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Healthy Stress and Breakfast Cereal

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One of the best parts about being pregnant is the Self-Care Mandate.

As in, now that you are a baby incubator, you need to not stress out and eat right. For me that has boiled down to the fact that nothing happens when I get home from work until after I have had my afternoon sit and a bowl of cereal.

I am working my way through the cereal aisle, revisiting all of my old favorites from when I was a kid. Last week was Kix. Now we’re working on Frosted Mini-Wheats…but the healthy variety.

It’s a pretty good routine.

The forcing myself to sit down and decompress part. Not the giving in to baby’s cravings for breakfast foods part (although that’s a good thing too).

Stress management has never been something at which I have excelled. My senior year of college I had three jobs on top of some 15 credits a semester and justified that working that much was a fine thing particularly since I never worked more than 15 hours a week at any one job. Never mind the fact that if you added them all up I probably logged an easy 20 -ish hours in a week. I had it under control, so it was all good.

In high school, I quit ballet after 10th grade because that was the one thing I felt I could part with. Marching Band only lasted for 3.5 months. Theater only took up time when we had a show going on. French Club was pretty low stress in that all we ever did was plot coups of our own elected officials and sell candy. I mean, it’s not like my work for yearbook was any big deal. It was one of my extra-curriculars at school and school work counted as a regular part of my day. Right?

I like to think of my high school self as driven rather than over-committed. Involved, rather than a bad manager of my own time.

My folks probably worried about me a lot more than they ever let on.

On the one hand, I didn’t have time to get in trouble. On the other hand, I wasn’t friends with people who got in trouble. I hung out with a group that was similarly academically-inclined. Our idea of a wild party usually involved sleep-over study sessions and eating too many marshmallows.

Yep. Real teen rebel here.

I like to think that my time spent being driven and involved led to me having an early understanding of what types of positive stress I need to thrive (side projects as a distraction but also being able to decide who gets my time). That, and I can handle the pressure of working on deadline like it’s a coffee break.

If time travel were possible, I would probably steer clear of ever meeting my high school self.  She turned out just fine without me.

~*La!

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Why Adults Should Go To Summer Camp

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I miss summer camp.

Or rather, since I never actually went (a one-week dance sampler and a week of Vacation Bible School don’t count), I miss the idea of summer camp.

Our local community centers have started advertising their camps. If I were between the ages of 12 and 16 I could spend a couple of weeks at The SPOT in Longmont where it’s not just day-camp trips to the water park and to our local branch of Six Flags, but outdoorsy how-to. Like eating healthy over a camp fire. And developing the skills to become competent at camping. (Someday, Mr. Pirate and I are going to go out and pitch a tent in the rain and it will be hilarious.)

Or Renaissance Adventures in Boulder! They even have a girl group which makes me happy because although I’m all for coed interactions, it’s easier sometimes to develop a love of storytelling and being comfortable in your own skin when you don’t have to worry about cooties.

But adults don’t get to experience summer camp unless we can live vicariously through our offspring or through some other kids in our lives. Since I have neither, I think I’d like to come up with my own program of summer camp for big kids.

I think there are two big obstacles standing in the way of adults going to summer camp.

  1. Time. When working 40 hours a week, allowing for the structured  leisure pursuits as offered by summer camp involves an extreme force of willpower. Mowing the lawn, doing the dishes and generally being a bum are easier than carving out time to learn arts and crafts or to go on a nature hike.
  2. Money. You cannot stop to tie your shoe without being reminded of how much our economy sucks right now. Being an unemployed or only part-time employed adult does not provide the disposable income to enroll in a taekwondo class just for fun.

As adults, we’re supposed to be responsible. Responsible with our time. Responsible with our budgets.

My issue with this perceived notion of responsibility is that it adds pressure and thus stress to people’s lives. Maybe a little bit of organized time to learn something new or to get out and enjoy the place where you live could benefit our society in big ways. Besides. It’s better to lead by example and maybe summer camps could benefit from kid enrollment if the adults in their lives engaged in summer camp activities too.

So that’s why I think summer camp shouldn’t end when you’re 12.

And this is what I plan to do for my own adult summer camp this year.

  • Practice driving a manual clutch once a week
  • Knit a bunny
  • Take a dance class with LaRissa
  • Learn to cook something new (mint chocolate chip cake with green icing, I’m talking about you!)
  • Build a window seat
  • Take violin lessons

Maybe this will lead to me completely over-taxing myself? Or maybe I’ll learn ways to budget my time more effectively.

We’ll see.

~*La!