Basically since becoming an adult, I’ve been on a quest for self-improvement. I’ve read a number of self-help books covering topics from having healthy (for you) relationships with toxic people to how to grow your emotional IQ. I’ve grown my Pinterest boards exponentially with healthy recipes and how to decorate your home on a shoestring budget. I’ve tried to grow my faith and love for the word of God. I’ve pinned and screen shotted so many exercise routines you might think I do it for a living. I’ve tried really hard to become a runner, in fact, my fiance’ and I even ran our first 5k together! While improving myself in so many different ways, there’s one phrase that keeps coming up, “Never miss a Monday”. Chances are, if you don’t live under a rock, you’ve heard this phrase. Whether it’s said by an over zealous, well-meaning family member or an Instagram hashtag, it’s everywhere.
I follow the same pattern every week, it seems. Sunday afternoon I prep mostly healthy food for the week, plan the dinners I will make my fiance’ and I, finish any laundry and check my calendar for the week’s happenings. I feel resolute about getting “back at it” Monday morning. I think, “I’ll run on these days, I’ll go to the gym on these days and I’ll make x, y and z for dinner on these days!” Yeah, that’s great, Steph. You’re a real go-getter. Monday morning, my alarm goes off at 5:20 to run before work. I turn it off to roll out of bed and almost as quickly as I wake, I doze back off again. When my second alarm goes off at 6:20 I snooze it and snuggle back into bed, so glad I hadn’t gotten up earlier, I think of every justification I can for my inactivity. By lunch, at my desk I bully myself about not getting up, wondering how I could set up a fool-proof way for me to get out of bed the next morning, the first time; all the while “never miss a Monday” is ringing in my ears.
I think this mantra is meant to inspire the people who use it but it ends up being more of a steamroller for me. If I miss my Monday, by Wednesday evening I’m beating myself up, deciding if keeping my nutritional goals in check even matters if I’m not working out. I might work out on Thursday, Friday and even through the weekend if I have the time and then, as it often does, Monday comes back around and the cycle begins again.
Here’s the thought that hit me late this morning, while sitting at my desk, I didn’t “miss a Monday”. I may not have gotten out of bed to run, sure. I’m with ya there. I missed my Monday morning workout opportunity but I didn’t miss my Monday morning cuddles with the man who matters most. I didn’t miss easing my mind, thoughts and body into the early morning hours of my week before hectic schedules, expectations and to-do lists creep in and steal my time and energy. I have no reason to bully myself for not getting out of bed before the Sun on Monday mornings.
At this point in my life with Steve, we don’t have kids. We both work full-time and it seems that most of our free time together is committed to so many other things like loved ones, wedding planning, volunteering, personal interests, you name it. Just because we don’t have kids, does not mean that we are not busy or that we can be consumed by quality time together. In my quest to better myself, I am also trying to appreciate and love where I am now, instead of always looking to the future. This is one of those times.
I snuggled in bed with my future husband, in the dusk of our bedroom and our quiet apartment, smelling the coffee brewing in the kitchen. I may be engaged to Steve but I am married to my morning coffee. I snoozed my alarm clock 2 times (that’s 20 minutes, people). I let my mind wake up slowly, absorbing a few personal things and thinking about what my week will begin to look like. While the shallow part of my being, held captive by my anxiety, starts to tremble with energy and worry that I didn’t work out and now the rest of my week is going to be a disaster, my soul is calm because I know it won’t be like this for long. In just a few short years, we plan to be in the midst of a chaotic and messy young family, God willing. I plan to be exhausted, drinking cold coffee wondering how in God’s name I’m going to make it through an 8 hour work day to come home and do it all again. I’m nothing if not a realist.
I know that while sometimes we complain about our noisy neighbors in our 30-year-old apartment complex, I love our little home because we are together. I know that while sometimes I don’t feel like coming home and cooking a dinner from (mostly) scratch after work for just the two of us, right now it’s an option and in the future it won’t be. I know that my fiance’ appreciates my talent and willingness to love on him by making a healthy and warm dinner after he’s worked hard all day. I know how important it is for us to spend dinner time together chatting about something we saw on the internet, at work or on the drive home, now, before one of us has a screaming child on their lap with a cold plate of food in front of them.
In reality, I didn’t miss a Monday. I didn’t miss any sleepy cuddles. I didn’t miss making my out to see our dog on the couch wagging while I rubbed his tummy leisurely before taking him outside. I didn’t miss a chance to take in the quiet of the day, the smell of our coffee and the easy conversation with the man I love most.