Measuring

The list of my city's Top 40 under 40 came out this month and I know about eight people on the list. Young, ambitious, go-getters, doing good things for our city and for the world, and all that jazz. And as I read the write ups on all of them, all I could feel was, "SHIT! Most of these folks are 10 years younger than me, what the heck have I done with my life?" I had to stop for a minute and think of what I have done with my life.

I put myself through university, paid off my student loans (eventually), had a successful career in the Pharmaceutical industry, jointly saved up and paid for our destination wedding, designed and built THREE houses in the past 10 years, birthed two children, started my own business, helped to create a community of and for like-minded parents online, (re)discovered my love of writing and embraced my feminist self.  And all of this life experience, I am using to continue to write and opine and educate (myself and others) through my blog and on social media. It's really not that bad of a list... so far.

So much of what we do and see and say these days is so outwardly focused. We are online throughout our days seeing what other people are saying and doing, waiting to find out what the "right" response should be about world events and news, what charity to support, whose bandwagon to jump on this week, what new fandangle all the cool kids are doing (um... hello Ello!). It can get a bit overwhelming and sometimes even depressing, especially when we start feeling like we don't measure up to the these standards of success or status or "coolness" that we have given credence to.

One of the major lessons that I have learned in my life, and to be honest, probably just in the last few years (so, that would be AFTER 40) is that making a difference in the world or in someone's life, is not about doing the "volunteer all your time, give all your money, go to al the GALAs and do all the FLASHY things" stuff. It is about finding what speaks to your heart, being true to yourself, setting healthy boundaries and not living within a framework of fear, shame, and scarcity - which too often seem to be the default settings for many in our world.

It's the scarcity one that gets me all the time though. You may be more familiar with it as, " I am not ___________ enough.". And it is statements like these that can send me into a tailspin of self-doubt and negative self-talk faster than a room full of toddlers an hour after eating red-icing covered cupcakes. It is what happened as I was reading all the Top 40 nominees and their long lists of accomplishments. It's what happens when I read bios for other bloggers and presenters at social media conferences and yes, it even happens on the playground or school yard when I start hearing about all the extra curricular activities and programs other families have their kids enrolled in. I get out my imaginary measuring stick and it all goes downhill from there.

I sometimes feel like the scarcity issue is a double-edged sword too. One doesn't want to seem too cocky about oneself either and be all, I am enough, I have enough, I DO enough. Especially if there are those around you who actually don't have enough. There's this feeling that lurks around telling us that if we are TOO happy, then there must something wrong with us. This results in conversations that turn into a competition for who can out-misery the other. "Your kids won't eat their lunches? Well, that's nothing, MINE will only eat peanut butter, from the jar, with a special spoon."  "You think you are busy with your two kids in hockey? HA! I have to balance hockey, piano lessons, KUMON classes AND gymnastics for three kids." In the end, there really are no winners in a misery war.

The thing with these imaginary measuring sticks is this. One - they are IMAGINARY! And two - there is no standard length for them. Everyone's is different and all of these things that we feel the need to measure: happiness, success, business, balance, etc..., they are subjective. Someone having a REALLY good day and saying so on Facebook, doesn't mean that your day is bad. Someone getting a writing gig with a magazine, while you still trudge away writing on your little blog doesn't mean that your writing sucks. And someone whose kids do ALL THE THINGS, doesn't mean that their kids are any happier than or are "getting an edge over", your kids. What all of this means is simply, different strokes for different folks.

I am sitting here looking over the Top 40 list again and doing so from a slightly different angle. One where I am not in the picture. One where I can be proud of the young, vibrant voices of the women and men that live and work in my community and my city and that are putting it on the map for the world to see.

