduling issues.

Her daughter takes dance. I mentioned how formative dance had been for me as a little girl. How I thought that dance teaches those things that we all should learn: grace, to be comfortable with our bodies, posture… and she agreed.

She told me, “I decided, as an adult to go back and take a dance class there, too. But I gave it up because the only other students were teenagers. I felt stupid being this old lady in their class.” She went on to say, “But while I was doing it, I felt better about my body and my back hurt so much less!”

Then, the last thing she added was, “You wouldn’t want to take a dance class with me, would you?”

I did not laugh at her, believe it or not. Seeing as how my dream of running away to join the circus is on hold, I’m actually giving her proposition very serious consideration.

It would be an active investment in improving my posture this year. I haven’t said yes yet, because heaven knows, I am not interested in multiplying my activities. But I am intrigued.

More to come…

#17 Set aside “unplugged” hours in the day

Oh no. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet.

But this week I have tasted the necessity. And not just unplugged hours when my family is around. I need to set aside a specific moment when I am completely alone to unplug as well.

You see, last week, my circa 2006 Blackberry Curve died, taking all my phone numbers with it. My indulgent husband did the research to find me the very best phone for the budget we have. And…well…against my better judgment, it is a smartphone.

This means that even the moments that I used to have to be completely unplugged, like sitting waiting at school to pick up the boys, now have the potential of being plugged moments. This is great for work-related stuff. Not so great for mental health-related stuff.

So I need to come up with some rules around this before it gets out of hand and I have gone too far down the dependence rabbit hole to find my way back.

This week, I just wanted to see.

I wanted to see what it would feel like to be the person who can find out what the lyric to that song really actually says while standing in the ice cream section at the grocery store. I wanted to see what it would feel like to respond in nearly real time to an Instagram comment about the LEVITAYT stress-relief ring I was wearing in a photo (Promo code LILY15!) from a park bench while waiting for my child to hide during an intense game of Hide and Go Seek.

And I’ll tell you what? It feels pretty amazing.

But I need to not do things like that. Or at least, not as often as I did them this week. By being present far away, I am not being present nearby. And that is not okay.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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