Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I am not this person.

In a massive case of Spring-cleaningitis, I initiated a major kitchen purge. Dishes, serving trays, pantry contents and spices were removed from their homes so that I could decide what stayed and what went. What stuck me most, other than the fact that most people probably don’t have 15 varieties of salt and 4 types of cinnamon, was the items in my possession that do not reflect my style or who I am;  the majority of these things were acquired from my bridal registry.  I’ve always had simple, modern taste but I guess at 23 (yikes) when I got married I assumed that you have kids and you learn to like fussy crystal. It hasn’t happened yet and I can say with conviction, it never will. And then last week, my son had a sleepover with a couple of friends. In my head, I want to be the mom who can have a million kids over messing everything up without me batting an eye or in my case raising her voice. I do love guests but I’m way too anal to roll with all the punches. It’s just not who I am. I will have you over, feed you well but it’s all planned out and when things don’t go as anticipated, watch out.

So the question is, do we “know thyself” for who we are, in my case impatient and anti-crystal, or do we try to nudge ourselves in a different direction? These are insignificant examples but I confront food-related versions of this with clients all the time. If someone tells me they hate exercise, I’ll often suggest a nonthreatening amount to embark on but an incident with a friend made me rethink things.

Marc and I were at an event last Wednesday.  During dinner, someone we know really well sat down with us. This woman is thin, beautiful and always put together but we’ve never talked nutrition in the 18 years I’ve known her. She sat next to me and said “I stopped drinking soda and cut out sugar completely, I don’t even want it anymore. “ She was on a roll and proceeded to tell me all these sweeping changes she had made with her diet, her enthusiasm left me excited for her.  Had she been a client in my office I would never have proposed as many concurrent changes as she undertook on her own.

So while my life will not be significantly different based on my choice of serving pieces, I don’t think acquiescing and accepting our habits is always the answer. Sometimes sweeping changes work quite well. Non-exercisers can run marathons and meat and potatoes people may love green juice. Don’t rule it out.
Are you a fan of slow and steady change or major shifts? Did you register of items you never use? What would I be surprised about if we emptied all your kitchen cabinets?
Full disclosure, the bowl above belonged to my Grandmother but I only realized that after writing the post. And I am aware of the weird font, blogger is very uncooperative today (some things do not change).

31 comments:

  1. Ha, you sound exactly like me! From the type-A planner personality to the unnecessary stuff in my kitchen. I also did the bridal registry thing at age 23 and there was a bunch of stuff on there that I really don't need (12 white wine glasses plus 12 red wine glasses? really? i think just the red would do fine, they are bigger and will suffice for white as well as red!) my kitchen cabinets are actually in decent shape since we just remodeled 6 months ago. at which point i finally got rid of the saucers that came with our dish set (my husband has thought that these were small plates for the past 10 years). seriously, i'm not sure i have ever used a saucer in my life and i certainly don't need 12 of them, so they went away. we do still have our whole china set and there's a lot of stuff there that we really don't need, like a china teapot (?) that probably cost someone over $200.

    i think i'm more of a sweeping change person in general, but i will say that it depends on the type of change. sometimes it's easier to go ahead and make all the changes at once, like ripping off a band-aid. but sometimes it's too overwhelming. i'm the type of person that likes to get everything done at once though - i can't relax until all the work is done!

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    1. Jen, who uses china teapots? Brides out there need to know these things. And reading you're comment I think we may have been separated at birth. Ha.

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  2. We registered for a lot of things we really didn't need (and don't have the space for in our kitchen). A lot of it is in our garage, which reminds me I really have to sort through it...

    When I make changes, I always focus on whether I will really be able to stick to them "forever." When I gave up diet soda many years ago, it was from a lot to nothing overnight, and it worked. In fact, I think I couldn't have done it any other way. But other changes I like to do more gradually.

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    1. good point Andrea, it depends on the change.

