Yesterday was one of those days. The one where you just want to throw in the towel. The day all of the work and intentions and negativity shows up at the door and demands to be paid in their currency known as attention. On days like that, you can’t escape the sadness and the curiosity gets the best of you.
Why am I doing this?
Why am I working so hard for this?
Why am I spinning my wheels?
Then you find yourself saying the one sentence you have been avoiding: THIS DOESN’T MAKE ME HAPPY. I’m not alone. I see women on the life treadmill everyday and while my treadmill is work, I see it in stay-at-home mom’s all the time because that was me.
I see you. Never sitting down. Jumping in the car for this or that. Running out to help the kids. Running around to organize for the next day. Constantly putting something away. Saying “yes.” Finishing this. Starting that. Thinking. Constantly thinking. What’s next? How late are we? I forgot this. I have to be here and there at the same time. What’s for dinner? How will I still be awake at the end of the night for that?
I. See. You.
You’ve put aside the little things you love for the household, the family, the clean house, the charade that your family has it all together. Let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got it all together. That’s true no matter how many perfect Instagram photos of perfectly packed lunches (in shapes and with all food groups accounted for) or freshly-bathed children sleeping soundly at 7:30pm or spotless kitchens in the background you scroll through every day. Those are lies. Yea, I said it. If that’s you and you want to email me with pictures to prove it, I’ll save you the time–you’re better than me, I get it. For the rest of us that don’t live in Stepford, it’s time to own the mess. I sure will celebrate with a picture when sleeping kids at 7:30 happens to me but it’s still strangely absent from my feed…hmmm.
Let’s get back to you. I need to get back to me.
The things I let go of? Photography, scrapbooking and reading something besides business books. I’m no longer a professional in photography or scrapbooking (that was a past life) but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love it passionately. I miss it. My real life and my profession as a leader have overtaken my time dedicated to these two things because I haven’t made me a priority.
Recently, I picked up my big girl camera for a couple of occasions and it felt so good…like riding a bike. I’ll post more pictures of both of the things I photographed in other posts but I want to make a couple of recommendations to you based on what I remember as I sat down in my familiar seat at the computer to start on my favorite part of the photo process: editing. Loud music, pen in my hand, hot drink sitting on my desk. It’s so zen. It’s so…me.
Here’s what I think:
#1. If you don’t make time for the things you love, they sure won’t make time for you. Your kids will eat it up. The person in your life will eat it up. Your friends. Your co-workers. Your job. Your obligations. Your everything will eat up your time unless you don’t let it. It’s up to you to carve out the time without the guilt that surrounds that kind of activity. I know you have kids, responsibilities, jobs, commitments, things to do for others, a kitchen to scrub down. I know. Me, too. Spoiler alert: those things will all be there in an hour or two. As women, I don’t think we make enough time to do the things we love and I want to change that. We need to take back the us we were before we said too much yes. It’s our fault, guys. We did this to ourselves and we have the power to get ourselves out.
#2. I recently saw Jessica N. Turner speak about her book The Fringe Hours at a business event I put on in Scottsdale, Arizona. Why would I bring someone to talk about not working at a work event? Because it’s integral to sustained, high-quality work. Jessica talks to women about making time for the things we love. Something that we let go of so easily and yet can make such a big difference in our happiness. We have to do it. Read this book. It should be on every woman’s must-read list.
So, let’s do this, yea? Read the book. Pick up what you miss the most. Find something for you.