Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

As already stated, I think the main culprits for lack of time/busyness/overwhelm is mostly phone addiction and trying to live up to certain expectations. So why don’t I just – you know – put my phone down more, and do less stuff?

Well, I’m going to go back to something that more than one person has put forward as a theory, and is a little controversial – I think because it hurts feelings – but I think goes down to the heart of the issue, at least for me. The proposed theory is that, ultimately, we are all too busy because we need to look important. And I rolled my eyes at that at first. But the more times I heard it, the more it niggled at me (YES, that’s a real word!). So many things I do – hobbies, keeping up with people, trying to know what’s on the news 24/7 – there is no doubt a lot of that does have to do with actual desire to know and enjoyment – but – I began to realize a lot of it actually is based on the desire to shape others’ perception of me – kind of like my perfection issue I posted about a while back.

I had a moment just the other night where the statements I just made in the previous paragraph came to life. I was out shopping with a friend – she had been in a wedding the weekend before, and I had been invited to the wedding, but declined. Now, I feel my decline was legitimate – I’d been to two different states in just the previous week and a half and this would have involved a third, and it was one of the first weekends yet this year where I wasn’t preparing for visitors or something – but I still felt kind of bad for declining because, technically, I could have done it. I would just have had to postpone my dentist appointment and be willing to pay for a hotel – it was a drivable distance, so no flight.

So, as I explained again, probably needlessly, to my friend why I hadn’t gone, I found myself struggling to come up with verbiage to sound busy. I had an appointment, plus a church thing the night before – it was just all so busy. Yup, literally the words I used. And as I spoke them, I realized exactly what I was doing. I was using the word busy to make it seem like I just had so much going on I couldn’t handle another thing, when in actuality, I just needed a break. And yes, I did end up having a lot going on that day – I went to my appointment, then we met a couple for lunch, and went shopping for my wardrobe refresh, plus church on Sunday, and more shopping – I got home pretty late both nights – so it isn’t like I was sitting at home. But you know what? All those things I did? They were my choice. I had chosen to do those things instead of 1. Go to the wedding and 2. Stay home and rest. It wasn’t that I was “too busy” to go – it was that I had chosen to do other things instead.

And, it further occurred to me that it was both dishonest and self-focusing to boil it down to “It is just so busy.” Yes, I had all those epiphanies in a matter of a few awkward seconds of quiet. So, I corrected myself. “I take it back – it wasn’t busy. It was just pure laziness – I didn’t feel like going.” And you know what? She didn’t yell at me, and I don’t think she even judged me. And I felt like I was actually being honest not just with her, but with myself. It felt like a major breakthrough to be able to verbally say I wasn’t busy – I had just chosen to do something else. I also immediately started judging myself for being too lazy and thinking of all the different things I should have, could have, would have. But you know – I think that was actually really important – for me to realize in my journey toward not feeling so “busy” that what I chose that weekend was actually a choice and I was out doing things of my choice that, yes, involved me being out all day – but wasn’t just busy for the sake of busy. I don’t know – I feel like I’m not explaining this super well.

I guess what I think I’m trying to get at is – due to social media, work, and perfectionism, I expect a lot from myself, I want to prove myself to both myself and others, and I fear others’ opinions. I get overwhelmed and busy because I am always trying to live up to those expectations and because I feel like there is a modern expectation to be busy – have you spoken to anyone in the last decade who didn’t respond with “busy” when asked how they were? – which I think is fueled both by the desire to hold up to unrealistic standards and so I don’t feel less important than someone else who is talking about everything they are doing. I add to my own business by constantly trying to get the best deals and therefore heaping “shadow work” on myself, and try to combat all the constant pressure and decision fatigue by mindlessly scrolling through my phone so I don’t have to think about it too deeply – which, ironically, also adds to my own perception of being too busy.

If I want to redeem my own time I think I need to reshape the way I think and act. So, here are my goals (because you all know I am a list person):

  1. Be willing to be second best at work – do my best as a Christian without having to be the person people always come to for help (because, yes, I do struggle with that desire)
  2. Be willing to accept “good enough” decisions on things like travel, and online shopping, and things like that so I don’t spend hours researching those things and become exhausted making all those decisions.
  3. Be willing to miss out on some things – don’t constantly check my phone, e-mail, or social media for missed calls, texts, posts, updated news, and other things that eat away at my time, energy, and self-confidence.
  4. Purposefully take time away from my phone and other electronics to pursue my old loves (reading, writing, etc.). Set the phone down when with friends and family – including when watching movies with them.
  5. Stop myself from saying the word “busy” and instead recount what I am actually doing with my life when asked to acknowledge that the things I am doing are my choices and not the choice of some mythical “busy” being.

