Recently, I was talking (OK, complaining) to a colleague about being stuck with a seemingly insurmountable number of work to-dos.
She offered that, when she’s overwhelmed, she shifts her mindset from “I have to” to “I get to.” She told me that this change in self-talk allows her to greet her work with more appreciation and excitement.
I’ll be honest, my first reaction to this statement was an internal eye roll. Because none of the tasks in front of me felt like things that I get to do at all. The mere suggestion of regarding them as a privilege made me more cranky.
I didn’t go into my week with the gratitude lens that my wise friend had offered me.
But I did go into it with determination. I was resolved to do what I had to do.
I’ve barely made a dent in what needs doing. But I made a bit of headway, and the small victory of the week is that I managed to overcome some learning curves.
Discouragement is a big issue for me when it comes to work. When I’m struggling to master something, it really doesn’t take much for me to deflate. At that point I end up avoiding rather than persisting with my work.
Each time I get trapped in this cycle, I remember the words of one of my lab partners in grad school.
I had begged him to give me the answer to a problem in a problem set we were working on. I promised him I’d work backwards from there.
“No,” he told me. “Until you learn how to struggle your way to the answer, this class isn’t going to get easier for you.”
He was right. And I shouldn’t complain, because these days my challenges are a lot easier than genetics problem sets. More than half the time they involve figuring out something with technology or social media.
Something good happened when I was able to persist through learning curves, rather than be being taken down by then. I did, in spite of myself, feel more grateful.
Cooking drives me crazy, but basically it’s what I love to do. And I have a job that allows me to share what I make and learn with others.
Nutrition counseling, especially with eating disorders, can be emotionally taxing. But it’s also a seat on the front lines of healing. On a good day—and there are more good days than tough days—it’s so life-affirming.
Social media and technology can be a pain. But they allow me to connect with people who are passionate about the things I’m passionate about.
That isn’t cause for complaint. It’s reason to stick with the platforms, to keep adjusting as they change, remembering that on the other side of keeping up with them is the ability to stay rooted in a community that I love.
So my friend is right: it’s a wonderful thing to shift one’s frame of mind from “I have to” to “I get to.” I wasn’t able to force myself into going there, but it happened, all the same.
Once it did, I saw the truth of something my yoga teacher said today in class: “if you want to change your life, you have to change the way you think about your life. There is never another way.”
I’m not sure if she wrote that or somebody else did. But anyway, I agree.
Happy Sunday, friends. Glad that I get to sit down and write this post each week. Here are some recipes and reads.
Excuse me while I bookmark all of the cozy pasta and risotto dishes for fall! Starting with this vegan tortellini soup.
Mushroom leek risotto is also on my list (I love leeks).
Ali’s broccoli and tempeh bacon pasta is a dish that I know I’ll make. And make, and make.
And speaking of peanut butter, Jessica’s peanut butter cake looks like a slice of heaven to me.
1. A sparely written, yet harrowing (and inspiring) account of life in the wake of a near-death accident.
2. An interesting take on the difference between “what you’re like” and “who you are.”
3. This article is over a year old. But I just found it, and I’m sharing it today so that any person out there who relapsed into ED behaviors during Covid can understand that they weren’t alone.
The pandemic set many folks back in their recovery journeys. But there are ways to move forward right here, right now, for always.
4. I love seeing that Today’s Dietitian is covering some of the body-shaming practices that befall female athletes.
This article discusses the classic “female athlete triad” (disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteopenia/osteoporosis), but it takes a deeper dive, with inclusion of tips for RDs (including me!) who want to support their young athlete clients.
5. Why do allergies appear and disappear? As a person who was walloped with environmental allergies in my early thirties, I’d love to know for sure. Until we find the answer, I’ll keep reading about our inquiries.
And hoping that I one day become not-near-deathly-allergic to cats.
On that note, friends, time to wind down this Sunday. I’ll be back this week, with a little more meal prep stuff, and also (I hope!) a new recipe.
Oftentimes when I read about the importance of saying no and setting boundaries, the advice seems to assume that the things being declined aren’t all that desirable: unmanageable amounts of work, exhausting social commitments, and so on. This week, I learned how hard it is to turn down things that might be very enjoyable, but yet feel like too much. As soon as I was on the mend, I wanted so badly to connect with friends, get back to work, and feel more…
Happy Sunday. After a week of weird, warm, soupy weather in New York, it has been a perfect fall weekend. Even the rain yesterday was perfect in its own way: a perfect excuse, anyway, for making hot chocolate, reading, and turning inward. My reading material has been Julia Turshen’s new book, Small Victories, which is as warm and personable and practical as everyone says it is. It is far from vegan, which in my opinion is OK because the book is far more focused…
There are a lot of things that should have gotten more of my attention than they did this past week. What got most of my attention instead was my bread baking. A set of new loaves every morning. Bread baking has been a part of my life since the spring of 2017, when I was limping my way through a breakup and found Ali Stafford’s Bread, Toast, Crumbs. Soon after, I found Emilie Raffa’s Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, and my love affair with homemade…
This week, I read Jancee Dunn’s thoughts on a new book, which is titled The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly. The author, Margareta Magnusson, has written previously about “death cleaning,” which is a little less grim than it sounds. Basically, it’s the practice of clearing away unnecessary belongings, so that nobody will be tasked with doing it after you’ve passed away. The idea is to reduce burdens, both physical and literal, so that you can grow older unencumbered. I’m excited to actually read…