355. experiences are only bad if you don’t learn from them.

from my poetry book Cycles, picture/link in sidebar

Yesterday, after a very busy day of running back and forth around town going to a business meeting, picking up my last CSA box of the season, and doing laundry, I went to my daughter’s father’s place to dogsit/housesit for him and his partner. On the way, I stopped by the store, and decided to grab a bottle of cider made from nettles (I’m a sucker for anything with nettles in it). 

I always thinking drinking is a great idea, until I actually do it. 

It’s funny because a lot of people think just one drink once or twice a week is actually a really great example of healthy moderation, and for many people, I think it is that way. However, I’m reminded every time I have one (1) drink that for me, moderation is none at all.

My one drink feels great while I’m drinking it. That nettle cider was tasty, I won’t lie, and the light feeling I got from it was rather nice since I so rarely drink. But then I get to deal with the almost immediate consequences:

  • Extraordinary difficulty getting and staying asleep. Some people find alcohol helps them sleep. Not for me. Last night, I got a grand total of maybe 2 hours. Why?
  • Anxiety. Suddenly I’m spending two hours vividly imagining tense conversations that have not happened yet and probably won’t happen. Suddenly I’m remembering scenes from that one scary movie I saw years ago that made me afraid of babysitting for months. Suddenly I’m incredibly worried that every little thing I’ve done wrong in the last several years are going to come back to bite me in the butt all at once, probably in the next few weeks.
  • Of course, all that anxiety and no sleep means I feel very blue the next day, maybe the day after that as well. I’m questioning my worth. My value. My ability. If I’m not careful, that can make me spiral down into a week-long stormy cloud over my head.

just because something is okay for everyone else, doesn’t mean it needs to be okay for you.

It’s OK if, for you, moderation means pretty much none at all. That’s what I have to remind myself of when I’m thinking of crossing my own boundaries and doing what I know isn’t going to make me feel good (and ends up being a waste of $8.75, to boot). 

I also have to remind myself that one bad decision doesn’t make null and void all of my other, better decisions.

In the past week, some good decisions I have made for myself are:

  • Switching up my daily 2 cups of coffee for 2 cups of yerba mate. 
  • Drastically reducing my bread-and-cheese intake.
  • Doing 30-45min of yoga, pilates, and hooping every morning. 
  • Staving off my urge to distract myself with sex by choosing instead to work out, call my mom, go to a success seminar, going for a nature walk, read, and write in my journal.
  • Standing up for a personal boundary in a calm and respectful but clear and firm way.
  • Letting myself rest when I feel stretched thin.

My one bad decision yesterday to drink a 16.9 fluid ounce bottle of hard cider does not cancel out all the good I’ve done for myself, nor can it stop me from doing good things for myself today. 

Because that’s, I think, the biggest part of self-love: self-forgiveness and moving on. If you can forgive yourself for the small mistakes and live a vibrant and integrated life anyway, then just imagine what you can do for yourself and your life when the bigger mistakes happen.

Because they will happen. 

But because you have practiced self-forgiveness on a daily basis, you know you’ll be better than okay.

Every morning is a new day. Every moment is a new opportunity to be just 1% better than you were before.

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