I have high hopes for the future, guys! Thanks for listening while I talk through all my issues, and please pray for me as I work to redeem my time.


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I finished my first ever Master’s class almost a week ago and it has been almost too busy this week to even realize it – yet, when I think about doing this week and adding studies in, I shudder. We are taking a break until January – one, holidays and two, apparently we weren’t quite mentally prepared for the amount of exertion starting a masters would entail. I know all you people who already have masters are laughing at me right now, and I do not blame you at all.

On the delightful side, one of my best friends in the whole world came to visit me for the long weekend! We walked five miles yesterday, and took the path from near my apartment to Alexandria, where we proceeded to eat at Bilbo Baggins pub and then shopped. I convinced her to buy two dresses and then we went to a bookstore and I walked out with too many to carry without the assistance of a paper bag. It was so much fun! We spent all day walking there and shopping and then my husband came and picked us up and we went home, ate dinner, and watched Anne of Green Gables while we had cocktails, popcorn, and cupcakes from Alexandria Cupcakes. Truly a girls day. Now we are back in Alexandria, crashing at a cute little coffee shop and supposedly writing, but really doing random thing like shopping online or uploading photos to facebook. The plan is to go out for dinner, go back home, watch Anne of Avonlea and play with makeup – especially Tarte’s Mermaid Palette.

We are both planning to do NaNo this year, and are so excited! She is still determining her exact plot, but I think I am finally going to finish (or attempt to finish) that fantasy book I started a few years ago – the one that keeps writing itself even when I don’t want it to? Yeah. Ethrill. I have no idea what is going to happen, and I am becoming impatient for the characters to tell me. With only, what, 25 ?, days to go – it is actually time to start thinking through it!



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I’m sorry this is not a story update, but I thought I’d give a little glimpse of what I am currently working on by way of an excuse for not writing more.

Thanksgiving week was crazy busy. We were at my in-laws all week, and I took charge of all meals. My youngest sister-in-law has a terrible case of ulcerative colitis and cannot leave her bed most days, and therefore my mother-in-law is exhausted. By way of giving her a break, I basically took over while I was there, which I was more than happy to do, but meant I spent a majority of my time in the kitchen if we weren’t visiting with family. I have also been appointed the Thanksgiving coordinator, which means I was in charge of coordinating and supervising Thanksgiving dinner, as well as cooking several of the dishes. Again, totally fine and fun! Everyone knows I love organizing and scheduling things! But again, not a lot of time for writing or anything else, really. So we came back Sunday, after driving through the night (18 hour drive, not counting stops), exhausted, but happy we went, as always.

After a 5 hour nap, we got up and immediately began preparations for our huge Christmas party on Saturday. Let me tell you about this Christmas party. I have always wanted to host a cocktail party and a Christmas party, so with how weekends worked out this year, we decided to combo it and do a cocktail Christmas party! Of course, me being me, I wanted to make it all pretty and formal, and I’m super excited about it! We just messed up on one thing . . . we assumed most people would not be available since in previous events we have hosted, only half the people say yes, if that. So we invited about 40 people, in hopes of having between 15 and 20, with a minimum of like 12 and, so we assumed, a maximum of 20.

Can you guess how many are coming? As of right now, 33. So. We are cooking for over 30 people. Formal dishes. Appetizer portions, but still. Not to mention the variety of cocktails and beverages. So this has become a bit pricey and rather time consuming. It took me like 3 hours Sunday  night to make the grocery list and then purchase about 3/4 of it on Walmart grocery pickup to save at least some time. We’ve been slowly purchasing other items throughout the month, but last night we had to go out and finish getting a majority of groceries and all the random stuff we hadn’t gotten yet, like cups and napkins and toys for the kids that will be coming, etc. I can’t even think about the amount of money spent without a shudder. With the result that both Sunday night and last night, we only got about 5 hours of sleep. And no writing time.

I had to write extremely elaborate schedules for Thursday – Saturday to ensure I would have enough time for everything. Tonight is the bake meat pies / set up Christmas decorations / buy and set up the Christmas tree / buy the stuff we couldn’t get yesterday night. Tomorrow is the clean the entire house (man, does it need it!) / finish Christmas decorations / set up all the tables and decorations / make the party favors night. Thursday – Saturday: Cook, cook, and cook some more. And also try to find room in the freezer. Which may not be possible. So maybe buy ice and keep stuff in a cooler instead.

