I had a conversation with a friend today. It was about ideas and possibilities. I found that every time she came up with an idea, I found a way to think about how it wouldn't work, or what could sabotage it. Instinctual. Reflexive. As we talked, I started to self diagnose... why do I feel this way? Why is this my gut reaction? Most importantly, what can I do to change this and make a negative instinct into a positive change?
The phrase “You are your own worst critic” describes me to a T. Nothing is ever good enough, well, not never. Often times it is nose to the grindstone, little if any fanfare, no celebration, on to the next. When you live hand to mouth, there is no “living paycheck to paycheck” because there is no paycheck. I don't get to show up and get paid, I have to chase that dollar every day.
The silver lining? While I am not a “doomsday prepper”, with the current Zombie Apocalypse situation that we are in, I found myself not stressing as much about things like paying bills and paying rent as everyone else. Why? Simply put, because I live that way every day. I have for at least the last decade. Do you know how to alleviate some of that? Prepare for it. I am prepared, because due to my lack of monetary income, I make up for it in other ways.
Let me explain. For the past, almost 10 years I have been gardening. Ethel, one of my closest friends, almost that long ago began teaching me how to do canning. She was born in 1925, so she knows all the old tricks. I started with tomatoes, then pickles, then dilly beans, lemon beans, salsa, salsa verde, beets... you get the idea. So, I have seedlings starting to grow in my greenhouse right now. Which means, come summertime, I won't have to go to the grocery store (a.k.a. “spend money”) as much. Win!
Along with gardening, one of my passions is cooking. I grew up the youngest of 11 kids (fun fact), so somehow while I wasn't much of a cook then, I have come into being a really creative cook over the last same decade. One, plus one, equals... I make a LOT of food. A LOT at a time! I think it probably started with making mass batches of black bean chili, back when a beloved restaurant in town that served it had closed. Having tons of zucchini from the garden transpired into making mass batches of spicy chicken zucchini soup, or zucchini relish (to be canned). Getting free fresh potatoes and leeks worked its way into huge batches of potato, sausage and leek soup... and on and on.
My mother buys a lot of cold meat for she and my father to have for lunches. She started saving them for me, and I started individually dishing out, labeling, dating, and freezing anything and everything that I am able. Macaroni and cheese, soups, sauces, etcetera. At some point I hope to work my way into canning these things, and meats, however I haven't gotten there yet. I came across a chest freezer at that time also (thanks, Ethel!). So, the fridge freezer and the chest freezer are both pretty much packed with goodies. Win win!
Another thing? Ethel started taking me to food pantries. Shudder and scoff if you want, but when I looked into her chest freezer (I inherited its contents as well) I asked her where she had gotten all this meat? No kidding, steaks, tenderloins, chicken, pork... all from the pantries. The people you meet there are from all walks of life, there are regulars and there are people who simply need a holiday boost for their grandkids. When we go, I only take what I will use, and leave the rest for the next guy. So that generally means fresh fruit, veg, and meats for me. Hey, sometimes you need to swallow your pride. Win win win!
“What exactly is your point, moxy.?” you ask? Well, I don't necessarily consider myself a negative person, per se. I feel negative feelings off and on. However when it comes right down to it, the show must go on. No one is going to do for me but me. You live alone you die alone (okay, that sounds negative, but... fact). So I celebrate the little victories, express my gratitude for what I do have every day, realise that there are people out there who have it worse than me, and keep on keepin' on.
In response to the question of how to make a negative instinct into a positive change, I haven't quite figured that one out yet. If you have any ideas, feel free to make suggestions! All I know is that I have to keep on trucking. A perfect example of this is this proverbial decade I keep talking about ago, I had a series of negative occurrences happen. Pets dying of cancer, break up with ex, pedestrian motor vehicle incident... and all I kept thinking of after all this happened was “I have to get up and walk the dog”. So, 15 or so years later, that has been a mantra of sorts.
No matter what, we have to keep going. Now more than ever.
Have a great weekend, stay safe! Love to all,