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Monday, July 6, 2009

Cutting My Singlution Some Slack

I had a 4 day weekend. And I didn't post once. Not once. I thought about Singlutionary. "Singlutionary" was all over my to-do list. I love writing this blog and participating in this online community of awesome happy singles. I have a list in my journal of things that I want to write about. 

I am frustrated because I am a perfectionist. And since going back to work full time PLUS still working with Bosslady part time my perfection level had dropped to complete non-perfection. In my 4 days off I desperately tried to catch up on stuff and only finished half my list. I did clean the house and finish building the chicken coop but I didn't fix my car window or catch up on blogging or even exercise. 

So I've decided to relax my standards. For now, at least.

And as a Singlutionary, I feel that relaxing my standards and cutting myself some slack is an excellent thing to do. Sometimes I expect myself to run my life as if I were a couple. I expect myself to bring home the bacon, cook wholesome meals, look pretty at all times and maintain an immaculately vacuumed carpet. You know how feminists talk about how women work and then they come home to the "second shift" aka housekeeping, child rearing, etc. Well. I have my own second shift, third shift, 16th shift. I expect myself to build chicken coops, work two jobs, fix my own car (which, by the way, is older than I am), eat super healthy organic homegrown and homecooked meals and write every day all the while looking like a lady of leisure with blow dried hair and manicured nails pushed into cute little heels.

Sometimes I think that I forget to take myself seriously because I am single. I forget how much I work or the value of the work that I do. I forget that I am running a household of four and despite the fact that I am biologically unrelated to any of of my roommates, I am still in charge of making sure everyone communicates, is generally happy and has enough toilet paper. I fall into thinking that I live a frivolous life because hey, I don't have a husband and kids so everything must just be easy like giggling while eating marshmallow fluff. Its OK. Every Singlutionary has her moments of non-singlutionary-ness. I forgive myself. 

But it is time to extend a few reminders to my Singlutionary self:

You're just one. This doesn't mean that I'm alone or lonely or that there is anything that I can't do. But it does mean that I can't expect to keep up with the JonesES. One person might be able to do more than half of what two people do but I still can't expect myself to work 50 hours a week AND have a normal life AND fix everything around the house in one weekend.  

You're just one AND you're part of a community: The only reason I was able to complete one of my long incomplete projects (namely, building a chicken coop which is all done save a lack of empty beer cans to tile the roof with --we'll be emptying the beer cans en masse in a few weeks) was with the help of my Habitat-for-Humanity-friend/former-roommate. She liked the chicken coop idea and has worked tirelessly with me to bring it to eggtion (I was trying to play on the word fruition but it didn't quite work). 

You're just one AND you're part of a greater community which you serve through your actions: Singles are often accused of being selfish or self centered by coupled folks. We're also accused of not being grown up. I think that sometimes I let this sneak in and eat away at my Singlution. Sometimes I think that my life is so fantastic that I MUST be selfish and self centered and that since I don't really have anything "serious" to do, I can just get all caught up in my own private and perfect life. 

Well. My life is great. I am so grateful for everything, for this blog, for the communities and friends which do support me, for my new job, for Bosslady, for my dog and for chicken poo. 

But that doesn't mean that my actions or my projects are irrelevant or unimportant. I am attempting to grow my own food not only for myself but to be shared with my roommates and friends. I am getting chickens to assist in pesticide free and organic pest control and to lay fresh eggs which I will not even eat (I'm allergic). I've created a sustainable business model by renting out furnished rooms in my home to people relocating to my fantastic city. I've installed rainwater collection barrels so that I can consume less water during times of drought (and its always a drought down here). 

I'm no Mother Theresa but my ideals and actions are not as much about myself (although I do enjoy my projects immensely) but about creating and sharing a wonderful space with people in-between cities, contributing to the quality of air and quantity of water in my city and basically being a good friend and neighbor. These are my interests and I am blessed to be able to pursue the life that I want to live and to see the things that I do have a small but stealthy impact on the world around me. Just being a joyful, loving person can uplift and inspire someone. 

Lately my volunteer duties have fallen by the wayside as I have had to spend more and more time on the house and then at work. And I've felt selfish. But the stuff that I do is a far cry from spending all day shopping for a new Segway. 

I am at once grateful for the wonderful people in my life and grateful that I can be a wonderful person in other people's lives. 

I still feel angst about the hallway being un-sanded and half prepped for painting six weeks and counting. I still want everything to be perfect.

But as I am learning with my car: as soon as one part is perfect, another part falls off. 

That is life. Its true if your single and its true if you're coupled. And its time I quit resisting and started celebrating this fact.  

Dear Reader: Please take a moment to pat yourself on the back. What do you do with your life that is doing good in the world even in a small, quiet way. How are you, even through doing things you love, unselfish? Where could you loosen up your own self imposed standards of perfection and cut yourself some slack?


The Peach Tart said...