So that is my life update. Don’t get me wrong, it is going to be a ton of fun and I am glad we are doing it – it just means very little room to breathe right now.

Hourglass small at top (time left), big at bottom (stuff to do).


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So it finally happened. The day I always knew would come. The day I gave into a pushy pirate.

I was left alone and helpless – a single impressionable figure in the midst of a crowd. I did the right thing. I buried my face in my phone, didn’t glance his way, barely mumbled thank you when he shoved the dime-sized sample into my hand.

“Just let me show you one thing.” he pleaded. And that is where I made the mistake. Where I normally would have shaken my head and hurried on without bothering to be polite and responsive, I looked up. “No thank you, I am in a hurry.” I said. I don’t know what came over me. If I was feeling vulnerable after having battled the crowds at the store I had just left. Or, more likely, if I had been away from a mall for too long and had forgotten that the only way to say no to pirates, also known as salesmen, was to be rude.

“I know, I know – really quick, just one thing.” With a skeptical glance around me, I turned off the screen to my phone and he knew he had me. I feel like the hands motioning me toward his stand were more like tentacles drawing me towards my death.

I reluctantly took a couple steps forward so he could show me the “one quick thing”, and next thing I knew, his hands were in my hair. “What are you doing?” I wanted to demand, but my polite upbringing provided a barrier against the words coming out. He purred and simpered over me, as he showed me the flat/curling iron that would make perfect curls in my hair that wouldn’t fall out. “When you curl your hair, it never stays, yes?” He asks. I nod, truthful to the end. “You have thin hair” He says. “No, I don’t!” I defend myself, offended that the thick hair I am proud of was called thin. “Oh, you have thick hair” he quickly corrected himself. “It is just the strands – they are thin.They will stay this time.” He brings the attention back to the curls. He shows me how to straighten it out, assures me that it is the one product that doesn’t damage my hair. I think about just pulling away and running, but envision that going badly with a steaming hot flat iron entangled in my hair.

“You like it? You like it?” Again, I politely nod. “Normally $300, but today is [insert some random anniversary], so we have a special sale! We will sell it for only $189!”

“No thank you.” I am proud of myself for getting the words out. “The price is too high?” I nod again, looking wistfully at my hair clip placed just out of reach and the myriads of people passing us, oblivious to my desperate situation.

“Tell you what, tell you what. Just for you, I will give you [insert special person] price! I will bring it to [rapidly typing numbers on his calculator] $120!!” He flourishes, expecting hallelujahs and angels. “Uh. No thank you.” He looks as though I have just crushed his entire world, and feeling appropriately guilty, I let him straighten my hair out again, grab my clip and step away, my hair now my own again.

I begin walking away. “Wait, wait – one minute!” He calls after me. Once again, I ask, what came over me? Have I been away from crowds too long? Did I have an aneurysm? Did I just zone out? For whatever reason, I stopped and turned back. He hurriedly whispers to the other guy at the stand.  I glance stealthily behind me and begin inching back, thinking I should just walk away, and then thinking how rude that would be after I had already stopped.

He motions me back and, I will say, I pursed my lips to show my intense displeasure at being detained even longer, but politely step back towards him.

“I have asked my boss for permission.” he tells me in a low voice as if telling me a magnificent secret. “And – just for you – because I want you as a customer – I will give up my commission and give you this product for [pause for dramatic effect] $89.99.” He looks at me as though expecting me to break out in a wide grin, all my wishes and dreams come true.

I feel tired and defeated from all this human interaction. “Um. . .”

“But! But, in exchange, you must promise to recommend me to your friends! Pinky promise!” He holds out his pinky finger for a pinky promise. With confusion I look at it, and at him, my brain telling me to run, my imagination instantly amused at his quoting Despicable Me, my hair-that-never-curls looking at the curling iron, and the rest of me bursting with the need to be kind and polite.

I barely shake his pinky finger. In ecstatics, he shows me the multitude of colors I can get, types up my sale, and holds out his hand for a credit card, which I shamefacedly hand to him, sign the receipt, and rush away, hardly able to believe I just let myself get sucked into that, and looking angrily at my $100 purchase, thinking it had better work, and trying to think of the best way to tell my husband that I just spent that much money on a hair product I never use.

Husbands reaction as I begin telling him the story: Uncontrollable bursts of laughter, as he assures me that my story itself was worth the $100.

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