Avenue Top 40 Under 40

 

I am putting away my measuring stick. Or repurposing it. I think I'll make it into my new walking stick and I'll take it with me along this path that is MY life. One in which I really am enough. One where I will walk beside my fellow humans, who also have their own walkings sticks. Some taller than mine, some made of a different wood, some decorated with fancy inlayed beads. And all the while, while we may admire each other's sticks, I'll know that my own stick is the one that keeps me upright, helps me navigate my footing in this world and is the one that is perfect, that is ENOUGH, for me.

 

 

 n~

 

 

 

 

how many joy units is that?

The Consort has been hounding me for months (or possibly years) to read a book. Not just any book, because I do read a lot of them, but one particular book. This one.

TWBR

And this weekend I caved. I had just finished a different book and was looking to start another and he, ever so nonchalantly, went to my bedside table, grabbed this book and placed it beside me on the couch.

OK, dude. I get it. I'll read the damn thing.

We all have those books that transform us or speak to us in ways others do not. When my husband was leaving his family home and taking off to the adult world of undergraduate studies at the ripe age of 17, the original "Wealthy Barber" book was given to him by his father. This is HIS book.

I am pretty sure when TC is doing anything financially-related in any way, the voice he hears in his head is David Chilton's. "Is this worth it? Are the joy units going to last long with this purchase? Have you saved FIRST?"

I fully admit that I am the spender in our family and The Consort is the saver. I do the clothes shopping for most of us, all of the grocery shopping and I am the one who buys the gifts for all the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Yes, we do have a family budget, that I stick to - about 87% of the time. It's that other 13% that gets TC's knickers in a knot and why he wants me to read what Mr. Chilton has to say about finances.

The funny thing is, that in the past year, I truly believe that my spending habits have changed. Or more specifically, my shopping habits have changed.

