Hi! I’m back, after months of not writing (again).
It feels a little weird, after such a long break, but it’s time, particularly as I’d love your thoughts on my current biggest challenge. Maybe it’s yours, too?
Basically – when life is busy or transitioning into a different stage, how do you avoid getting bogged down? How do you avoid getting lost in the details and forget the bigger picture – namely, life is to be lived, not just survived?
Surely this is possible, even with work, and family, and kids? Or – maybe – there are seasons where you just have to plow through, and know that you will come to a clearing soon enough. Maybe we’re too much in the thick of things to see this.
Let me explain.
Why I haven’t been blogging
I’ve been bogged down with the day to day down and that’s one reason I haven’t written for a while.
It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. On the contrary, thoughts to write about keep bubbling through my mind. However, thoughts are one thing and allocating time to act on them is another.
As each of us in our little family has been going through a number of transitions – starting high school, starting new jobs, more responsibilities for the kids, life style changes in reflection of the fact that my husband and I are not getting younger, and, to some degree, adjusting to health / ageing implications in our broader family – my key focus has been to narrow down to a few areas and maintain attention on these as best I can. This is something that doesn’t always come naturally to me, and it’s been a very full few months.
Focusing on what’s important
It’s been so full, not because we’ve had too much to do but because everything takes longer when it’s new (at least, I find it does). Things don’t happen by second nature. They take thought, planning, preparation, and things slip through.
And I realised I’ve been head down getting through the past few months and I’ve forgotten to look up. School holidays (and Easter) provide a brief reprieve to some degree. I’ve been able to reflect and appreciate where we now are. In the process, we’ve had some great achievements – health wise for my husband, in terms of what both kids have accomplished at school academically and with extra activities, and threes been some progress for me at work (six months is generally when it kicks it more solidly). But in other ways, I’ve realised we’ve travelled a bit off course.
So much time has been invested in ‘what’ we need to do, assessed against an external ‘achievement’ measure, that we’ve forgotten to a degree ‘why’ we do (and if we do, do we have to do it that way?) I’ve been forgetting often to enjoy the process – to let go of my natural judgment of myself. I’ve found it hard to accept that learning and growing may involve making the wrong choices, or make choices that don’t feel right. In fact, sometimes there is no ‘right’. Because I’ve been trying to plow through, I’ve been internalising a lot of my feelings, becoming more isolated emotionally in the process, except when I break out in frustration at my family (which is not really the connection I was aiming for!)
Last week, the floodgates opened and I found how much I’d been bottling up. And I realised that some of the processes were not working, or were not sustainable. And more importantly, I’d been ignoring key parts of what is important. Life isn’t just about making it through. It’s so much more than that.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reflecting on where and how to adjust – and why. (Probably starting to do this was a trigger for the emotional outpouring, but I think on the whole this was a good thing, as uncomfortable as it makes me feel!)
What to do next?
I’m looking to put some new systems in place, or refine existing systems, to make it happen. I’m going to carve out a little more time for myself and my husband. And, although I don’t need to find more time for my kids (who get enough, really), I’m going to try and shift the focus from being so task focused (any suggestions on how this can happen without life falling apart would be welcomed!)
Plus, my natural shyness can feel like a battle to overcome. I get nervous opening up to others. To complicate things, when I am nervous I seem to invoke a parallel stream of thoughts running through my head. It’s like my brain can see my stress and is trying to be helpful by providing prompts. But it really isn’t – what it’s doing is drowning out what the other person is saying and then I’m lost (plus haven’t been paying attention because of the distraction). I don’t want to overthink it, but I wish the helpful /not helpful thoughts would go away (brain – take note).
And I’m going to try and stop thinking I need to do it by myself, including taking on responsibilities, in the way I thought they should be undertaken, for adjusting to the shifting home / life dynamics that we’ve been experiencing as my husband takes on more paid work after over a decade as being the home Dad. How we settle into this new routine is taking some give and take from us all.
Change won’t happen all at once – so what to prioritise?
There are lots of challenges listed above. I know it’s not possible to achieve them all at the same time.
So I’ll need to keep focused on what’s most important now – while keeping an eye on the road ahead. It’s definitely a challenging time at the moment.
And so, to you –
Do you have any approaches that work for you?
How do you integrate the elements of your life in a way that allows, if not complete balance (I’m not sure that’s possible), satisfaction and depth and richness to life?
If anyone has ideas, please, please share!