My stomach wasn’t feeling well but I promised to take Big A Christmas shopping. Halfway through I felt worse. And when we got home, I collapsed on my bed. So many thoughts running through my head:
How am I going to get it all done before Christmas?
I’m so behind in my writing goals for the end of the year!
We really need to plan that winter trip.
My stomach pains were increasing when I had a flashback of the last 11 years. Since having my first child, I’ve been in striving mode. Striving to be the organized mom. Striving to always be there for my kids and husband. Striving to be an excellent meal provider. Striving to exercise and stay in shape. Striving to build my own author business. Striving to have time for hobbies and friends.
Even with all this striving, I feel like I never quite reach satisfied, with constant reminders (like the stomachache) that I’m just not measuring up.
I started asking myself some important questions. Why am I putting so much pressure on myself? And what happens if I could do and be all the things I think I should do and be? Am I going to be happy or just keep striving for some better version of myself?
So in that moment I strangely let it all go. I told myself that I’m a great mom, not because of what I do or may or may not accomplish, but because of who I am. I do what I do both personally and professionally because it’s important to me, not to win some race. And I’ve made progress although it never seems to match the image I have in my mind of how it’s all supposed to turn out.
I gave myself a kindness that instantly felt healing. Instead of fighting myself and the reality of life, I accepted it all. Maybe I’m okay just the way I am, and things are just the way they should be. My stomach started to feel better and I rejoined my family watching Christmas shows, laughing and cuddling with what felt more joyful than usual. The next day I felt lighter.
I think I’m done, guys. Done with unrealistic expectations that I can be everything to everybody. Done with comparing myself to others. Done with trying to be someone I’m not even sure I want to be. Done with thinking that if I only did things differently, everything would be better.
So this New Year, I’m going to take time to reflect on what I need, instead of adding, even more, to-dos. I’m going to make time to just chill and refill my cup, even if that means things are left undone. I’m going to keep being kind to myself because it feels really good. I’m going to write down my values and check them every day to be sure I’m doing what is most important to me. I’m going to keep learning and trying to do things better, but not beat myself up when I take an unexpected turn. Because sometimes those turns bring wonderful things.
This feels “anti-resolution” because I’m giving up all the unrealistic goals I typically would set this time of year, only to feel discouraged when they don’t materialize. Instead, I want to become more comfortable with me and this life — not some imaginary one — spending time doing what I love and being with those I love. Instead of planning it all out, I’m going to stay open to all that can happen letting the element of adventure and surprise lead the way (that being said, I have jotted down some realistic writing plans for 2018 which I will communicate in my next newsletter).
Thanks for all your support in 2017. And here’s to an amazing 2018! Who knows what it will bring?