In recognition of a new year/decade and in compliance with the subtitle of the Lo and Behold blog “Things I think”, I offer this window into what I have thinking about. Albeit not as crazed as this, I do have a rotation of obsessive thoughts to guide me through sleepless nights, throughout the day and into the new decade.
Obsessive thought #1 Climate change – I know I am not alone in this. There are three themes a) how did we let this happen? b) what can I personally do about it? Which then goes into list-making of all the things I can personally do: vote for candidates determined to take on the fossil fuel industry; make household changes such as reducing single use items (toilet paper?), avoid plastic (what do we do with plastic we already have?) buy used or, better yet, don’t buy at all. All these good intentions and ideas are balanced by the knowledge that it won’t be enough. C) Since I know that my personal actions won’t save the forests and oceans, should I just stop fretting? But, then again – what about my children grandchildren. So I will continue to not eat meat, to make my own (inferior) cleaning products in glass bottles and to feel guilt when I break down and use a plastic bag. No wonder I can’t sleep.
Obsessive thought 2 – the Beauty Industry. Since I can remember, I have been subjected to and beholden to marketing that convinces girls and women that we must be on a constant race to improve our appearances and that there is something wrong with every part of our bodies. Why are exfoliating, moisturizing, plucking, dyeing, waxing, masking, contouring, etc as part of our routines? I’ll tell you why – because we have fallen prey to corporations needing us to believe in these processes in order to for them to profit off the insecurities they created. Why isn’t okay to have wrinkles or go grey or accept our own skin? (Answer: there is no money in that.). These thoughts help me accept how I look in my unadorned form. However, I must balance this awakening with my lifelong love of makeup, my fondness for a good skincare routine and the enjoyment of a gossip session with my hairdresser. So I mull this over in the wee hours.
Obsessive thought 3 – Wedding Planning. Although my daughter is not tying the knot until spring of 2021, there is much to contemplate. Like the beauty industry, there is an entire industrial complex for weddings. Unlike my own wedding, which perhaps went too far in the frugal direction, contemporary millennial weddings are insane. So many details! So many options! So much money! But, then again, this is my only daughter and best friend we are talking about and we are a gaining a great son-in-law, so bring it on. No wonder I can’t sleep.
#4 Travel, which is to say, travel packing – we are taking a long European trip this spring and I have spent a fair amount of time researching locations, finding hotels, reserving entrances to popular museums and purchasing train tickets. I’ve read guidebooks and travel blogs and forums. But where I really focus my sleepless energy is on packing. With a goal of packing very light, armed with a new backpack, packing cubes and minimalist advice, I mentally repack the same dozen items. And then counter that with a desire to take another pair of shoes, a dress just in case and the aforementioned beauty products that none of us need. It’s a good problem for have. It keeps me awake.
#5 My little ones – I am constantly surprised and amused by the antics of a 3 ½ year old and a one year old. Lo has changed so much – she can express her feelings, replay the past, and act out an imaginary world. She is stubborn, bold, loving and funny. Despite my goal to record all the funny things she says, I have fallen short. But, here’s a recent one that charmed me: obsessed with princesses and all things pretty, Lo recently ranked me as her most beautiful family member. Despite the fact she was delirious with a high fever at the time, I am going to chock this up as evidence that my skin care routine is working. And, Cora! She is arguably the cutest baby I have ever seen, but it is her joyous determination that kills me. A nascent walker, she toddles and falls all day long. She is enthralled by Lo will go to great lengths to insert herself into Lo’s world. Lo is loving and patient, but she has a limit. But, no matter how many times Cora knocks over an elaborate princess world and how many times Lo shouts “Cora! No!” – Cora is back for more. All of this is so rich and satisfying – analyzing their personalities, seeking their genetic predispositions, replaying our interactions, watching their relationship grow, picturing them as flower girls in my daughter’s wedding, holding them on my lap – it is truly why climate change matters. And why my appearance or the size of my suitcase doesn’t. And why I can miss a little sleep in order to obsess.