who cares

This year I’m going for a “good-enough” New Year’s resolution. Clearly, because we’re near the end of January and I am only now coming up with a resolution. No lofty goals or profound words for me this year. I simply want to care less because I often care too much.

I am who I am and I am pretty happy with me, flaws and all. I’m fairly certain I have an awkward 13 year old girl living inside a 39 year old woman who compensates with chocolate and Netflix. I’ll never be rid of insecurities, but as I’m getting older and becoming more of a grown-up, I want to let go once in a while and be less afraid. To be less obsessive. Less at war with myself. Just less. In a world where it is mostly about more, I’m aiming low.

Last year Ben struggled with anxiety around pick-up time at school, birthday parties, activities – every pick-up time. If I wasn’t in his eye line he panicked, “Mommy! Mommy?” He grew louder; his body twisting, running to find me. And I was there, in the shadow of a tree, on a bench, talking to someone, never far. “Ben, Ben. I’m right here.” Calm and smiling, I comforted him. Sometimes there were phone calls from mothers, good friends letting me know Ben is upset. He wants you. Do you want to come? I did. He hadn’t always been like this. This was new. When I arrived, his cheeks were red and tear-stained. Shoulders straight, he was quick to recover. “I thought maybe you weren’t coming. I’m okay.” I pried, asking him why he felt this way, but I never learned the root of his fear. We’d strategize about what to do if plans changed. I reassured him over and over. “Remember to breathe. I’m here. It will be okay.”

I feel like Ben some days; my insides twisting, heart racing over something that may or may not happen. These past few months I have discovered there is nothing quite like putting your memoir out there to rattle your bones and remind you of your vulnerability. Asking for help, hassled by guilt, wondering if I’m too much, then not enough – I’m an old clock wound up tight and tick-tick-ticking until it’s all I can hear.

So? Today? As part of my quest for less, I’m going to watch an episode of Call the Midwife. See my daughter dance and not be in knots about the costume that isn’t ready yet or her upcoming competition. Hope that inspiration finds me instead of striving to find it. Remember to breathe, I will be okay. Maybe in less, I will feel air and sky and room will be made for more.

swept up
in dark chocolate & peppermint pretzel crisps
I’m having issues with posting images, so you’ll just have to click to see all of the goodness that are these crisps. Sadly, they are only available during the holiday season. They were on sale and I bought 10 bags – need I say more?

27 thoughts on “who cares

  1. julie gardner

    Oh, Heidi, YES!

    It seems sometimes that the entire world conspires against “less” – that we’re compelled always to seek more more more or else we’re not really living. Not really trying.

    But I think to dig deeply into ‘less’ – to pare life down to the core of what truly matters – is much more satisfying in the end.

    Our society tempts us to pursue everything we “want” instead of settling into what we “need.” Still. I’m with you. I have everything that’s really important to me already and the more I muck it up with extraneous goals, the less I can appreciate what I’ve got now.

    This isn’t to say I’m not still working toward my dreams; I’m just simplifying the means toward the end.
    (If that makes sense.)

    Love this post, Heidi. Here’s to a 2014 with less anxiety and more joy.
    For all of us.

    1. heidi

      Thank you for getting this, for just agreeing! It makes me feel better, saner. And yes (I’m with you and you totally make sense) to still pursuing dreams – we don’t want to let our dreams go, but there has to be a way to do this without losing your mind in that quest to “reach for the stars”. I’m so over reaching for the stars by the way. Cheers to you, my sweet friend. Here’s to less anxiety and more joy…much joy.

  2. Karen Hendricks

    Oh my, how I love this Heidi. I am certain we are sisters. Caring so much, so intensely is such a good thing. I mean, we have one life to live, & it must be met with every good intention. But I too have find this pursuit rather damaging to my soul.
    It just is.
    I have resolved to be still more, and just BE. Think about nothing. No agenda. No expectation. Just purity & beauty in the moment. Sit & look & smell & hear.

    You are such an extraordinary lady, Heidi. Full of success & more promise. That doesn’t come with allowing moss to grow under your feet. But I support you in just being still in the moment. You deserve to enjoy that quietness, in fact, you’ve earned it.

    Enjoy simplicity today..

    1. heidi

      Karen! I’m all teary-eyed over here. Thank you for your words and your heart. You have such a good heart, my friend. I want to continue to dream and pursue and be successful, but I’d like to do it with less anxiety and noise. I would like to think that’s possible. To live from a place of peace as we pursue. You know? I hope so. I’m going to try. We’ll try together. 😉

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Anna! There is probably a 13 year old girl living inside most women our age (did I really just say “our age” ??). Thank goodness for chocolate and being able to binge-watch TV!

  3. Emily

    Oh I totally get this Heidi. Thanks for sharing. I can only imagine how hard it must be to put yourself out there and be so vulnerable but I really appreciate it. Isn’t Call the Midwife great? i’m loving it.