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  3. I LOVE throwing things out.. because i HATE clutter, which isn't to say there isn't any... but rather that I feel better in my life when there's less of what I don't want and more of what I do. Sweeping changes have their place... but usually for me I make them when I'm sick to death of not doing the thing I have wanted to do.. so I need a "sweeping" change... to move forward with gusto... like a declaration that I am really making a change. And then sometimes.. baby steps are what's called for. Little tweaks here and there.. because I'm not interested in a radical change, but more of a shift. Ultimately, the only way I can make changes is to ground myself in what I want.. really want.. which.. is never fixed..and depends on where I am in my life.. which is your point. Times change... we try something.... in anticipation of what we think we might want.. and then we reevaluate.. and decide what no longer appeals and then clean out, revamp, revise. Always, though, we're making choices from the present... what works now and what we want for ourselves going forward. Great post Lauren.

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    1. Lisa, I think you said what I wanted to say but so much better. The type of changes we need and our priorities change with time. A system or item that works at one age may not a few years later. And we all need ot level with ourselves to pinpoint what we want.

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  4. Many of my registry items still sit in my parents attic awaiting their own space in our future *home* ;) it's been 3-4 years now!

    I'm very much "go big or go home" type person but sometimes because I tend to be a perfectionist, this attitude can be self defeating. When it comes to diet/exercise I try to go for most bang for my buck. Swapping bad food items with good - allowing small indulgences and upping up the cardio!

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    1. "go big or go home" love it (when it's "big"). Sounds as though your system doesn't need sweeping changes if it's working.

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  5. 12 years after our wedding, there are gifts that still haven't been used. I would have purged them long ago, if not for my mother-in-law who insists on seeing things that she gave us. Ok. Everyone has silly, needless things on our wedding registry because the Wedding Industrial Complex tells us that we need several sets of china, lots of crystal and monogrammed linens.

    I made a big sweeping change just yesterday -- I joined a gym. And I paid for a full year up front. And I worked out not once, but TWICE yesterday! This change better last!

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    1. you deserve the year membership because that's what bdays are for.
      Happy happy.

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  6. I also like both types of changes. I love to throw things out of the house. I gift lots of stuff to Goodwill and the rest to the church garage sale in the summer. Why I still have stuff to give away blows my mind. When I shop for a bride, I refuse to buy things I know they won't use. That means I'm the one getting in fast to buy the towels! I like your question about what would surprise you. I think the little gadget that makes chocolate and butter curls would surprise you. It surprises me. I've never used it and have never gotten rid of it. I've had it for years.

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    1. Caron, I'm so with you. I love getting knives (weird sentiment I know), kitchen stuff like measuring cups or even appliances. All the "non sexy" gifts are best. Chocolate curls that would surprise me or make me smile.

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  7. I like both types of change but when it comes to getting rid of stuff I have to go all out - it's even better if someone else does it for me because then I can't justify keeping things I don't need.
    We didn't register for anything at our wedding. We had been living together for years before we got married and already had everything we needed. We went the money route because we got married on the other side of the country and couldn't pack things back with us. It worked well and we were able to put the money towards a kitchen renovation.
    My kitchen is a mish mash of things, I don't really like things to match and love finding fun and unique coffee mugs at thrift stores.

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    1. So smart Jenny, seems like you are not a member of the useless registry club. I will say luggage, china teacups and picture frames do get used.

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  8. I own things that I would never have bought because they were either passed down to me or I received them as gifts. I never use them but because some are sentimental I keep them. The things that I pick out are the ones that I use and I enjoy in my home. Oh well :) The other thing about changes is I used to be all or nothing and through the years I have found a balance that works for me. :)

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    1. It is so hard to get rid of gifts but unless super sentimental I don't think we should have them around, like change sometimes a clean sweep may be a good idea. Maybe we should all do it together.

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  9. Reading friends' bridal registries is fascinating because I feel like it gives me a glimpse into how they see themselves (or their future selves) and/or their marriage. At 26 and single, I feel like I have most of the things I need, though I did sort of make a breakup registry when my ex-boyfriend moved out right before my birthday (convenient, at least). I guess it makes sense I'd feel set for the foreseeable future!

