Lifestyle, Personal, Self Care
Comments 11

Emptying Your Cart


Image Credit : The Fiscal Times

I’m the kind of person who will go into a grocery store with the intention of buying two things. Let’s say grocery bags and yogurt. And you know what sucks? I was just at the grocery store, and managed to not get the only two things I needed. So here we are again.

Then I decide I want avocados. And then I see tomatoes. And then I think about how much I love avocado toast and I pick up a baguette. And for some reason I HAVE to make apple crisp like a true overachiever. I rarely bake. So I pick up a dozen apples. A DOZEN. I’m pretty sure apple crisp only requires 6 apples but what if my neighbors want some? It would be nice to be the chick who bakes apple crisp for the whole goddamn neighborhood.

I needed two things. I was literally just here. My fridge is full. My arms are full. I should, in theory, be ALL SET. Instead, I am dashing up and down aisles collecting all of these unnecessary items, and I’m already in desperate need of extra arms. When the grocery store clerk asks me if I’d like a basket, or some help, I always politely say, “No thank you. I got this!” But I don’t. I stumble on, peering over my own armload, refusing help and refusing to put things down.

You can imagine how much worse this gets when I have a cart. NEVER give me a cart. I quickly become a family of 16. The basket is my sweet spot.

This is ACTUALLY how I grocery shop, but over mescal cocktails and good conversation last week, it became a metaphor for life lately. I mentioned to a new friend (new friends are still a thing in your late 20’s) over dinner that it felt like my cart was overflowing. I just kept adding things and adding things. It was officially too full, too hard to push, and it was slowing me down.

I was about to go to New York for two lightning fast days because I couldn’t get Friday off. So technically, one full day and one sort of day. I had a Blood Orange concert, an event at GIFY, a few meetings, and also made plans to play catch up with friends in that one and one sort of day. Then, I’d make a mad dash for Boston Sunday morning to catch the tail end of a wellness conference. And much like the grocery store, I was JUST in New York. But I had made my mind up. I had things to do, and people to see, and meetings to have, and life’s ass to kick, accordingly.

And then life started very rapidly kicking MY ass. A few family health scares popped up within weeks of each other. A few work projects and freelance projects ramped up. I paid a huge ticket (awesome). I hadn’t slept more than 4 hours a night all week. I found myself on Friday morning feeling overwhelmed. My cart was past the point of being hard to push. It was literally overflowing. Wheels were popping off. Annie’s mac and cheese, ground turkey, frozen pizza, pasta sauce, Lara bars, toilet paper, Talenti everywhere. Pretty sure I dropped some diapers at some point and I don’t even own a baby so explain that one to me. I also just said “own a baby” and we’re going to leave it alone.

I did something I almost NEVER do, but need to get better at. I started to take things out of my cart. I put New York back on the shelf knowing I’ll be there in December (and if I’m being honest, probably November). I put the conference back on the shelf knowing I have a few conferences coming up. I put freelance work, and emails, and decks on decks on decks back on the shelf knowing the world wouldn’t stop if I unplugged for a weekend and focused on my loved ones.

If you know me, you know that decision tortured me for a solid six hours. My bag was packed and in my car. My wide brim hat sat on my seat. My road trip playlist was locked and loaded. My whole Saturday in Brooklyn was planned down to the last second. There would be Uber rides. And bouncing between boroughs. And finding coffee shops for quick creative jams. And good live music. And heart to hearts. And reminiscing about days when I didn’t have to leave it all. And reminiscing about days when I couldn’t WAIT to leave it all. And pondering days when we won’t have to leave whatever it is we’ve settled on. We’ll choose to stay.

But you know what my heart needed more?

A cozy Friday night catching up with my college roommate.
A Saturday morning in natural light spent writing in my journal.
A Saturday afternoon wrapped in the warmth of my family.
A Saturday evening spent laughing on the couch with my mother.
A Sunday, morning surrounded by my best friends from high school.
A Sunday evening spent baking apple crisp…for only two people.

