I’m on a Selfish Sabbatical

If you ask me for anything July through August 2020, I will answer —

I’ve actually been on a Selfish Sabbatical (SFSB) for years. But it’s been a focused, very niche SFSB.

To deal with the high-class problem of constant variations of asks to get coffee, pick my brain, grab lunch, or hear my story and me constantly wanting to be helpful and yes’y but not via coffee dates so constantly saying “No” but then constantly feeling like a horrible person thus constantly over-agonizing about emails in my inbox and my eventual responses, I spent time reflecting, gathering, listening, and stealing, eventually landing on a solution that’s worked for me for a gaggle of years now  — the Selfish Sabbatical Canned Response.

When I get a chat ask, in one click, I customize a bit and reply with this. It’s saved me time and it’s saved me mental space and energy. When it comes to “Can we grab a quick coffee?” requests.

Imagine if it applied to all requests. That others make of me and that I make of myself.

I decided to actualize that imagine. For the next month and if desired, the next two months, I am giving myself permission to do and not do.

I came up with the idea of extending my Coffee SFSB to Life SFSB a few weeks ago when I realized that if I made no more money for the rest of the summer, I’d be ok. This isn’t to say I’m rolling in cash. I’m not. But after wild swings of cash flow and expected income and certainty since March, and way too much use of the word “pivot,” I’ve stabilized (for now; with business owners, it’s always for now). I’ve stabilized and I’ve tired of pivoting. And creating for money. Especially because the money was “pay the bills” money, not “Travel! Pedicure! Decadent milkshake!” money. Boring money, not fun money.

When I realized that I could stop scrambling and innovating and churning out Eventbrite registration pages, I had a few “Ha ha!, it’d never happen but it’d be nice” daydream’y moments. Mmmmmmm. Two months to do whatever I want. To not worry about sales, ROI, and attendee numbers. To not have to send out Zoom links, triple checking they’re the right links to the right Zooms cause you have seventeen current Zoom offerings. To not have to update Powerpoint. To not birth curriculum. To not have to send “Hey, just checking in about below…” emails.

Maybe I could make progress, quality progress on things I’ve been wanting to progress on for so long. Too long.

Maybe…
Maybe…
Maybe…

The maybes started flowing in and swirling around.    
   
I already lead a pretty autonomous life. I’ve been my own boss for sixteen years. I work from home. I don’t have kids or pets. I have a supportive, funny, cute-cheeked husband. I wake up slow, I don’t have meetings, I take Tuesday afternoon naps. I don’t care what others think. I know that not all money is good money, not all potential clients should be actual clients, and to be picky about with whom I collaborate. I do what makes me happy. I unapologetically and deliciously lead a Saya-First, Sayacentric life, arriving at the freeing discernment years ago that I’m better for others when I’m best for myself. When stress surfaces, I deal with the stress and move on. I’m not a dweller or navel-gazer. I’m a doer.

So when I had this daydreamy epiphany and I actually gave it some weight, I was surprised at how almost immediately, ironically, weight-lifted.

I’m not unhappy. I enjoy my life. Any angst of mine is fairly minute, even during the initial COVID moments of “Oh shit. I’m an in-person events business. Byeeeeee most of my income!” As mentioned, I nod to the stress and get to work. Yet the level of squeeeeee! I felt when I initially came up with the idea of an all encompassing Selfish Sabbatical and every time after when I noodled upon the idea was off the charts. A huge relief. Like someone added another airway to my breathing passage and offered to carry my bags.

The main driving force behind a Selfish Sabbatical is that there are desires we desire in life but for whatever reason, perhaps for a myriad of reasons, we don’t possess the desires. Yet we could. With a bit of planning, honesty, and reflection, with self-permission, we could transform desires into accomplishments. And while the end results are a huge part of the experience, the journey to the end results is just as important. The SFSB journey in and of itself is an accomplishment.