I know that part of the change has been a response to the life-altering time we experienced this past summer and from that has come much reflection on the things that truly matter in our lives. And you know what? More stuff is not IT. Another part of why my shopping habits have changed, is that I am much more aware of the influence that marketing has on us as consumers. Years of being a breastfeeding advocate and seeing the ways that infant formula is marketed has rubbed off and has me looking a lot more closely at the way ALL products are marketed. Being a blogger and a mother, I've also seen the way that marketing has taken hold in this age of new media and I am VERY sensitive to this in the blogging world. I am more aware now about the message I am hearing and who that message is coming from as well.

~~~~~

This past weekend, we were supposed to go away for a short little mountain getaway. That didn't happen, mainly because  it snowed and I have crap for tires on my car and we couldn't even get out of our little neighbourhood, let alone make it 300 kilometres to the lodge in the mountains. For the next four days we had to use my husband's compact car (which thankfully has AWD and all-season tires) for all our outings. What we both noticed over the weekend is how surprisingly easy it was to function with less car. And this included multiple errands, grocery shopping, and hauling all four of us around to various activities to make up for our missed trip to the mountains.

I have also recently purged every single closet in this house. My wardrobe alone is roughly HALF of what it was a month ago (if you know me at all, this is HUGE!). I am not quite down to Capsule Wardrobe numbers, but the philosophy behind this concept is guiding me right now in regards to what I keep, what goes and how I look at clothes shopping now. It's definitely a change. Especially for one like me, an admitted shopaholic, who gets greeted at Anthropologie BY NAME!

All of these things - reading David Chilton, surviving a week as a family of four with one compact vehicle, minimalizing our wardrobes - have happened at the same time and have caused a kind of cosmic convergence in my mind about how I want to live my life and about the lessons about money and spending and the value of what we HAVE versus the value of what we DO, that we are modelling for our children.

My family lives a very comfortable life, one that I am so very grateful for each and every day. It's just time for me take stock of all that we have, not get caught up in the game of keeping up with the proverbial Jones's and resist the messaging that we are bombarded with each day that we need MORE! More car, more house, more toys, more clothes, more STUFF.

Because we really do not.

My kid is not going to remember the expensive brand name winter boots he was wearing when he was eight years old or what kind of car I drove him to school in. He is more likely going to remember that his Mom bought new snow pants for herself that year, so that she could play outside and build a snow fort with him.

And trust me Mr. Chilton, the "joy units" from that purchase will never depreciate!

n~

 

how to make grocery shopping fun.

This post is brought to you by SPUD.CA

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When my kids were babies, I used to love grocery shopping. It was one of the things that got me (and my babies) out of the house and into pants other than ones of the yoga variety and the world of grown ups, and in line at the in-store coffee shop. And, I'll admit it, accomplishing this feat with babies in tow, used to make me feel like a super woman.

And then there were the times, when The Consort and I would finally get the babies to sleep and I would do the grocery shopping after 9 PM. I tell you, that is like the Golden Hour of grocery shopping. Barely anyone around, shelves getting restocked for the next day and again, the in-store coffee shop. I would leisurely walk every single aisle of the store, sipping my frothy latte, looking at new products, reading all the labels and squeezing all the melons. The soft hum of the store freezers was the background music to this idyllic scene and I swear customer service is at an all-time high at that hour as well.

Fast forward a few years and many more pounds of children to cart around and it gets a bit more complicated. Grocery shopping with toddlers and preschoolers involves multiple snacks, an iPad, the must-bring-toy-of-the-day and various other things that there is no room for in the cart. And yet, it can be done, with similar Super Woman-y feelings about it. You can luck out and get the ginormous cart that looks like a giant green toy car and this will entertain and contain the little buggers while you "drive" them around, picking up your cargo load of Bear Paws, mini carrots and cheese strings, so that you'll be stocked up on snacks for the next shopping trip. And of course, evening grocery shopping is still an option. A peaceful, get me out of the house, BY MYSELF, with no one touching me, hour or more of the weirdest self-care ever!

And now? Now I don't like the grocery shopping so much. And I know that this is going to come off as very #firstworldproblem-y, but it is what it is. Grocery shoping is just not as much fun anymore. Or, perhaps, I have simply figured out much better ways to administer my self-care, that I can now see through the facade that grocery shopping provided in those early, half-delirious with sleep-deprivation years.  Oh sure, I can still handle the big Costco trip once a month to get all the things that cost too much or are not available elsewhere, but the weekly stuff? With all the activities that make up our days now between school, work and extracurricular stuff, at this point, I just want someone else to do the groceries thing.

Enter SPUD.ca.

Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD) opened it's doors in Edmonton in September, 2014 and is delivering local and organic groceries to doorsteps throughout the city. Conveniently coinciding with the arrival of chillier temperatures and the closures of the summer farmers’ markets, the warehouse is now operating as the fourth SPUD office in Western Canada, enabling Edmontonians to stay connected to local producers and farmers, as well as the best in organic and sustainable groceries, all year long.

With over 1800 items including meat, dairy, grocery, produce, health, home and beauty, in SPUD’s online catalogue, diversity and convenience are what sets it apart. Ordering groceries from SPUD comes free of contracts or commitments, has a lower minimum order and later order cutoff time than other services, and does not require deposits on delivery boxes/bins.

A few weeks ago, we received a couple of boxes from SPUD delivered right to our front door. Eggs, bread, fresh organic apples and a great salad. All things that we needed and that I didn't have to leave the house to go get. The cute little pumpkin was a nice touch too and the kids loved it the most and proceeded to decorate it for our Halloween centrepiece.

SPUD Groceries

Our fridge is getting a little low on a few things this week, it's cold outside, and I have a lot of writing to do to catch up on my missed days for #nablopomo. Time for shopping is just not in the cards for me this week, so I am going to be putting in my first official order. If you think you want to give it a try too, use the following promo code to receive $40 worth of groceries when you spend $20. Feel free to share it with friends too - the promo code is: EDMSAVE and it is good until November 30th.

And with that my friends, grocery shopping is fun again!

Thanks again to SPUD for the great intro to their service and the yummy produce - although I am still trying to figure out what to do with the beets!

Cheers,

natasha~

 

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