I want to remember these days. The hard days with the push and pull of kids and parents transitioning through teenage years. The months (almost 9 now) of living with one bedroom and one bathroom and making the best of it. The whole of January being a gray, cold never ending month that we slogged through with skis strapped to our feet. Hockey games, and dances, curling up with books and yarn, and finding shows to watch with each kid. Taking advantage of Jesse’s some place warm meetings to get in a few days of alone time in the sun. (There was a huge worldwide poker tournament at the resort and I had the best time people watching and eavesdropping while pretending to read.) The pink/coral of flamingo is my favorite color.
Abram had his high school open house. Violet has begun talking about checking out a few (very far away) college campuses this summer. They’re only heading into their junior year, but they do want to narrow down some things. I am excited. I am sad. I don’t know how long, long days and years just disappeared into these that fly at a lightning pace. I want to do it all over again. Except I don’t. I just want to suck all the marrow out of my memories and squish as much joy in these days as I possibly can. Or do it again but with all the wisdom I’ve gained from the last 15+ years.
I haven’t talked about it here much, but a little over a year ago I started to learn how to love myself. Like really. It was a light switch moment brought about by years and years (and years) of counseling, tackling some really hard stuff without the support that I needed (and not knowing how to ask for it), Gary Janetti’s instagram (no lie), and accepting that if I wanted to live a life I wanted, I was going to actually have to stop asking for permission and live it. I started to tease the people around me that if they wanted the Kate who stepped up and made the plans, and executed the plans, and kept life humming along smoothly, they also had to accept the Kate who was bossy and persnickety and not afraid to say what she needed/wanted. A little side note: I was talking with my mom the other day about someone in my life who wants to be seen as perfect. My mom laughed and said, “I know some one like that. Her name is Katie Joy.” I laughed too and said, “Oh, I don’t care if people think I’m perfect, I just need to be perfect.” We laughed over the distinction, but then she said, “No, you really have changed in that regard. Especially in the last 12 months”. I’m still finicky and exacting. I’m defensive and dramatic. But learning to not just accept my quirks, but to delight in them, has changed my life. Profoundly. This is one of the major reasons I chose delight as my word for 2023. I want to delight in all of it. (I want to remember this feeling too.)
Now that I’m a little misty: it’s not Tuesday but let’s talk things.
Reading: Some great reads: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, Book Lovers by Emily Henry. Some okay books: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Things We Do in The Dark by Jennifer Hillier. Some I wouldn’t recommend: All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham, The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland. I’m also slowly working my way through Wintering by Katherine May and The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yogas Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele (this one is a year long practice that I’ve committed to. I think I will continue to dip in and out of it even after the year is over – there’s a lot of wisdom in it.)
Watching: On Peacock: Traitors (with V, we loved it). I’m very excited to see Andy Cohen host the reunion. The most recent season of The Real Housewives of Miami (just started). HBO: The Last of Us (very into this). Apple TV: Shrinking (loving, but it makes me sad too) Netflix: The Glass Onion (fun)
Knitting: I finished a baby blanket for a friend’s sister and have been spending a lot of time trying to get the advent mini’s on the sock yarn blanket. (I’ve been reading a lot, so less to report in the way of knitting).
Listening to: One of my good friends got me a year long subscription to wondery as a Christmas present so I’m committed to listening to more podcasts. A few that have captured my attention: Even the Rich, American Elections-Wicked Game, Imagined Life. Violet is always listening to a podcast and some of them sound amazing. I should really have them make a list.
So that’s me. I hope you are well. And I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Hello, Kate! Great photos, as always, especially Molly (*Molly*, right?) reaching her paw toward you. I got a chuckle as well with the sign by Jesse. V will be checking out colleges, and A will be off to high school! I don’t know either how it is that these days are now flying. (My youngest turns 18 next month. The speed of this has me bewildered.)
I’m so happy for you Kate, to hear you say that you have figured out how to love yourself. I’m a (somewhat recovering) perfectionist, so I understand the need to be perfect. I think for me it’s less about being perfect and more about having standards—which I think is a good thing—but I do see that for me there’s an undercurrent of something else entirely that drives my perfectionism.