We are weird creatures, us human beings. We continually get in our own way and stifle our own greatness and joy. The fact that I have to pen an intricate, wordy, TMI musing and create ruler-fueled charts and dip into my sticker collection to do something that could easily be done without any of that is ridiculous. But that’s part of the rub (and why the “You want me to do what?” Cross It Off Day and Weekend exist). I’m tired of saving my stickers for something special. Life is special. Today is special. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I want to do now what I’ve wanted to do forever.

So when I saw the glimmer of light peeking through the 1/2 inch opening in the door to Oprah’s World, where you can say “Fuck it, I ain’t got no responsibilities, I’m living my best life every day!”, I decided to do just that. Live like Oprah. Well, Oprah Light. I still gots responsibilities.

July & August Commitments

Events

  • Two summer storytelling classes that start this week and go for eight weeks
  • Four Lighthouse Squad gatherings
  • Two Chapter Leader Chats
  • July 9 — I Can’t: Podcast
  • July 12 — I Can’t: Move Somewhere New
  • July 16 — I Can’t: Side Hustle
  • July 21 — I Can’t: Light Myself
  • July 24 — I Can’t: Facilitate Virtually
  • August 9 — Cross It Off Day

The beauty in all of these? Storytelling class is 80% student-generated work and the bulk of curriculum creation is already done. These Lighthouse Squads and the I Can’ts are taught by not me. The Chapter Leader Chats can be and thus will be not me generated. Cross It Off Day is a day to work on your own thing. Could the stars have aligned any more perfectly?! I’m still bringing in income but like, hands-off income. Not to mention the real hands-off income of sales from the Mac & Cheese Store, financial cheers from Patreon cheerleaders, and affiliate money.

Cleaning

  • Eight cleaning gigs
  • Manage the cleaning crew and all of their gigs

It’s a pretty wonderful thing to get paid to do infrequent super physical work that brings others so much joy. It’s a pretty wonderful thing to get paid while other people do super physical work that brings others so much joy and helps other entrepreneurial creatives make a living.

Other Calendar Commitments 

  • 1 University of Chicago Small Business Program meeting
  • 2 social get togethers

I’ve decided to keep my two’ish times a month newsletter going and promotion of events going because I enjoy those, both the actual doing and the resulting results. That’s it. I am not adding anything else to the calendar, with the possible exception of an HVAC cleaning appointment and fun stuff. DO YOU KNOW HOW FREEING IT IS TO SAY THAT? TO FEEL THAT? TO BELIEVE THAT? Knowing that if anyone asks me to do anything, “No can do, [link to this blog post]” and immediately go back to writing or gardening or taking a meandering walk or eating basil from our planter box with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls. 

Of course, there’ll be the audit from my insurance company. The emails from potential consulting clients, cleaning clients, facilitation clients. The unexpected XYZ to go along with the unexpected ABC. But I’ll have the space, literally and mentally, to deal with what needs dealing with and then return to thumbing through a book in a comfy rocker.
 
Time to get to designing that Oprah Light life. 

Selfish Sabbatical

July 2020 to August 2020 [with permission to extend until September 2020]

There were a couple obvious SFSB inclusions — 

  • Work on the book
  • Prioritize healthy choices

To create a robust plan I turned to what I turn to in these types of scenarios — list making. First, a list of questions. Then a list of answers.

  • What brings me joy?
  • What do I want/need space for?
  • What am I envious of?
  • What’s a source of frustration?
  • What’s a cloud?
  • What excites me to do but…?
  • What have I always wanted to try?
  • What takes a lot of time?
  • What takes focus?
  • How will I measure success?

