I know from a distance, sometimes I might appear to my audience, when it comes to my personal life, like sort of a train wreck. I assure you that this is in some cases true. And the internet gets to see a lot more of that wreck than anyone in my real life does.
Because I’m an introvert and I have a busy brain…and in order not to explode or implode, I write. I write to learn, to teach, to explore, to explain, to play, to entertain, to inform, to inspire, to punish, to please…
I also, because of this busy brain, do a lot of planning…maybe more planning than living, and I definitely need to even that shit out more. But, planning makes me so happy. I love making lists and charts and calendars…color-coding and creating keys and symbols for all the lovely things I’m going to do. However, my busy brain thinks I’m superwoman…and the clock and my body both know that’s a damned foolish notion. My brain definitely over-plans and takes no heed to the words “possible” or “sane.” Sometimes that is a good thing. Sometimes my brain can get me to do things before the clock and my body realize that it isn’t really possible. I pay for it, though. When my body figures out just how my brain has set me up for failure, it says “fuck you,” and refuses to move. Then comes the depressive down-turn.
This busy brain/over-planning/depression cycle is characteristic of bi-polar disorder. And there is a pattern to it. For me, it shows up in force in August/September, before I go back to work, at the end of December as I plan and resolution myself into the new year, and right before summer vacation.
I also have a tendency to do a lot of overhauling of plans. I do that a lot with my writing (this site especially) and my work, which are both creative venues steeped in possibility.
But, what I struggle with in the area of planning is simplicity and commitment.
My busy brain is already thinking about my end of year reflections and ideas for the future (well, it’s kind of always doing that), but right now, what I’m focusing on is simplicity and commitment.
So, on December 1st, with my life in upheaval, I am putting out this goal for myself. I know that I cannot stop myself from planning…it’s what I do…and it’s not necessarily a negative thing. But I can start living my plans more, simplifying them down to what is most important and possible, and committing to them.
The struggle is real.
So where do I start with that? Determining what is most important – how I want to feel every day of my life, what will make me feel that way, who I want to share it with. I love this month, because it’s a great time to reflect on what didn’t work and let that shit go. It’s also a time to focus on family and friends, which should definitely take a higher order ranking than they sometimes do. And finally, it’s a good time to look forward to the coming year and decide how best to live it.
I know I’ve got some plans from last year I’m going to let go. And in the name of simplicity, when I let things go, I’m not going to jump to fill those vacant spots. This year, it’s about doing less, overall, and more of what matters and makes me happy.
Just a few days ago, when I looked through this year’s planner to reflect on the highlights, my revelation was this: I am struck by how little I really did. It’s all routine, checklists, chores, errands, work. I tracked exercise, which I hate. I tracked sex, which I didn’t have enough of – and realized that I shouldn’t have to track sex, and that I only do it because Mr. D complains about it so much and I have to prove to both of us that we’re actually having it.
So it’s no wonder I’m bored and burnt out and just fuck-it-all about certain things. I’ve done little to truly inspire myself. I’m going through the motions, not living.
The things that rose to the top…my life preservers…were my son, my work, my writing, yoga, and books. And the need to escape hangs prevalently as a theme. My take-aways from this exercise?
- Feeling good is the whole point.
- I don’t do enough that brings me joy.
- My life and planning has revolved mainly around others, routine events, and checklists.
- I need more socialization in my life…more focus on people and relationships.
- I feel overburdened by my schedule, routines, stuff, and expectations.
Yes…all this came from looking at my date book. And that’s some powerful shit.
So after all that reflection, I determined the 5 things I want to focus on this year are:
- Finding joy
I hope December finds you all busy in reflection, holding your loved ones dearly (in person or in spirit), and looking forward to a new year full of possibility.