Once I finish reading David Copperfield, I’ll have to check out Demon Copperhead. I’ve also just started reading Feminism’s Forgotten Fight by Kirsten Swinth. How far are you on your sock yarn blanket? What I can see in the photo looks beautiful. I’ve just been knitting socks, but I do want to order yarn soon to make another cardigan.
Have a good weekend, Kate! 🙂
Oh do I ever understand the undercurrent reasons of perfectionism. Learning mine has helped me find compassion for myself and that compassion has helped me find it for others. And I definitely agree with you that having standards – and living up to our own – is a good thing. Like anything it’s how to balance the teeter totter. Some days I’m better than others. 😉
Yes, it is Molly. She hates the nail gun/air compressor of construction and has been so needy. It’s sweet…but I’ll be ready for that stage to be over! And that sign by Jesse made me laugh too!!
I’m shocked that your youngest is about to be 18!! It makes me realize how long our friendship in this online realm has really been!! How are you holding up? Are you finding it easier or harder having been through it before? (Feel free to ignore if that’s a tough one to answer.)
I admire your sweater knitting!! My blanket is definitely a multi-year project. I just finished my 77th block – so only about 600 more to go before it’s the size I envision.
I definitely want to hear what you think of Demon Copperhead when you read it. Do you like David Copperfield? I tried reading it once in high school, but I think it was above my ability at the time! And now I need to look up Feminisms Forgotten Fight!
It’s always so good to hear from you, Marian!! Xoxo.
I am really enjoying David Copperfield. Even though it’s not a hard read, I know it would have been above me in high school too.
77/~677 is good progress in my books. 🙂
On my youngest turning 18 (and, I hope, going off to university in September)—I’m not holding up all that well, tbh. It was hard when our daughter and then our older son left home, but when our youngest leaves, we’ll be empty nesters and I will be—what? I knew this was coming and I’ve been trying over the past few years to figure out some way to reinvent myself, but for a whole host of reasons (some related to what underlies my perfectionism) I haven’t yet been able to do this.
I have a copy of it on my bookshelf! Maybe I should give it a try and not let Dickens intimidate me!
I can see how your youngest leaving would be hard in a different way than your older two. I wish I knew some good words to bring comfort, but I also know that whatever path you decide to go down you will continue to be the kind, earnest, passionate person you are.
I’m butting in because I know a little bit about this–the need to evolve into a new version of yourself (language I prefer to “reinvent,” as it feels gentler and maybe (?) more true). Having empty nested and now retired–so, losing both occupations that defined me for decades–I hope you will give yourself time. Time to grieve, time to heal, time to allow new things to emerge. I clearly haven’t been perfect in this! I told myself I was going to allow a year of no work, so that I could do those things, and even now two years into retirement I haven’t completely quit work outside our home. But the major stepping back I did this year has confirmed for me that the stepping back is valuable. Not comfortable, but so valuable. Life is short and precious and you deserve to give yourself the gift of time to see what you can see about what you need and how you want to live. I think this goes along with Kate’s words about learning to love yourself.
I loved getting a Tuesday post on a Saturday morning. What a wonderful gift.
I remember college visits and all the emotions that come with it.
I absolutely love that you are learning to love yourself. This is something I’m trying as well. Thank you for the Instagram recommendation. I get a lot of inspiration from there. As much as I try to avoid social media, I find a lot of comfort in the creators on Instagram and TikTok.
I’ll have to check out some of your books. Your yoga book is intriguing to me.
I’m currently watching season four of Real Housewives of Miami. I used to watch that show when it first aired, so it’s fun to see some of the original women again. Larsa continues to annoy the hell out of me.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Katie! 😘
Fair warning, Gary Janetti’s content wasn’t as enlightening as seeing someone who is imperfect and snarky and finicky (like me). I realized if I could like that in someone else (and others did too), maybe I could learn to like it in myself.
