Sobering Thoughts

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So I just found out that I have to stop drinking for a month. I’ve been having stomach issues and my doctor’s put me on a medication that doesn’t mix well with alcohol, so it’s 4 long weeks on the wagon for me.

And you know what? I’m scared.

I’m scared because I’m realizing how much of my life revolves around drinking. I’m disappointed in myself for becoming someone who can’t meet new people without a drink in her hand. I’m afraid that I won’t be social and that people won’t hang out with me because I’m not drinking.

I haven’t been sober for this long since I was 18.

When I lived in Ireland, everything revolved around drinking. I went on job interviews at pubs, I drank with professors at lunch, we always met our friends out for pints. But I drank alone, too, because things were hard and it made life seem less stressful and more exciting.

But I think I’m the most scared that I won’t be able to do it. That I won’t even be able to make it a month. That drinking is too hard wired into me to let it go, even for the sake of my own health.

And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Not the only one who asks herself on Sunday morning if maybe it was too much. Gives herself pep talks on the way home from the liquor store to justify a bottle of wine I will drink alone. Judges people at parties who say you don’t have to drink to have fun.

Well, I guess I’m about to find out.

What’s Your Morning Ritual?

I know it’s a little late for New Years resolutions, but I’m starting to feel settled at my job and finally have more energy to dedicate to life outside work (whaaaa?). I’ve been an aspiring morning person for a long time so I picked up Laura Vanderkam’s book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast for a little advice…

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In it she talks about using mornings to focus on personal growth through activities like exercising, writing, or meditating and sustaining them over long periods of time. She claims the benefits of morning rituals: people feel more fulfilled, have long-term career success, and are more focused and productive during the day. Her reasoning is interesting:

“Getting things down to routines and habits takes willpower at first but in the long run conserves willpower… Ultimately, self-control lets you relax because it removes stress and enables you to conserve willpower for the important challenges.”

I like the idea and, in turn, have been getting up early to write for an hour before work (almost) every day. Here’s what I’ve liked and disliked so far…

Pros

  1. I feel like a superhero! I’ve gotten up, eaten breakfast, caught up on email, and written for an hour before most people in my building are even awake.
  2. I like investing in my creative life. My job is really technical and it’s nice to still flex my artistic muscles even if its not my main focus right now.
  3. It makes me more focused at work. I’ve had a chance to brainstorm and daydream before I even get to the office so I’m not so distracted.

Cons

  1. Waking up is hard. I love sleeping, hate mornings, and it’s so easy to get derailed.
  2. Writing now feels like a chore, which duh is the point, but I’m surprised at how quickly I burned out on something I love. It make me wonder if I’m fostering my creativity or forcing it.
  3. It’s another thing to push through. Sometimes my writing goes great and I feel awesome, but other days I feel frustrated or disappointed, which is a tough way to start the day.

Looking at my list, I definitely feel like it’s worth it to keep up my writing ritual (it was actually kind of tough to come up with cons!), but it makes me wonder if I’ll eventually lose my love for it because I’m forced to do it everyday. Or will I just love it more because I do it everyday? The jury’s out.

So, I’m curious: do you have morning routines? What do you do? Is it something you love to do or something you feel obligated to do? Any tips on keeping it up? Hit me up!

Women’s March Madison + 3 Things I’m Pledging to Do

On Saturday I marched with thousands of women and men (and children and grandmas and families) to say that we will not be silent for the next four years. It was the first time since I voted for Hillary Clinton that I felt proud of our politics, that I felt any sort of hope for our future.

After living abroad for so much of the election the divisions here at home came as a shock. The last few months have been hard for a lot of reasons, but watching Trump throw tantrums at the media and scramble to assemble a (white, male) cabinet have been an underlying source of depression.

But the power, excitement, and humor of the Women’s March was so energizing and has me thinking a lot about my own actions and impact on the future. I’ve also seen so many poignant posts about the necessity of intersectional feminism and how much work there is to be done by my demographic (myself included) to support black women, trans women, and indigenous women.

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There’s a lot of discussion about now what – we did the march, but we have to keep the momentum. I’m so excited to see what comes next in this movement and here are a few things that I’m pledging to do:

1. Contact my new local representatives, especially Republican senator Ron Johnson who has consistently voted against access to contraception and abortion. Boooooo.

2. Dedicate a portion of my monthly income to local women’s organizations – I’m coming for you Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and YWCA of Madison!

3. Do more to celebrate the amazing women in my life – call my best friends more, go home for the weekend to hang out with my grandma, reach out to women at work who I find inspiring. Ever since I left Bryn Mawr I’ve felt like I’m missing my community of women, but I have so many great female friends, mentors, and family members right here. It’s time to cultivate these relationships again.

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Did you go to the women’s march? If so, where? I’ve seen so many amazing photos, signs, and stories from Saturday – would love to hear. And if there’s anything that you’re doing as a next step, let me know too! There’s a lot flying around about important actions to take from here and I’m all ears.

“As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.”

Bread and Roses, 1911