Monday, August 2, 2010

Hi, my name is Justine and I am a…

It’s August. My favorite month of the year. Also known around these parts as my birthday month. Yes, in a few short days I will be a year older than I’ve been all this year (in case you were wondering). But dare I reveal that number? Not so much. A few years ago, I would have declared it willingly because I knew I didn’t look that age. It was a point of pride. But now looking youthful is no longer enough, and so I stop myself; the hesitation stems from a number that comes with certain expectations, like I feel that I should have arrived at a specific point in my life, that I should be accomplished in my career and living my aspirations. And the fact that I am not makes me cringe at this number.

But these days, it’s not just my age that bothers me. My preoccupation with numbers is beginning to weigh me down – it doesn’t help that “numbers never lie”, especially these ones:

1. Comments/ RSS feed/ Site visit count on this blog – these are the ways in which I seek validation from my readers; apparently, the lower the count, the more irrelevant my thoughts are. At least that’s how I perceive it. I know, this isn’t good for my mental health, and yet I can’t help myself. Just this past weekend, a fellow blogger who’s light years ahead of me surprised me by featuring my blog on her site (thank you, Kludgy Mom!), and it instantly made me wonder - would that help the numbers? It’s stupid. I’m not even sure why I check my stats on Google Analytics if this blog was meant for my daughter. It’s not like she’s going to love me any less if my blog isn’t as fabulous as others’ or if I’m not as eloquent as other moms...or is she?

2. The 1,2,3’s – we’re not the sit-and-teach type of parents, where we make Little Miss memorize her numbers and alphabets, and we don’t even send her to a daycare that does that. It’s important to us that she learns from play at this stage of her life, but when I hear about certain prodigies at Little Miss’ age, I begin to wonder if I’m limiting her potential. Should I be actively coaching her instead of laughing at her adorable attempts to count? (“Two, two, tree, tree, four, fies, seez......eight, nine, ten!”) Yet, when I see how extraordinary she is, I don’t feel that she is behind. She may not know her ABCs, but she sings it - that counts for something right?

3. The loads (yes, always plural) of laundry - when does it ever end? Is anyone out there engineering biodegradable (and fashionable) disposable clothes? If so, sign me up. I’ll gladly give up the kid’s college fund for this. If not, what the hell are you waiting for?!

4. Speaking of college funds – we have none (I’m throwing in a “yet” here because I’m optimistic). We’re still busy saving up for other things that require $$$.  You know, like EVERYTHING.

5. The last five pounds – ah yes, the neverending cycle of pain we put ourselves through for the mythical “last five pounds”. In reality, I’m healthy, but the last five pounds is never about health. It’s vanity. I readily admit I do worry about how I look in a bathing suit. And jeans. And a tank top. And a cute little sundress. Come to think of it, this may be why Fall is my favorite season. Time to get those last five pounds back under those layers of clothing again, where they can go into hibernation until the next summer. That is if we don’t plan a beach vacation in the middle of winter. But we usually do. Doh!

6. The numbers on the clock – I’m always racing towards the weekend, desperate for the extra hours I get to spend with my family, especially my little girl who I spend so little time with on week days. But I often forget that in my rush, extraordinary moments happen even on an ordinary Tuesday. Thanks to this wonderful reminder from my friend Hyacynth, I realize that I have to stop wishing our lives away just because I have a warped notion that quality time exists only within the realm of the weekend.

Did you notice that the above is also a numbered list? I need help I know. I have to let go of my obsession with numbers, but I think more than that, I just have to let go. Of my need for validation. Of my need to keep up. Of my need to be efficient. Of my need to prove to myself. Of my need to prove myself to others. Of my need to seek a far away happiness and as a result miss what’s right in front of me.

But is it really possible? Can I really let go of this unhealthy preoccupation? I don’t know, but I’m willing to try. And I’m starting with this:

Hi, my name is Justine, and I’m a soon-to-be 35-year-old.

There. Baby steps. And I won’t even count them.





If you blog, what do the numbers mean to you? Bloggers and non-bloggers alike, do you have any unhealthy obsessions? Care to share?

What about your age – how do you feel about it? Do you feel you’re close to, exactly or nowhere near where you’d imagined yourself to be at your age?

And on a completely unrelated topic, do you have any idea how I can get rid of the Elmo’s World theme song from my head? Thanks to Little Miss’ own obsession, Elmo, I’ve been singing his damn song for the past three days now and it. has. to. stop. Help!