I also turned to another what I turn to in these types of scenarios — crowdsourcing. Research shows that being exposed to other people’s goals, wants, dislikes, likes, priorities, and dreams helps you figure out your own goals, wants, dislikes, likes, priorities, and dreams which in my opinion helps you design a life that fits you and should be impetus behind every decision you decide and every action you take. People’s answers were fascinating, both so very different and so very the same (appears this book-writing thing is a thing for most of us 😂). If you’d like to peep the responses, you can see them in the “Whaddya Say?” Story Highlight in my Instagram (if you don’t know what Story Highlights are, a) you should take my I Can’t: Instagram Story class and b) Story Highlights are the (mostly yellow) circles in my profile that are titled various titles like “Doodles”, “Travel”, and “Cleaning Joy.” Tap the one you want to look at).

After list making and crowdsourcing and revamping my lists based on the crowdsourcing, I categorized my answers by how they’d fall on the schedule and where applicable, put them in chronological order and added parameters. If you’d like fleshed out context, detail for each entry is at the end of post.

This is for July. I may repeat as is for August, I may change it up.

DAILY

  1. Brush teeth AM
  2. Wash face AM
  3. Write — at least 60 minutes uninterrupted
  4. Drink H20 — at least 3 bottles
  5. Mindful portions
  6. Core — at least 7 minutes uninterrupted
  7. Movement — at least 60 minutes uninterrupted
  8. Sunshine — at least 30 minutes
  9. Read — at least 20 minutes uninterrupted
  10. Evening wind down
  11. Lotion
  12. Brush teeth PM
  13. Floss
  14. Scrape tongue
  15. Wash face PM
  16. Good sleep — at least 8 hours
  17. Track

AT LEAST ONE TIME

  • Online yoga
  • Buy self-flowers
  • DIY mani

AT LEAST TWO TIMES

  • Local exploration
  • Hiking day trip/overnight trip

EVERY THREE DAYS

  • Plant care
  • Weigh self

MUST FINISH

  • Note transfers
  • Door project
  • Baseboard corners
  • Clean car interior

WHENEVER

  • Guilt-free internal coffee
  • Guilt-free external coffee and eating out
  • Volunteer
  • Cleaning experiments
  • Thank You notes
  • Use the “good” stuff
  • Doodle
  • Secret Project

NOPE

  • Offering creation
  • Caring about money
  • Non single-serving sweets
  • Desk sitting
  • Background TV

Then I created a few guidelines —

  • Not contingent on anyone else (but can include anyone else), e.g. going for a hike or working out
  • No feeling bad/like a failure
  • No right way to take a SFSB
  • It’s ok to pivot/stop XYZ but give it a moment; can you push through? If you oops’ed today, regroup for tomorrow?
  • Bare minimum external commitments
  • Cut off for Calendar Add Ons
  • Focused resources: time, money, energy, brain space
  • Be ok saying no to anything/one that doesn’t support your SFSB
  • Ease into it, do test runs

Finally, I created a few completely unnecessary SFSB visual tools. The thought of ransacking the office supply closet and spread out crafting at the dining room table was a delicious thought so I decided to lean in. Like, hours of leaning in. Like, I’m a 41 year old with marker smudges on my fingers and piles of stickers in order of the amount of joy they give me. The discovery of delightful items I forgot I had and the tangible products at the end elicited several swoons and smiles.

So, here we go. While I think it’s important to feel progress and celebrate progress, which is what expectations and goals are good for, I also don’t want this to be stressful. Thus I’m trying to balance being thoughtful and plan’y with being free and as the wind blows. Even now, I feel there are other things that could be written and mused about but you know what? I’m tired of musing and I want to get to SFSB’ing. So ending it here.

I’m sure I’ll do a wrap-up post at the end of the month or end of the summer. If you’d like to follow along as I go, Instagram is your best bet, probably usually my Story as opposed to my Feed. And probably my newsletter.

Wanna passively participate?! I have one “dealer’s choice” blank box in my “must do at least twice” category — got a suggestion for what should go there? Comment below. Be nice. 😄 I don’t do jumping out of planes or listening to jazz.

Wanna actively participate?! I invite you to embark on your own SFSB. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near [gestures at this post, the charts, the lists…]. Just pick a few things to do and few things to not do, carve out some space, and see what happens. If you choose to share, yessssssss! You know I’m all about that. Use #LifeOfYes #selfishsabbatical so we call can be inspired and motivated and rah rah rah’y.