    I'd like to say I do slow and steady changes, but the reality is I attempt to adapt to sweeping changes by trying to make them feel routine until they are. Then a year later I laugh and say, "Wow, that was a big change. No wonder that was hard."

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    1. Take note Jess, be practical and register for what you like and would use. The things I did that for I still have (nonstick pans aside). Interesting you don't see changes as big when you make them. Perhaps that indicates you're ready to do what is is you're attempting. Or that not focusing on the bigness is working for you. That sounded wrong.

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  10. We returned everything purchased on our registry back when bloomingdales gave $ and spent it on our honeymoon. I am anal about many things but kitchen stuff isn't my thing. I have a juicer from my childhood and my grandmothers flatware. I threw away all non stick cookware before I had kids and yet I have some mugs from college. I hate to exercise but make myself do it at least 3x a week. And complain through it. Never get that 'high' people talk about. As for sentimental gifts I keep everything that has meaning to me including an old pucci nightgown from my mom and most of my kids baby teeth. At this point they have found them since I don't hide them in any one place. I regularly donate old clothes, towels, linens etc. I hate clutter or stuff I don't use and yet I have a t shirt and jeans collection waiting for my daughter. I guess that doesn't sound like I'm a purger but I only save the 'special' stuff like my original college sweatshirt when I first visited the school. And I've saved a box of special baby things but tossed the majority. I think I went off track with this response. But it hit me because I find myself more and more sentimental but about odd things.

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    1. It seems you have a very organized keep versus purge style and that you're practical (love honeymoon registry idea). And yet, in some areas such as exercise you can nudge yourself from your natural tendencies. I think that's important as some people can be very organized but disorganized when it comes to health behaviors. My friend mentioned above, has a spotless, clutterless house but was walking around drinking soda and eating poorly.

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  11. I totally registered for some things that we have never used ... granted we are only on year 3. Haha. However, I was 21 when I got married and painted our house all sorts of Easter egg colors. A year in I was like holy crap wtf. Haha.

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    1. I think our tastes with many things change. Easter colors, how festive. Hope you've been well.

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  12. I'm a "set goals that sound like sweeping change but then forget to do them" kind of girl. Ha! Honestly, mindfulness is the only thing that really works for me, whether I'm making big changes or just small tweaks. I have to think about them, and remind myself often.

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    1. So funny (as usual). There's a lot of goal setting without follow through out there. You're not alone. And that goes back to reality. Do we want to be the "big goal" person? Well if we can't seeing ourself making good on those promises to ourselves, baby steps it is.

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  13. OH I hate it when blogger changes my font!
    Great post Lauren. I typically base my suggestion of a "slow and gradual change" vs. a "quick change" on what the client wants. For example, I believe I work best with slow and gradual changes, but others come into my office and say they need to just STOP that day, not gradually. And if that's how things work best for them, more power to them!
    I do not like it when people assume they don't like things, such as exercise, because I know I used to hate it too until I MADE MYSELF like it! IT's called starting a new habit. It CAN be done!

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    1. Gina, great points. As with exercise, if we accept we don't like things at face value- any change is difficult. The new blogger drives me nuts. Why do we need a new everything?

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  14. I think what's most important is sticking to a few changes at a time. If a client needs to cut back on soda, I'll usually suggest a gradual elimination. But if they're comfortable enough to take the plunge and see themselves sticking to it, then I'm all for it. If you want to change ONE thing and do it drastically, I think that's ok. But I do think it gets tricky when you want to change too many things at once. If you're gonna do it, do it right...right?
    Oh and I'm not married yet...but I do anticipate much crystal in my future. Joy.

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    1. Exactly Vanessa, like a post on Verging on Serious a few weeks back. If you try to change fewer things at once, success is more likely.

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  15. I feel like I am a more slow and gradual change, especially when dealing with patients and their families.
    I feel like whenever I have made changes, it is always in a similar fashion since I know I will stick to it better.
    Not married yet, but I will be keeping this in mind. ;)

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    1. totally take note, register for the things you will use in this lifetime. Interesting you are the same with clients and for yourself. I may be gradual for others and more extreme when it come to me personally.

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