Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Love: Loving My Actual Life

I mostly love my life but am always looking for more inspiration or concrete ways to do that and when this book popped up on my Goodreads I immediately wanted to read it.  I had to purchase request it from the library and then wait awhile on the hold list.  But it worked out that it came in and I read it at just the right time.

I realize my life is pretty calm and manageable right now.  I barely work outside the home.  I have one kid.  We have no school schedule.  My husband works pretty normal hours, 8-5 most days.  We don't have a lot of obligations and commitments, enough, but not a lot.  But that doesn't mean there isn't any room for improvement.  Our mornings could always use some help, particularly any day we are leaving the house.  I continually want to do better with time management.  I'm not very good about making plans with others (Another day to stay home and not go anywhere?  Usually pretty ok with me!)  And that's where this book was mostly helpful.

Alexandra Kuykendall is a mother to 4 girls, a wife, and she wanted to love her life more.  So she came up with an experiment of 9 areas of focus over 9 months.  Each month would be something different.  Similar in concept to many "I'll do this for a year" books and it especially reminded me of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, in form but not necessarily in outcome or execution (although, if you enjoyed either of those books you'd probably be interested in this one).

Each chapter covered a different month of her project and she shared what specifically she wanted to focus on, the concrete steps she was making, and how it all went.

One chapter was the mornings, something we definitely need help with.  Another was taking better care of her own health.  Another was doing more adventures, the staycation and daily variety, with her family.  Another was getting her home more organizing and coming up with better systems and processes.  Another was menu planning (something I'm definitely a fan of).

I am in a different stage of life right now but I took something useful out of each chapter, if not for right now, then for later when we have school schedules and activities to deal with.

It's a fairly short book, a little more than 200 pages, so it was quick, easy, and enjoyable to read.  It's one I looked forward to picking up throughout my day and was a little sad when it was over.  I enjoyed this book.

I finished it the day before we had what turned out to be a very frustrating adoption meeting (7 hours out of our day for a 25 minute meeting, for starters).  I had picked Matt up at work for the meeting and so we were driving separate cars back through town to get home at the end of the day.  He had Luke with him so I was listening to podcasts (as I almost always do when I'm in the car alone) and next in my queue was an episode of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey where she was interviewing Alexandra Kuykendall, the author of this book (I had been saving that episode for when I finished the book).

They started with talking about loving your actual life and as soon as they said that something in me just snapped into place.  It didn't matter where the conversation went from there.  This adoption thing, not easy.  We've spent so many hours this year to finding agencies, making phone calls, filling out more paperwork, more meetings, more paperwork, meetings, paperwork (it's a never ending cycle).   It's been uplifting but also frustrating at different times.  And I happened to be listening to these ladies talk about how to love your actual life in the middle of one of these super frustrating times.  And it's just what I needed.  It might not be the journey we asked for but it's the journey we have.  So I can either mope and complain or suck it up and deal.  And right now I'm sucking it up and dealing.  I needed to hear that message on that day.  I needed some extra encouragement to get through more paperwork and answer questions like: "Describe your early sexual experiences" (Not a joke.) (There are boxes to check, not short answer, THANKFULLY).

Sometimes the right book comes at just the right moment.  I really liked this book when I finished it.  I super appreciated it the next day when I needed that message more than ever.  Even if your life is going pretty well, couldn't we all use a little improvement?  Who wouldn't like to love their life even a little bit more?  I'd recommend this book as a good place to start.

Goodreads | Amazon

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