Okay, byeeeeeee! Gotta get up from this dang desk and give myself an X for already brushing my teeth, washing my face, weighing in, drinking water, and writing. No thank you, I’m on a Selfish Sabbatical in 3, 2, 1… Oh wait, another thing. Note that I didn’t write “I’m sorry, I’m on a Selfish Sabbatical.” Stop apologizing for everything — “Sorry it took me so long to get back to you…” “Sorry I’m walking on the sidewalk you’re also walking on…” “Sorry I’m doing this awesome thing…” We apologize too much.

Ok, No thank you, I’m on a Selfish Sabbatical in 3, 2, 1…


Do’s & Don’ts Context

DAILY
Brush teeth AM
I’m actually pretty good with teeth brushing. I’d say my teeth are one of my Top Four body parts/areas (with nods to my collar bone, skin color, and ears). But after, for the first time in my adult life, not getting my teeth cleaned within six months of my last appointment thanks to COVID and it being instead nine months which just occurred last week, I wanna keep these pearly off-whites as pearly as I can. You know when you go to the dentist and afterwards you’re like “Ok, blank slate. I’m going to be good from now on. Brushing, flossing, all the mouth things.” That’s where I am. And hopefully this’ll stop me from the occasional “I’m just too tired to brush tonight’ incidents.

Wash face AM
I’ve never been a face washer. I’ve always wanted to be. I’ll buy face juice and it’ll sit in my vanity and every seven months, I’ll be inspired to pump one pump. After a gal I respect politely yet firmly yelled at a group of us “Wash your damn face!” a few months ago, the desire has been a tad stronger. So what better time than a SFSB for facial baths?

Write — at least 60 minutes uninterrupted
This is what I hope most of my days are spent doing. Specifically, my book. I’ve tried it all. Surely being a Soho House member will make the book happen. It did not. Surely sharing your struggle to write your book and the ensuing supportive cheers will make the book happen. They did not (though they always help). Surely being in storytelling shows and being hired for speaking gigs will make the book happen. They did not (though they always help). Surely a successful non-book tour Kickstarter will make the book happen. It was happening but then COVID.

Drink H20 — at least 3 bottles
This is one of those “It’s so easy, so free, so good for you, why can’t you just do it?!” items. Yet I can’t. So into the SFSB it goes.

Mindful portions
I don’t like paying attention to food in terms of calories, points, grams of this or percentage of that. When I see what an actual portion size is and when I read what an actual serving size is, OMG, hahahahahhahahaha. But like a sad, mortified hahahahahahahha. I don’t want to measure or count or do any kind of thinking when it comes to food. But I can probably handle using the small bowl instead of the large bowl, and only using two slots of the four slot toaster at a time.

Core — at least 7 minutes uninterrupted
I miss my core strength*. I’m amazed how little it takes to build it up. Yet core work eludes me. *If I was being honest, this would read “I miss my core strength and I’m tired of looking pregnant.”

Movement — at least 60 minutes uninterrupted
Wayyyyyy too much desk-sitting. Even pre-COVID. Like going on I don’t even know how many years. Cause of all the excuses — I’m busy. It’s cold. It’s raining. Just 20 more minutes. Tomorrow. I’m too jiggly. However the movement happens, bike, walk, yoga, run, stairs, it’s gotta happen. Getting older and creakier and more prone to injuries and a lower back that always feels like it’s about to give out with one wrong move, I’ve gotta take advantage of being relatively healthy and use these legs and arms and the rest of it. Of me.

Sunshine — at least 30 minutes
My thyroid specialist put me on a super-mutant Vitamin D pill, like 50,000 CPUs per pill. No wait, that’s how you measure TVs, I think. Or computers. Whatever. Pills I took once a week that were chock full of D and had to pick up at the pharmacy. I’ve continuously measured low IN SUNSHINE going on years now. This makes me so sad. Being low in boring stuff, like calcium or iron, I get. But SUNSHINE?

