#reverb10 – Dec 11, 11 things.

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

1. Illness v. Health First I was just thinking that 2011 needs to be, and should be, morning sickness free. But then I reflected that while Tim and I weren’t physically ill often in 2010, we did deal with some mental health issues. And we can’t discount colds and such as we will soon have a little one, and hopefully I will start grad school. In 2011, I would like to be prepared for the common cold with a well stocked stash of otc meds, be brave enough/have a good enough relationship with medical professionals to ask questions quickly, and continue to maintain our mental healths.

2. Commuting v. Community. I hesitate to put this on here, because I think that commuting will be a part of my life for the foreseeable future. I currently commute 140 miles a day by car, all alone. This will continue until the first week in February. Hopefully, in September, I will start commuting a smaller distance to grad school. But for about 7 months, I want to get rid of commuting completely and learn to live in my community. I want to identify local businesses in our new home, walkable parts of it, make friends. In metro Detroit, this might mean familiarity with several towns, but I want to find farmers markets and community supported agriculture and what makes Farmington Hills and its surrounding environs unique.

3. Perfectionism v. Mindfulness. So, perfection was something I learned to let go of in 2010, it stands to reason that 2011 needs none of it. I think this is especially important to remember when you consider the impending arrival of my first child and the potential return to school. To address this, I am going to still research and plan, but forgive myself if things don’t go according to plan.

4. New Things v. Satisfaction. Tim and I tried an experiment for The Compact for about three months between August and October of this year. It was spurred on by a gluttony of new purchases: a new car, new smartphones for the both of us, etc. So, we decided to buy nothing new except for underwear and edibles. It was a pretty successful experiment, overall, to the point where, often, we didn’t realize we were doing it anymore. We’re going to have to acquire some things here in the near future, the necessary equipment to take care of a baby, but I think we’ve pared down the list to a point where it’s manageable — and hopefully some of it can come from the second hand market, instead of new. But, I’d really love to make our family motto, Make it work, use it up, make do, or do without.

5. Expectations v. Mindfulness. Expectations set us up for disappointment. Mindfulness lets us be in the moment without judgment. I want to live 2011 with few expectations. Plans, yes, intentions, yes, but also an understanding that there are things outside of my control. I plan to have a healthy baby, I intend to do what I can to make that happen, but realize, ultimately, that the outcome is mostly out of my control; if it is not perfect, I can still be happy.

6. Clutter v. Ordinary life lived Extraordinarily. Tim and I managed to clean up a lot of clutter in 2010. We pared down our kitchen, we pared down our stored stuff, cleaned out closets, and generally made our lives more functional. But clutter is something that is constantly cropping up, and will especially be so with baby stuff (thinking mostly clothes).

7. Dual income no-kids-hood, to be replaced by a young family of three. What it’ll mean to have one income for seven months or longer, to take fewer financial risks, to save. To take the rhythms of our family, and apply it to three, to celebrate traditions and create new ones.

8. Being bullied and pushed around by our parents and family, and instead working on constructing appropriate boundaries.

9. So many electronic distractions. Tim and I were listening to an episode of Being with Krista Tippet, which was talking about food — ethically, sustainable produced food. One thing the guest said, which stuck with both of us, is that we’ve allowed a lot of feature creep into our lives — we’ve “found” four hours a day to watch TV, and “found” four hours a day to be on the Internet, and we complain we don’t have time to cook. So, Tim and I discussed a designated day of the week to be a digital sabbath, from sun-down to sun-up. A designated day to coo at our baby, cook a complicated meal, talk, read, craft, and listen to music.

10. Sexual Harassment. I was having a hard time thinking of two more things that I didn’t need in my life, and I suppose I need less Sexual Harassment in my life in 2011, but more so, this is an intention I want to spread to all of reality. 2011 needs less rape, less assault, less harassment. I’ll keep blogging against it, keep supporting my family and friends against it, and doing my best to make this a reality.

11. Poverty. Ditto. 2011 needs less poverty — it needs less suffering. I will be intentional with my time and treasure in 2011 to lessen suffering, and work on the underlying issues of justice that cause poverty to be perpetuated.


Good Marriage Day

Yesterday was a bad marriage day. While I sat on the couch, worrying about all the stuff that Tim and I were committed to – our unborn child, a trip to DC, getting ready to move, a project for a family wedding. And as I thought, I got more and more grumpy. And I started a fight, because I was feeling overwhelmed and tired, and wanted Tim to take some of the burden.

And so, rather than articulate the problem, I accused Tim of “never” doing “anything” that I asked him to do in a “timely manner.” He got defensive, and the fight escalated. I turned into a giant bag of snot, tired and overwhelmed.

Compare that to today, where Tim and I discussed our options to solve a problem in a mature and organized way.

I called a perinatal psychologist recommended by my midwife, and found that he does not take insurance, but makes it easy to bill your insurance yourself. Okay, cool. I tell Tim, and he takes the ball to call our insurance to make sure we wouldn’t be out of pocket. To make a long story short — the insurance company says they won’t cover him, the doctor’s office has patients who do, in fact, get reimbursed.

So, now we have to make a decision. I don’t know why it occurred to me, but I put it in terms of this: we wanted to go to this doctor because he is considered an expert in mood disorders in pregnant women, and therefore he should be able to minimize the risk to baby of anti-depressants, while still taking care of me. What do we risk by not going to him? What are we risking by going to this psychiatrist?

Tim put it this way: “By not going, we are risking your mental health, and baby’s health.  By going we’re risking spending a lot of money each time we visit.”

So there are the variable in this situation: my mental health, baby’s health, and money.

Knowing the variables, we can talk about our options. Baby’s health can be protected by not taking anti-depressants at all. But that could be disastrous for my health. My mental health can be improved my changing my doseage, which means getting a new script from my doctor. However, how these drugs effect fetuses is a big question mark. Both of these options minimize our potential financial risk.

So, what risks are we willing to take? Now, we haven’t quite figured it out. But I am thrilled that this discussion has played out the way it has — with rational discussion, and weighing our options and the risks.

That is a good marriage day. While this could’ve gotten really heated and emotional, we talked like a team. I’m proud of us.