    1. heidi

      Thanks Emily. 🙂 I knew what I was doing when I decided to pursue this book and all that came with it, and mostly it’s good. I think this journey has just magnified what already goes on with me like being anxious or getting bent out of shape when things aren’t “just so”. I can’t control everything and I have to learn to accept and make peace. And yes!! Love Call the Midwife. I just started a couple of days ago. Chummy learning to ride a bike? Was one of my favourite things on TV.

  4. Kerstin @ Auer Life

    Love this post, Heidi. And yes to a life of “less” – I can relate to that. Even with my crazy schedule and lots of freelance work I still find my grounding in being quiet and going within. In just watching an episode of Grimm or playing ball with my dog. Taking a walk and leaving my phone at home.
    I am sure inspiration will find you – no need to go out looking for it 🙂
    (Also: Marius had the exact same issues Ben has. I was wrecking my brain over it, worried he would never function without me, worried I would never have a moment of peace in my life again. Then, just like that – he grew out of it. We don’t always have to look for the cause of something, sometimes it’s just a phase).

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Kerstin! I think you’re right about it being a phase. He’s better with it now. He’s not as frantic if he can’t see me or doesn’t know where I am. If Annie is around, he’s good. His sister is his security blanket. He still doesn’t like surprises or a change in plans. I just talk him through it, sometimes a few times. I’m used to it now and I want him to feel as secure as possible. He is much better than he used to be, though. Nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  5. Galit Breen

    I love this, Heidi, so very much.

    I’m also striving for less, and I also tend to wind it all too tightly.

    This was transparent and real — like you. Love.

    1. heidi

      Thank you, Galit. Truly. It’s great to feel understood. From one who “tends to wind it all too tightly” (love that) to another, I am grateful for you and your presence here in the wide world of the internet. We can have each others backs as we journey through less.

  6. Kate Coveny Hood

    I SO relate to this (except for the memoir part of course). I have always seen myself in my son (particularly his fear of “growing up” – time moves to quickly for us). And I used to say, I’ve been forty since I was four. One would think I’d feel wiser and more confident now…not so much. I definitely feel like that 13 year old who FELT 40, with all of her awkwardness. We only diverge on the chocolate pretzels issue – I cannot combine savory and sweet. Not even with peppermint in the mix.

    1. heidi

      Ooohhh…interesting about the chocolate pretzel issue… I suppose we can still be friends. Now, will you have popcorn and then chocolate on the side?
      The memoir thing just magnifies or adds to what already goes on with me. As I’m promoting the book I’m realizing I have to do something about being so anxious or second-guessing myself and not being able to control every outcome. Because it’s not just “the book” – it’s many other things. I did try saying no the other day without giving a lengthy explanation (just a short sufficient one) and resisted explaining again as I sometimes do. It felt pretty good and, you know what, nothing bad happened. Imagine that? It’s the little things, right? Here’s to awkwardness and chocolate and figuring it out! 🙂

  7. heidi

    Amber, see? We’re all in it together. 🙂 We’ll embrace who we are – quirks and all.
    Isn’t it?! I just watched the Christmas special. *sigh* I just love it.

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  9. Lady Jennie

    Oh friend – BOY can I relate to this post. I’ve got 5 years on you and I still haven’t managed to come any further along.

    I really appreciated reading this today and the “not alone-ness” of it all. 🙂

    1. heidi

      Oh thank you so much Jennie! That means a lot to me. We crazy (I use crazy loosely and with love) ones need to stick together. 😉
      Your book is waiting for me at my mailbox in the US and I can’t wait to go get it!

    1. heidi

      You too? When there is a change in plans – watch out. I told him the other day that he needs to be more “go with the flow”. He shook his head and gave me a look like that is never going to happen. Also? Perhaps I should take my own advice.
      Hey, look, another platform! This could be Round 3 of thank-youing and you’re-welcoming. That made me laugh yesterday. Ann, you are one of the funniest, whip-smartest people I know.

  10. Tara Pohlkotte

    i.so.get.this. i AM this. some days I feel ALL THE THINGS. other weeks i spend watching entire seasons of shows on Netflix and become ok if I never move from my spot on the couch or aspire to anything greater than taking a shower that day. I think we need both. that the balance and draw to both makes us human. here’s to a year of being good enough!

    1. heidi

      Yes, yes! To all of this. This week I have failed at my resolution. Miserably. I have been comforting myself with episodes of Friday Night Lights, on Netflix of course. I’m so glad we travel in the same slightly crazy circle. 😉

  11. Cindy

    I have a few years on you, but completely relate to your words. Those anxieties can certainly be crippling if we allow them. I’m afraid that I’ve passed on that anxiety gene to my daughter as well. Argh!

    1. heidi Post author

      Hi Cindy! Yes, if we can see it and deal with it, then we’re a little ahead and it isn’t paralyzing us. All the best to you. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

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