Read — at least 20 minutes uninterrupted
I want to read more. When I do read, I love it. I don’t know why it’s decreased so much in my life. I think much of it is when I do read, it’s not relaxed reading; it’s “to do something with” reading. Highlighting. Copy and pasting. Filing. Sharing. Incorporating into a curriculum. Making into an inspirational quote graphic. It’s reading with effort. What compounds the feeling of effort is that I have trouble staying in a book without my mind wandering or picking up the phone. So when I say “read” here, I mean read simply to read.

Evening wind down
Just like brushing my teeth, this is something I already do and want to continue because my evening wind down is crucial to my focus and serenity which is crucial to my primary SFSB task of penning my book. I found that right before bed, after doing some late night work or TV consumption, I’d have no mental energy but a bit of physical energy. That combined with my love of cleaning and my love for cleanliness, a-ha! That’s a recipe for utopia. Most evenings before bed, I do a quick sweep of the house. What’s out of place? What’s disgusting? What will bother me tomorrow morning and cause me to “take care of it” which’ll cause me to get started doing what I want to do late which’ll throw my whole day off which is not how I want to live life. Dishes or Pringles cans in the office? Move to the kitchen. Clothes on the couch? Move to the bedroom. Desk cleared off and wiped down. Bathroom sinks cleared off and wiped down. The majority of my time is spent in the kitchen — counter cleared off and wiped down; fridge fingerprints wiped away; stovetop wiped down; dishes put away or put in the dishwasher. It may sound like a lot but it’s 15 minutes, tops. And by the end, I’m ready to fall into bed, drifting into a sweet sleep lined with the thought of waking up to a peaceful, beautiful space, ready for thoughts and brainstorms and progress and productivity and creation.

Lotion
Y’all, my feet are nasty. The heels, cracked. My big toes, rock hard on the outer sides. Now that it’s summer, they’re not as horrific as they were this winter when they’d catch on stuff due to sticking out skin particles. Pedicures are ways I treat myself a few times a year, where I leave foot maintenance up to the professionals. Due to COVID, I’m not sure when I’ll next salon-pedicure myself. So I’ve gotta self-love these things.

Brush teeth PM

Floss
Another one of those “It’s so easy, so free, so good for you, why can’t you just do it?!” items. I just can’t make it happen. I will say that having the permanent retainer on my lower teeth makes it a bit less easy and more cumbersome, involving a threader and getting into tight spaces, so tight that you may accidentally pop off said retainer resulting in a $400 out of pocket dentist bill. But I will also say the majority of my teeth are not behind a retainer and I still don’t floss them.

Scrape tongue
This is a weird one. A few years ago, I became self-conscious about my breath and its level of stank. Perceived stank. Actual stank. I don’t know. But around the same time, I heard that tongue scraping was an easy solution to bad breath and bonus, encourages mouth health. So I bought a tongue scraper. And have used it rarely. Time to get back to scraping.

Wash face PM
I hope I can do both the AM and PM wipe down. But if only one happens, lord I hope it’s the PM face wash. Get all that ick from the day off!

Good sleep — at least 8 hours
This is another “I do this already and I just want to continue it” entry. Sleep is sooooo important. I didn’t realize how many people struggle with good sleep. It’s made me appreciative that I go to bed around 10, 10:30 each night and wake up at 7ish each morning. Perhaps there’s a pee break or two in there. Sometimes there’s a “hit the husband cause he’s snoring” blip. Rarely there’s a “move to the couch cause husband is snoring” jaunt. But usually, it’s a deep, interrupted sleep on an expensive mattress on an expensive bed frame and both were totally worth the expense. One of the reasons we don’t have kids or pets — we like our sleep. Nothing underlines this more than when we foster our puppy cuddlebugs; so adorably delicious but boy, do they have needs.

