I’ll warn you now, this is really just a boring self-accountability post. Nothing sexy here. Just thinking on the page. It won’t hurt my feelings if you duck out now. In fact, I won’t even notice.
Last week’s review/preview was titled “The inevitable slowdown,” and this week, I find myself feeling like I’m simply not measuring up. So, I spent a few hours reflecting on what is working and what isn’t working in my life right now.
“To understand is to perceive patterns.”
In the course of my reflection, I realized that breaks set me up for unrealistic expectations. For example, over my winter holiday, I had 2 full weeks to sleep, read, write, get shit done around the house, and simply relax and fall into a more natural routine. This left me feeling energized and ready to tackle big goals, both personally and professionally. And believe me, it all looked doable on paper and sounded great in my mind.
But, the break ended and I was instantly flung back in to my “time-crunched” days. And suddenly nothing I had planned seemed feasible anymore. There is simply too much to do, and I feel pulled in too many directions. And…cue the decline in my libido.
No one is completely happy with me. My husband doesn’t feel He gets enough time and attention from me, my parents feel ignored, my son needs me to take him here and there, I have work, I need to exercise, I don’t sleep enough, hydrate enough, eat right, I’m gaining weight again, I have little time to read or write or do the things I want, and even when I do, I’m too tired to do anything but stare out the window or scroll social media. I work all week and then find myself too exhausted to enjoy the weekend.
It’s a terrible cycle. One that too many of us are in. Saying yes to all the wrong things and not saying no to enough. Feeling out of control.
So…I spent a few hours re-considering how I am really spending my time (regardless of my perfect plans), how I want to spend my time, and what’s realistic when it comes to change.
I started by deleting everything except scheduled appointments off of my calendar. Then I took some time to reflect..
How I’m really spending my time: working more than I absolutely have to, driving my son around and waiting for Him in the truck (I’m the family taxi-service), fucking around on my phone while I wait, watching TV in the evening, doing housework.
Because this is my default mode, this is what I am planning against and where I need to create boundaries. So, I took a bunch of apps off of my phone to lessen distraction and planned for an earlier leave-time from work. I added some things back to my schedule: everyone’s work and school times/events, practices, dinner times, and scheduled times for TV (this is something we enjoy as a family in the evening, so it’s also “family time”), housework (Saturdays), and homework (Sundays)…to keep those things better contained.
There isn’t a lot I can do about my role as taxi-mom. That’s just the phase of life that we are in right now. I’ll bring my book, though, and I can write on my phone while I wait. I did set a boundary early this year that if the teenager wanted to do a Friday sport, he was going to have to beg a grandparent to get him there, because that was my designated day to hang out with my friends after work. I’m holding steady on that, and it’s working so far.
I know, after reviewing the reality, that…
I need more sleep. So, I’ve set an alarm on my phone to begin the wind-down process a bit earlier.
I need to drink more water and less caffeine/alcohol. I often use alcohol as a way to wind down and socialize…I need to find healthier options. It doesn’t mean I have to cut it out completely, but I have to put some boundaries around it. Wine with dinner. Friday night drinks. The odd social event. Otherwise, I can and must cut it out. We’ll see how that goes this week, starting today.
I need to exercise more. I wish I enjoyed this, but I don’t. I’ve tried all types at all times of day. And it just doesn’t matter what I do; I don’t like doing it. So, I have to schedule it and just make myself do it. I’ve tried mornings, but it makes me crabby. I’ve tried after work, but it’s too easy to put off and so much else gets in the way. So, basically, the only time the works is work mornings, because I don’t want it ruining my weekends. So…I added that into my morning routine. Meh.
Writing and reading are often pushed to the end of my to-do list and are the first things to be pushed off when I’m tired, unmotivated, or other things come up. I can do this instead of scrolling while I wait for my son at practices, I can fit it in after work/before dinner M-Th, and I can set aside time on weekends.
I want and need to prioritize my marriage…time with my husband, our intimate life, “dating.” We’ve both agreed to do this after work while our kid is at practice on my Husband’s days off. And I’m also going to suggest Friday “date nights” for after I have a drink with my colleagues after work and before I have to pick up our son from sports practice (which runs super late on Fridays). This can be the night we go out to dinner together and have our weekly “marriage talk,” which has been falling off our calendar recently.
What went well?
- Tantalizing Tales published one of my stories.
What didn’t go well?
- I began to feel overwhelmed.
What did I notice/learn?
- My schedule wasn’t working and needed to be adjusted.
Plans for the upcoming week:
- Earlier bedtimes
- Less alcohol
- Work out a.m. M-F
- stick to my reading/writing schedule
- Leave work on time
- T/Th “Us time” + Friday night Date Night
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
the Dalai Lama