July 8, 2021

3 Quotes I used to Save my own Damn Life.

Sometimes, all it takes is a moment of clarity.

A moment delivered by words across a screen, catching an inspiring lyric on the radio, something someone says in passing.

For lots of us, quotes and memes are what pull us in. In fact, we’re inundated with them. Over time, though, those words become meaningless. “Huh, cool,” you might think as you land on something a little inspiring—and in a flash, it’s forgotten and you’re on to the next thing, whatever it is.

But every once in a while, the quote hits hard enough to inspire real change.

Here are 3 quotes that f*cked my life up in the best possible way:

 

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My to-do list was always crossed off. My house was clean. The kids and pets were taken care of. Dinner and dishes were done, and laundry too. I did what I had to do. But I’d lost myself. What did I even like, anymore? Had my reading preferences changed? Where was my favorite hiking trail?

No idea. I was substance-less.

So, I examined every bit of my “have to do to get through life” requirements and totally rearranged and reconsidered them. Did some things have to be done as frequently? Could I spend less money on this and more on that? I picked everything apart with the goal of making space.

Then, I explored what actually lit me up.

And then I made those things happen. I made myself a priority in my own life. Yes, these things are still listed on my to-do list—because I’m me—but the weeks don’t blend into one another anymore. I always have something to look forward to. I’ve kind of figured out who I am on a deeper level, further from just a mama, editor, housekeeper.

“You do not need to care about yourself in order to start caring for yourself.”

I wish I could credit this quote. I heard it in passing—maybe on YouTube, or a podcast. But it woke me up better than my morning coffee.

I struggle heavily with self-love, for various reasons, and because of this, I let things go when it comes to my own mental and physical health. Of course, this isn’t always true, but lots of the time, it is. When I heard this advice, I realized that I don’t need to love or even like myself to do the things that I know are good for me. Regardless of my opinion on my mind or body or my life in general, I am still flesh and bones and energy that needs taken care of. Do I stop caring for my pets or my home because I’m annoyed by them? No! So why would I do that to the body and brain I inhabit?

(Side note: if you know where this line comes from, please comment and let me know!)

The third quote, I’ve already written about, and you can find it here.

The gist, though, is that we’re becoming more and more guilty of living our moments for the purpose of sharing or preserving them, and in the end, don’t actually really experience them.

Similarly, Benjamin Watson writes about how writers live two lives: “the life lived, and the life constantly reviewed and picked apart for juicy nuggets of insight and unique perspectives.” I can’t tell you how much that resonated. While it can be inspiring and invigorating to be struck by ideas, being too consumed with “this could make a great article” in everyday life can be draining and take away from being present in that moment.

And heads up: the less you are present in your everyday moments, the faster your life will go. This becomes more true the older you get, too.

Now, I’m a hell of a lot more selective about what I’m documenting for “future me.” And when I’m struck by an idea, I don’t begin writing the whole article in my head (as I have too often done while out walking my dog on the trail, completely ignoring the nature around me). I note the idea somewhere so I don’t forget, and mentally file it away. Then, I just remind myself to come back to the present. Life is so much sweeter that way.

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