Track
I go back and forth on tracking. It’s definitely been motivating in the past. It’s also definitely been “Ughhhh, this is annoying and a waste of time and I’d so much rather be doing anything else.” But I’ve been craving analog and craftiness and using some of oodles of fabulous office supplies I have, so thought, why not? Have some fun creating a tracking tracker and see what happens. If I hate it, I’ll cease it.

AT LEAST ONE TIME
Online yoga
I enjoy in person yoga. I have never enjoyed at home yoga. Or at least I don’t think I would. I’ve never done it. I miss yoga. I need yoga. My body is screaming for bends and stretches. I have no excuse. My two favorite yoga teachers offer tons of online classes. I have a mat and blocks. In order to not be my own pet peeve of being that person who hates something they’ve never tried, I will do it at least once. Hopefully so I can say, “Wow, I’m an idiot. That was great. Why’d I wait so long?!”

Buy self flowers
One of the easiest ways to bring brightness to yourself.

DIY mani
I love giving myself a cut and a clear polish job. I just don’t make the time.

AT LEAST TWO TIMES
Local exploration
As I go back and forth on leaving Chicago, one of the reasons to go that I always land on is that I’m no longer excited to “do” Chicago. While I love taking public transit when we travel, taking the Ashland bus for fun sounds like the worst idea ever. While I love meandering neighborhoods and stumbling upon surprise gems of homes or stores or restaurants when we travel, I don’t do that here. That said, I know there’s an el ride and oodles of stumbles upon here in this vast beautiful city that yes I have lived in forever but no have not explored every nook and cranny. To 312 adventure!

Hiking day trip/overnight trip
This is another pull to move elsewhere. Nature. While we don’t have nearby mountains or glaciers, there are some pretty pretty places within driving distance of Chicago. We always talk about wanting to be those people. Those hiking folks. Time to make it happen. At least twice.

EVERY THREE DAYS
Plant care
My plant baby collection has grown and I’ve been enjoying caring for these cuddlebugs that don’t poop and pee all over my house, nor wake me for a 6AM feeding, nor claw/bite apart my furniture. I find it both relaxing and invigorating to spend time with them, pruning dead leaves, watering, cutting back overgrowns. I have recently become aware of the Big Plant movement and when I’m Peeping Tom homes on walks and bike rides, one of the things I notice most in an “I want you!” way is the ginormous greenery taking over living spaces.

Weigh self
We have this fabulous (horrible) scale that tracks your weight and gives you all sorts of health data. When things are going well, it’s an angel. When things are now, it’s the devil. But sometimes one must face the devil, embrace the devil, work with the devil. Cause as evidenced in the past, what the devil puts out can be oh so motivating.

MUST FINISH
Note transfers
When I go to conferences or lectures, or take classes or webinars, some times I’ll analog my notes and jot them down in a notebook. In an ideal world, as soon as said event ends, I process the notes, literally and figuratively, by typing them into Evernote. This ideal world has been almost non existent for the past few years. I want to digitize all my random leftover notes.

Door project
I don’t really want to talk about it. Basically, I tried an art project and decided it wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, it’s in a prominent spot in our home and isn’t an easy fix. So I’ve both been dragging my feet and attacking it, and it still isn’t done. It will be finished.

Baseboard corners
I need to get after a few spots. The grime is really caked in there. And they bother me every time I see them.

Clean car interior
Baby’s about to turn one! To celebrate, she needs a good interior scrub down. It’s been a while. Plus, who knows what COVID pests are lurking in there? This’ll make me feel good on many levels.

WHENEVER
Guilt-free internal coffee

Before we go any further, let it be known that someone DM’ed me her disgust? Disappointment? Dis-a doesn’t matter cause I blocked her, RE the fact that I use coffee pods. I shared a simple pleasures post of my then new Keurig machine and pod container, saying that while I know they’re not the greenest option, having multiple flavor options and a no effort, immediate hot beverage made me feel like royalty and thus it was a no-no I was willing to yes-yes. I have no patience for people crapping on others’ joy. And while I for the most part, drink my daily pod sans guilt, occasionally I’ll feel a twinge. Twinge no more. I will enjoy my Texas Pecan followed by a Crème Brûlée, pinky up.

