By Amanda Cleary Eastep
My breakfast was so pretty I took a picture. And posted it on social media, of course.
I felt proud, like it was my kid, and this was her first day of Kindergarten. Ok, sure, it was just two fried eggs sprinkled with roasted and crushed kale, diced fresh tomato, apple slices and black coffee. But it was also the start of something new. A restart if you will.
Starting the Whole30 meal plan — hey, it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life! — reminded me of how we often need to reboot our lives.
This is more than a reset.
From my nano understanding of computers, a restart or reboot means our “hardware is taken from a non-functional state to an operational one.”
A reset (a term the bright, energetic and excessively “regular” folks at Whole30 use) involves erasing recent changes and bringing computer hardware and software back to its original or default settings.
While I wouldn’t say I’ve been “non-functional,” the issue with using a reset instead of a restart analogy to describe a change is this:
Many of our “default settings” are what need changing. I don’t necessarily want to be reset to my default. That kind of change, of course, takes longer than pushing a button.
Take the change in my diet. My default is to eat an entire loaf of freshly baked, still warm, Get In My Belly artisan bread. Resetting my eating habits would mean that once the 30 days are up, I’ll buy a 20 pound bag of bread flour on Day 31.
A restart, however, means I’ll keep a higher meat/veggie/fruit diet and eat grains and dairy in much lower quantities than I used to. Not defaulting to my bread addiction means I’ll continue to enjoy the increased energy and other benefits of a new way of eating.
I’m discovering that restarting for me occurs for two main reasons.
- My life has settled into a rut. Say an office job that squelches my creativity but that I keep because of a negative default setting of a need for security.
- My life has undergone a major change not of my own making. Say turning 50 or becoming an almost empty nester. So, in addition, I decide to make a change on my terms–a new diet or hobby or goal–as a healthy way of responding rather than just reacting to a change I can’t control.
As I approach the big 5-0 (i.e., the bastard totally snuck up on me), I will be celebrating my first anniversary of launching my freelance writing business (October 1 for those of you who would like to send chocolate).
I took that leap and quit my full-time job with its 401K and ulcers knowing that I would be facing one of my biggest defaults–fear of financial insecurity.
But like I said, changing negative default settings takes longer than flipping a switch. I can’t say I haven’t panicked over the past year of self-employment. (This looks something like breaking out in a cold sweat, searching Indeed.com and believing I can drive a delivery truck). Yet I’ve also reduced my spending and rethought what I really need, and truly, even what I want.
These new settings are manifesting themselves in both productive ways, such as diligent work on my book, and crazy thoughts…
I was driving home with my husband after a weekend away recently. Speeding down the interstate, blasting Steppenwolf and sticking my arm out the open window (until my hand caught the wind and nearly tore my 50-year-old meniscus), I yelled, “How much do you think it costs each year to live in a camper?”
My husband, who–HUGE kudos to him–is in the early stages of working toward a lifelong triathlon dream, yelled back:
“You mean pay $40 a day to be homeless?”
OK, so not every restart idea is gold. But my changing mindset is not unlike my Whole30 breakfast.
I put thought into preparation and resourcefully gathered from the mostly empty refrigerator (ah, self employment!). As I did, I realized I need protein, but I don’t need cream in my coffee (half and half is one default setting I will happily return to.) I need to pay my mortgage, but I don’t need an expensive car.
What about what we want?
Funny thing is, that changes, too. Needs and wants start to align. Kind of the same way, as Christians, our will doesn’t often line up with God’s will until our default setting is to want him above all else. (Still working on that one.)
My negative default settings–fear of scarcity, of failure, of not fully living out my purpose–are slowly being changed. (If only I were 25.) By restarting different aspects of my life, such as the way I nourish my body or support my family, I can move from just-functional to operational…to resourcefulness, new opportunity and even courage.
Maybe it even makes it easier for the Holy Spirit to move me (especially minus those three loaves of cinnamon sugar swirl) in the direction of God.