You made me tired just hearing about all the good things you are doing for yourself, your community and your world. Please cut yourself some slack. We are all imperfect beings but at least you are striving to better yourself and the world. Perfectionism is overrated. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Singlutionary - you have something above many other singles - you realise that you just can't expect to do everything all the time!

And you have a great boss - I'm sure she'll be easy on you!! ;-) ;-)

iol. singal

onely said...

Christina and I tell ourselves that Onely is maybe doing a bit of good in the world. Which would mean that Singlutionary is too.

So yay for us?


Stevi said...

I love this post. It is so true. I can totally relate to most of that.

Good job on recognizing all that you do and cutting yourself some slack. I think I just might do the same.

Special K said...

Wonderful post! YEs, sometimes I have to remind myself (if drycleaning isn't enough...what is?) that I am the expert in the room. HOw come acknowledging ourselves is so difficult?
Hey, can you help me out? I am giving away a product I am CRAZED about? Can you send the link to people you think might want free power bars? http://thespecialktreatment.wordpress.com/

The Singlutionary said...

Peach Tart: I am so incoherent from tired-ness these days that I think I might fall asleep while typing.

Singal: Thanks! Yes, I can't do everything all the time. But I keep forgetting that.

Lisa Onely: Oh Lisa, yes! Onely is definitely doing some good in MY world. Thank you so much. Yay for us. Or more to the point: I did something worthwhile today and I am going to focus on that instead of all the worthwhile things that I did not do today while I was busy doing other worthwhile things.

Stevi: I bet you do things all the time that are giving. The fact that you're going into social work tells me a lot about how much you give of yourself!

Special K: You are the expert in the room. Its funny to after being the junior so long start finding instances where I am the senior. I am great at forgiving and acknowledging other people but I am really really mean to myself. And free power bars? More power to ya! I will repost ASAP!

TudorCity Girl said...

LOVE this post, Made me feel good and it is all so true. What Peach Tart says is very true too!
I'm SO glad you have a new job!!

bobbyboy said...

Excellent post, I simply love it! The life juggling that singles have to do is rarely thought about by couples. Not to this degree anyway. Don't worry too much about getting to the blog like it's a job, but more of a stress release and fun thing to do.

I'm back posting after a short hiatus myself. If I can post once a week, then that's great. More? Less? That's fine too.

As to your questions:
I make sure that I have a portion of my pay go directly to a few children's charities every paycheck. I help those that can't help themselves. Whether it be a single Mom, elderly person or just someone I see in need.
I've never been known as a selfish person, so I'm happy about that.

You know, it's been a few years now that I'm finally realizing that I can cut myself some slack. Working to make oneself a better person is an ongoing task :)

Cheers to a great post!

Kahnee said...

You're so Awesome. Even if I was single with no kids, no way i'd be able to handle a quarter of those things you have on your to do list!

The Singlutionary said...

TudorCity: I enjoy your blog and I remember the whole time I was un (or under) employed I felt like I wasn't doing anything. Now I look back and realize just how much I WAS doing because now that I work I can't keep up with it. But I always felt lame lame lame. That is the funny thing. There are some activities which we perceive as having more value than others. For example: replacing toilets. It will be about 16 hours of work when all is said and done but for some reason working two full days seems more "important". If someone calls you and ask you to hang out and you say "I have to work" they will stop there. But if you say "I am in the middle of replacing a toilet" well . . . only the person who needs to take a crap at that very moment will really get how important that is.

My point it: I bet you're doing a lot of important things right now and if you're not feeling that important (cause I didn't) you should!!!

Bobbyboy: I love the blog! I love it love it love it. But then I stay up till 1am working on it and only get 5 hours of sleep. I hate that! But yes, I have gotten to the point where I am OK with myself if I only post once a week . . . I realize that I go through phases and I've accepted that.

I'm so proud of you for donating your money on a regular basis. One of my past careers was in non-profit fundraising and donors like you are really important to the ability of a non-profit to run effectively. In the right organization your regular donations can go a long long way. Not only are you donating to the folks the non-profit serves but you are providing jobs for people who help those very people.

Kahnee: Thanks! But I read your blog so I know that you have your own wicked long list of things to do: writer, full time employee, stripper dance classes, worrying about your kid learning to fight or not learning to fight, attending scifi conferences, writing books, dragon boat racing, running, reading racilicious . . . need I go on?

Clever Elsie said...

I don't know how you do it, Singlutionary! I get tired just from a combo of freelancing, blogging, and building my new web site. I can't even imagine adding home and auto repair tasks into the mix! As it is, I hardly ever work on my creative writing anymore, which is my first love.

Anyway, please don't think that any of us readers think any less of you when you don't stick to a rigid blogging routine. Of course we miss your posts, but I think we all know that the demands of life have to come first!

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't feel pressed for time and isn't forever wanting to accomplish more. You're right that that's just life. And that's kind of what makes it fun, too--knowing that you always have something to reach for.