Guilt-free external coffee and eating out
I don’t coffeehouse or eat out that often. When I do, I usually feel a bit o’ guilt. I should be drinking the pounds of coffee I have at home. I should be eating the Tupperware contents in my fridge. Member that $200 you just dropped at Costco? Why are you at Epic Burger?! While I still need and want to make frugal choices, for this SFSB, I am giving myself permission to drink and eat out guilt-free.

Volunteer
I thought about fostering more puppies, bringing us up to number sixteen, but those nuggets are the complete opposite of selfish and focus. So I’ll see what one-off volunteering I can do. I like the idea of a random Tuesday spent getting my hands dirty to help others.

Cleaning experiments
I love A/B cleaning tests. Sometimes A/B/C/D cleaning tests. Where I try different methods or products and compare the results.

Thank You notes
Boy, do I have a lot of Thank You’s to put out into the world! These past few months of business panic have been survived and overcome because of my community. And they need to hear that.

Use the “good” stuff
The good sheets, candles, dishes, mugs, notebooks, pens, stickers, coffee, toiletries… The stuff you save for guests, for holidays, for special occasions. I’mma gonna use it all.

Doodle
Doodling has brought me a lot of joy over the past year. It’s been a surprising “thing” of mine. Both my enjoyment and your reactions. (I know, I know, you want an I Can’t: Doodle.)

Secret Project
I have an idea and it excites me so I’m gonna play around with it.

NOPE
Offering creation and caring about money
When pondering “What takes a lot of time?” in my current day to day, time I’d rather be spending in other ways, it was obvious that the COVID-induced creation mode I had been in for months needed to cease. An additional goodbye to the ominous “You always need to be making or thinking about making money” cloud that’s present even on sunny days, no matter in what zip code I find myself.

Non single-serving sweets
I don’t like health decisions that involve doing things that aren’t forever things. Only drinking smoothies. Never having processed food. Having a beet-heavy diet. While I need to curb the donuts, saying “No sweets” for a month isn’t the route I want to go. I want to be able forever and ever to trust myself to make good choices. So my compromise with myself is I can have sweets, I just can’t have them in the house. I have yet to meet a box of cookies I don’t polish off in a day. When I want a cookie or chocolate or ice cream, I can walk to Baby Target and buy a Kit Kat or to Jeni’s for a scoop of Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks.

Desk sitting
Too much desk sitting. And I even have a standing desk! This isn’t just about how bad it is for me to sit at the computer screen for hours, it’s about how we have a beautiful home with a variety of fabulous seating areas that I don’t use. The deep couches. The rocker armchairs and matching ottomans that hide secret pillows, pens, and reading material. The urban oasis courtyard, just a 1/2 block from busy Division Street yet quiet and nature’y. The rooftop that provides an “Awwwww, Chicago” feeling when you see her skyscrapers and vaulted communities of patio furniture, hanging plants, and twinkle lights.

Background TV
A lot people’s SFSBs would probably include a social media break. A phone break. A TV break. For the most part, I don’t need or want those breaks. I do want to do more things uninterrupted and focused so I plan on taking social media, phone, and TV breaks when writing and the like. But this isn’t a tech elimination diet like so many embark upon. I like Facebook, my Galaxy S20, and TV. What I don’t like is when I turn on the TV when I don’t want to watch TV, simply out of habit. Doodle, internet, read without the Roku glow. Unless I want to doodle while watching Queer Eye. It’s about making a conscious choice.


Have you SFSB’ed before?! If so, how’d it go? If not, what would be on your Selfish Sabbatical Do List? Don’t List?

Any suggestions for my “Do at least two times” blank box?