August 12, 2018

New week's resolutions

I think a lot about what it would be like if I were my vacation self at home—curious, un-jaded, high-energy, in an exploratory mood. I think it's hard when you live in the place where you grew up—even if it is New York City, things just feel... familiar, easy, and comfortable. The other day I was explaining to a friend that one of the reasons I love/need to travel is because, at home, my identity is so completely wrapped up in my career and New York so intrinsically part of my DNA that I don't feel like I have a boundary, that my lines are blurred. It takes going away and putting myself in an unfamiliar context for me to find my borders, to define where my sense of self begins and ends.

Over the past few weeks I've been making an effort to do different things while home in New York—not just going through the motions of routine and fulfilling obligations on my daily to-do checklists. I've been trying to schedule in weekly shows—so far I've been to the Erasure show at the Beacon a few weeks ago, then I went to see My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center, and the week after I went to see my 'lil sib' from high school in Aladdin on Broadway—and movies (I went to see Christopher Robin two weeks ago; last week I scored a last-minute ticket to a screening of Crazy Rich Asians, which was amazing). I've also been trying out some new-to-me self-care spa treatments—I've been going for a monthly Korean body scrub, the one where the entire outside layer of your body peels off in clumpy grey rolls of dead skin (it's a slow, superficial form of catharsis), and have been scheduling in time for a weekly-ish infrared sweat session at Shape House, which is my favorite no-effort-feel-like-a-million-bucks way to spend money right now.

But it's not just about doing activities, I think. I feel, like a lot of women I know, especially around the same age, the essential difference between vacation me and home me is that home me beats myself up a lot—for not getting enough done, for not meeting expectations, for not losing weight, for wasting time, for eating this and not eating that, for not reading enough and spending too much time watching YouTube. Vacation me is kinder to myself. Have you ever noticed that it's really hard to relax on vacation? I have to spend a solid three or four days conscientiously talking myself into vacation mode, like giving a child permission: Don't check your email. You don't have to make a schedule for tomorrow. You can play it by ear. Yes, you have time to take a walk along the beach. You don't have to eat in a specific half-hour window because you will have free time later on. Wear what you want. Don't set an alarm.

I think I need to try to do this in my real non-vacation life too: Conscientiously be gentler with myself. So that's my new week's resolution—to work hard, but for a reasonable number of hours each week; read books if I want or watch YouTube videos if I want; take that 15 minutes to make a cup of tea and sitting down at my desk to write something for myself, instead of grabbing coffee on the go; wear that brighter shade of lipstick; take time out to bake a cake.