Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Rekindling Old Passions and Finding New May 25, 2012

I have a new passion: bird spotting.

Okay, so it’s not exactly new, nor is it the kind of passion that has me twitching in a hide in the middle of a field every weekend, so let’s call it a rekindled interest instead.

When I was young, I knew the names of hundreds of birds. Since then, I’ve moved to another continent with new birds and I’ve forgotten so much of what I once knew.  But on a recent trip to the coast, after squinting at a flock of birds nesting on a cliff face and having no clue what they were, I invested in a pair of binoculars and a copy of Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.

In all honesty, I stink at bird identification, and I’m stumped by more birds that I identify, but I’ve added several species to my scorecard, from the tiny Oak Titmouse that visits the “Bird Café” outside my office window, to the magnificent Bald Eagle that circled above me in the San Juan Islands. I even managed to identify a Western Screech-Owl after an in-depth search for recordings of its call. But most of all, I’m having fun rekindling an old hobby and learning something new.

So here’s my challenge to you on this fabulous (pre-holiday weekend) Friday: What can you learn about next week? Maybe it’s an old passion you can rekindle or a new pleasure you’d like to investigate. Find something new to learn and report back on what you’ve learned, even if it’s just a bit of trivia on your topic.

For now, I’ll leave with a very poor quality iPhone photo of a pair of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) that I spotted on the creek in my neighborhood. Happy holiday weekend to those of you stateside, and have fun learning something new!

P.S. Thanks to Kathleen for her suggestion for this post and for her excitement over my very common Common Merganser.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Puzzles January 24, 2012

 By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I took a week off over the recent holiday season, something I haven’t done in many years, and I planned all sorts of fun things for myself…of which I did, well, two. At the top of my list was to pull out the old card table and complete a jigsaw puzzle. It brought back memories of cozy holidays by the fireplace and lazy vacations in a remote cabin. I could hardly wait to get to the museum store and select a puzzle (I chose a painting depicting San Francisco landmarks), and I looked forward to indulging in some quiet while the picture was revealed before me.

What was I thinking?! That darn thing—1,000 pieces of a blurry friggin’ watercolor—was hard! It took me three-plus days to put the frame together and a couple of weeks post-holiday of a piece here, a piece there. There were times when I just wanted to sweep all the pieces into the box and move on with my life, but when the last piece slipped into place (Ta-da!), I did experience a gratifying sense of accomplishment.

Overall, I enjoyed my puzzling experience, and it was interesting to look back and realize I’d learned a life lesson in the process. You see, there were nights when I would stare at it and not see a single hook-up. Then, the next morning, I’d glance at it and instantly see where a huge chunk, when tilted slightly to the left, fit perfectly into a section that previously looked unrelated.

This got me thinking about how I can better face challenges in life. Instead of obsessing over it, stressing over it, banging my head against the wall, trying to cram pieces into sections that don’t fit, I need to walk away for a bit. If I take a step back and look at it from a new angle, if I allow myself a rest and return to it refreshed, I’ll be better able to see that all the pieces will come together perfectly—different than what I’d originally envisioned, but indeed perfectly.

It’s like the whole childfree thing. Years spent wanting, waiting, praying, trying to make my life fit the picture in my head. Then one day, a friend said, “Let’s start a blog,” and a whole new world opened up. I became part of a community of women who inspired, challenged, amazed, and comforted me. I found a place to share my stories and learn from others. And I look back at the pieces of my life and see how they’ve come together to reveal a beautiful new picture, one that might never have happened if I’d stayed frustrated, if I’d given up and thrown all the pieces back into the box.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

The LWB 30-Day Challenge July 2, 2011

Filed under: Fun Stuff,Health — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately. I’ve had a couple of minor health thingies this year – nothing serious, but just enough to remind me that I have to take care of this body of mine if I’m going to make it to 90 and do all the things I’m planning to do.

I’ve been eating healthy, cutting back on the things I know I’m supposed to cut back on, and I’ve been feeling way better. But the one problem I have is that I sit at a desk all day.

I’ve read several articles recently (like this one) about the ill effects of a sedentary life, and even though I do exercise, I’m concerned that I just don’t move enough. So…for the next 30 days I am going to move for 30 minutes every single day. Doesn’t matter whether it’s walking to the Post Office, going for a run, or boogying in the living room to some 80s tunes, I am going to move my behind.

Here’s my challenge to you:

What do you need to do to be good to yourself? Do you need to drink more water, get outside more, take your vitamins, do the back exercises your doctor gave you? What do you need to do that you’re not doing now? Do it for 30 days. Start today until the end of the month, or if you’re deep into a relaxing weekend or the long 4th July weekend here, then start next week. But start. Pick a challenge that works for you and do it.

I am going for a walk at the beach now, but I’ll be checking on you as the month goes along.