My heart needed quiet love for a few days, so quiet love I gave and received. My cart isn’t quite empty. It never will be. But it’s a little less full right now.

In the upcoming week, try to find one thing to take out of your cart. Replace it with something that makes your heart and soul feel really, really, REALLY good. For one day, evening, or even just a moment, prioritize your needs above the stuff you need to do. All that stuff will still be there, I promise.


  1. Love This! Thank you for the reminder. I “own” three babies, 13, 9 and 6 and a business and my cart is totally full while I am on E. Last night I built a fire, soaked up a Fall October Eve and read my book I renewed now for two years from my Library. I actually read two paragraphs before spilling wine all over myself when I nodded off. I checked into bed at 11:30 p.m which is like 4:00 p.m. for me. I was feeling a bit guilty because I left some emails unreturned, phone calls still waiting in voicemail to be heard and stinky boys football clothes in my trunk. So, your post was a great reminder! Thanks!

    • HA! Your comment is hilarious! I’m glad you found humor in “owning babies.” I think about that all the time…how maybe I SHOULD be tired now, because I’m only responsible for myself. But then I remember being young doesn’t exclude me from basic fundamental needs like love, nourishment, and rest.

      And happy to hear you were able find time for yourself. Even if it was only two paragraphs worth of time (and a little snooze). Bravo! Keep taking care. xoxo

  2. A wonderful reminder, as always, Carley. I think that – especially in today’s busy age (where busyness is maybe valued more than it should be) – it’s easier to be busy and keep pushing even when you know you need a break. It takes courage and bravery to take the break when you need to.

    I’m glad to hear that you had the weekend you actually needed rather than the weekend that the world may have expected or you felt like you needed to have.

  3. Gerry says

    Right on the mark as usual, Carley. I remember this well, especially when working full time and going to school part time. One of the great things about retirement, of course, is having more time to do what you want and not feeling guilty about it.

  4. Remembering to own your own time is often the most important lesson we learn. There will always be things and places and people that will keep you busy with the stuff of life. But knowing when to put the stuff down and focus on what you really need is a gift. Always proud of you and really glad there is no need for those diapers just yet although they would make a nice donation lol

  5. So much this. I’ve been having the same problem (though not quite on the scale that you’ve been experiencing!) For a long time, I was very hermitized, and I didn’t want to be around anyone, not even myself. Now, though, that’s change dramatically, and I am overwhelming my self with plans. I’m going to look through my basket, and put somethings away for later. As always, you know how to put words to things in the best way.

    P.S. The owning babies part made me laugh loud and long.

    • When a tsunami of stuff hits all at once it’s better to take a step back and focus on 1-2 things instead of 30 different things. I’ve been pretty terrible at this in the past, but it’s something I’m working on! Thanks for reading, I hope you stick around! xx 🙂

  6. Pingback: Being Mindful – Expertly Elise

  7. Mrs. P says

    So appropriate for my life at this moment. I am very much like you in this regard. For most of my life I have been the go to girl. A decade ago, I did a dramatic life change and spent a bit of time…not being that person and finding a self discovery along the way. Go to girls rarely have a self…it’s all about others.

    During that self discovery I found a life of creativity and love…a person who learned to smell the flowers and grow some, too. I loved that person. This past year, life circumstances with family threw me back into that go to spotlight…and I just picked it all up again, barely skipping a beat. I’d already filled my calendar till the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I like being busy…but I also like, time for me.

    Hurricane Mathew gave me pause…As I was packing things that were most important to me in protective plastic, I saw all the things I had abandoned over the past year…things that brought me joy…my creativity. I was determined to push “me” to the front of the line. This past week, I readjusted my schedule so that this could occur. Today, I am enjoying catching up on my blogging buddies…a weekend ritual that has been long neglected…and it feels great!

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