I skipped all the previous seasons of Miami and just started with 4 and as of this morning I’m all caught up! The resort they are at in the most recent episode is where I was just last week with Jesse so I got a kick out that! Miami is the only franchise where I enjoy all of the women even though I’ve disagreed with each of them at one time or another! I can see how Larsa could be annoying though!
Ally Bean says
No better Tuesday post on Friday have I ever read. I like your logic.
I’m glad you’re learning to love yourself and understand yourself and accept yourself. I suspect all perfectionists get to this point, if they want to remain sane. Talking about myself here, probably shouldn’t make assumptions.
I go through phases with podcasts. I adored them when they first came on the scene, but now I’m *meh* about most of them. I do like By the Book and Everything is Fine but I’m random about listening to them.
Yes. I think I may have been flirting with insanity at some points. (Or in a full on relationship).
I’m going to look up both of those podcasts. Like you, I go in phases and I’m mostly meh (I’m not an audiobook person either) but I really WANT to be a podcast person.
Perhaps a relationship with perfectionism is the common thread that binds all of us here? And do all perfectionists have difficulty loving ourselves? I suspect we do, which is why we think we need to be perfect. As well as having standards and wishing, often, that others would have the same ones we do. 🙂 I think that learning to love myself will be a lifelong project, and for me I’m finding that actually doing it (love as a verb) is giving me a pathway. This ties into what I wrote to Marian, above. For the first time in my adult life, I’m prioritizing my own well-being. Part of that is taking care of myself (I think often of your birthday post in which you said that a goal is to take “impeccable” care of yourself) and part of it is giving myself permission to like what I like and leave what I don’t. Much less ruled by “shoulds” these days. I am so excited for you that you’re doing that now, before your fledglings start leaving the nest.
As for -ings: I, too, loved Book Lovers and am enjoying The Last of Us. I was a little on the fence about Last of Us until the third episode. Now I’m all in, as it seems that it might not be quite what I was thinking it was. I struggle to find TV I like, but I have some new ones to try via a thread on Anne Helen Peterson’s Culture Study this week. I’ll report back. For reads, I highly recommend Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller. I think you might really like it. It’s not a book I would probably have picked up on my own, but I tried it because it was strongly recommended on a different Culture Study thread. The community there is also how I found Emily Henry.
Hope you are having a great weekend. I like a Kate that feels like she can share a Tuesday post on Friday. 🙂
It does sound as if perfectionism (and learning to love ourselves) is a theme for all of us here. It makes me wonder just how many of us are running around in the world and that makes me a little sad to be honest. It’s so much pressure.
I couldn’t agree with you more on love as a verb. I wish I could take credit for coming up with “impeccable care” but it was a podcaster who I don’t remember where I first heard it. It’s what I saw to myself when I don’t feel like flossing or going to bed on time. (Ha!) Actively caring for myself – the way I would anyone I love – has helped create love the feeling. It’s a bit like motherhood – when learning to attune – figuring when a snuggle or a snack or a nap is required based on subtle cues and signals. It’s overwhelming at the beginning but rewarding. I’m glad I’m learning it now, but like any (recovering) perfectionist I wish I had learned it earlier because I’m also now more loving as a partner, mother, friend, insert-noun-choice-here. A bit of a paradox that accepting imperfection makes me feel closer to “perfect”.
I haven’t heard of Culture Study before but I think I need to look it up. I’m always looking for book and television recommendations and I’m adding Why Fish Don’t Exist to my TBR. I’ve found myself enjoying reading again in a way o haven’t in a long time and with a few days off at the end of this week, I’m glad to add a few more books to the list!
Finally, I appreciate what you said to Marian. It’s wisdom I will be tucking into my back pocket for the days in the not too far future. I’ve appreciated you sharing the process of the hard and good work of taking care of yourself – figuring out what you need and want. It’s good to see you prioritizing your own well being. It seems like our kids are learning this lesson alongside us (or maybe even teaching us) which gives me a whole lot of hope.
Hope you have a wonderful week, Rita!!