Happy almost Independence Day!

This weekend was my last overnight Downeast before baby. For this last 5-6 weeks, I’m planning to stick around nearby since Milbridge is a 1+ hour drive from Bar Harbor…and I’m not sure how this home stretch will play out.

Last year, my brother and a bunch of his friends from college came up to visit for the 4th of July weekend. They came back this year and I am a lot less able to keep up than I was last year, but it was still fun to come down and say “hi” to everyone. I spent a lot of time hanging out with Boomer, who did a great job his first time hanging out with a large crowd of rowdy 20 somethings!

I, on the other hand, did not do nearly as well and was pretty worn out by the end of the day (plus it was 80 degrees and humid- not a 8 month pregnant lady’s ideal environment). Cool moment- baby kicked on demand (eh, I was eating so it was a bit of a feeding frenzy in there) for my future sister-in-law. My brother was grossed out by the whole thing and didn’t want to touch my stomach, which I thought was hilarious.

The Ol’ Gut Check.

You know that feeling when you’re about to do something (or are in the act) and you have that unsure/uneasy feeling the whole time? Maybe you’re buying something you don’t really need and as you’re handing over cash or swiping your card something fires off in your brain that’s like “YO, that was not smart!” It’s the thing that warns you not to go down that dark alleyway. For me personally, that inner feeling comes from my gut (when I’m stressed out or emotionally imbalanced, it physically manifests in my stomach- my college roommate’s stress manifested in the form of headaches, so it can vary person to person). But I think that everyone, in some small way, experiences these “gut feelings” throughout the day.

Like a lot of people, I used to ignore my gut checks. It was as if Jiminy Cricket lived inside my stomach, and whenever he decided to pipe up to warn me about something, I’d just be like “Dude, now is NOT the time! I will absolutely wear these caged pumps around the Bates College campus, this purchase is completely justifiable in spite of my unpaid internship and studying abroad last summer.” My gut tried to warn me about more than just my complete lack of money management, though.

There were times when Stomach-Jiminy tried to warn me about situations where I knew I was getting myself into trouble. Unfortunately it was a losing battle, because in my early 20s I ran towards the sound of warning bells.

Me in my early 20s via GIPHY

These days, I use gut checks when I’m doing any sort of shopping online. I don’t purchase clothes online at the rate I used to, but still obsess about promised cures for hormonal acne and that sort of thing. In Target/TJ Maxx, as part of my recent organize-all-things campaign, the home sections are like a looming black pit threatening to consume my disposable income.

The gut check helps in the following way. Say I’m looking at a $15 shower organizer and a $12 toothbrush holder. How are either of these items going to improve my quality of life? Will it improve enough that I don’t miss the $27 dollars plus tax I spend? Is my current shower organization enough of a problem that this thing will cure all my needs? What’s wrong with my mason jar toothbrush holder I have now? (I didn’t end up buying either of these things). My gut was telling me “You don’t need either of these things, save your money kiddo.” And as I drove home, I thought about this recent obsession with buying things for a house. It doesn’t stem from needing these things, they’re really frivolities. It’s coming from my insecurities surrounding “What if…?” and knowing that we will be in a different living situation next year, which makes me feel a little on edge and like I should prepare now. So, I saved some money and I know what to look for next time I find myself in that situation.

Note: this is not what I mean by “Gut Checkvia GIPHY

Another thing about gut checks, whether you’re checking in with yourself on the brink of a decision or it just happens- they can indicate good stuff, too. Gut checks aren’t all “This is a bad idea and/or I’m going to be sick,” they’ll let you know if you should go for something. Gut checks have pushed me into action, like picking up the phone and calling someone, signing up for a race, and so on.

While a gut check can’t really control your actions or compel you to do something, I encourage you to take a beat and think about what’s really going on when you experience it. Maybe you just need some Tums…or maybe it’s an indication that you are on the brink of some serious personal development opportunity (and maybe eat some Tums anyway, just in case). Your gut (or intuition) may be trying to talk to you, so take some time to learn it’s language. For me, I’m a lot happier when I follow my instinct rather than letting my ego run the show.

Any fun plans for the Fourth?

Have you ever had a serious (good or bad) gut check moment?

Weekend Recap & The Gut Check
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