It’s been a minute hasn’t it? I’ll be honest, I sat down at my computer today and had to fight back some anxiety over the blank page and blinking cursor. But I’ve missed you and I want to catch up so here I am. It’s so weird how quickly our creative muscles can seize up when they aren’t used for a while. I was going to say they atrophy, but that felt melodramatic. (Aren’t we proud of me for not going the melodramatic route?)
I’ve been traveling for most of the last month and while I have been having the actual best time, I have not been writing, or podcasting, or working on my proposal, or any of the normal work things and I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty!
Re-entry is hard. I always say, if vacation is anything like floating around weightlessly in outer space, then re-entering normal life is like that harsh thud when gravity hits. It can get a little bumpy. So I tried to be a little gentler with myself upon Re-Entry this time.
Tried being the operative word.
But then I accidentally watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and tore into my house like it was my job or something.
The good news is I’m letting go of a LOT of things that don’t spark joy. The bad news is there are roughly 97 trash bags at the top of my stairs and I’m afraid it still has to get worse before it can get better, so basically I’m not sure how “gently” I’m re-entering my normal life after all.
(P.S. Where my Tidying Up people at? How into this are we?! I mean, I still don’t fold my underwear but I’m fully drinking MarieKondoKoolaid.)
(P.S.S. Is it weird that I get a little emotional every time she “greets the house” or “thanks the house” or whatever that is?)
(P.P.S.S. Don’t answer that.)
Anyway, I feel a little clogged up, like there are so many things I want to talk to you about, I’m not sure where to start. I want to tell you all about my trip to the Dominican Republic with my girlfriends
and then to Hawaii with my family,
but the short and more relevant version is that it was a lot of rest & sand & cocktails & cribbage on the patio & laughter & actual connection with my people. (I know I should’ve just used commas there instead of the ampersand but let’s allow me a litttttttle melodrama, m’kay.)
Both trips were such a treat, and a lovely way to wind down 2018/ begin 2019.
This is a bit of a side-note, but I think it’s worth mentioning that vacation is teaching me a few things about true Rest.
- I’m not naturally inclined towards it. It takes practice
- I need it more than I think I do
- It takes me about solid 3 days to fully decompress
- It has to be built-in to the schedule ahead of time, otherwise it’s just damage control- often too little, too late
- Real rest requires me to unplug. Like, put the friggin phone down long enough to forget where it even is
- My kids need real rest just as much (if not more) than I do. Which means they also need to unplug from their friggin devices.
- My husband and I have so much fun together when we’re both feeling carefree. Like, we are fun people guys! It’s so good to remember that every once in a while
- There are friends in my life that I’m comfortable enough to rest with. We can sit together for hours and not talk at all. Or talk a little and then just BE together and enjoy each other’s company. This is rare, I think. I should enjoy it more intentionally.
So I did a lot of reflecting (in between Mai Tais)
and I wrote down a list of what worked for me in 2018… and also what didn’t. I thought I’d share it here, because, well… that’s just what I do. Share my things here. With you.
WHAT WORKED IN 2018
- Working out from home (down 35 lbs and counting!)
Once I became a fitness coach, I cancelled my gym membership because I work out from home now with my beachbody programs and I’ve got to say, during this season of life, it’s SO MUCH EASIER to work out from the privacy and comfort of my own home. Are my armpits shaved? I’m not telling! Am I wearing a bra? No one needs to know. (Although, yes, I am always wearing a bra because I’m 37 and things tend to jiggle for a solid minute after I’m done moving. The point is, I COULD skip it if I wanted… But I don’t because I’d like to keep my boobs attached to my body and you know what they say about an object in motion…)
- Watching grown-up tv shows with the kids
SNL, The Office, Last Man on Earth, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt- we have entered a new era of parenting and I AM HERE FOR IT. We have a very specific brand of humor in our home and I love nothing more than seeing my kids laugh at the same things I do or quote their favorite SNL character.
- Putting mascara on my bottom eyelashes first
I have naturally long eyelashes (I’m not bragging here, it’s like the ONE benefit of being hairier than a woman would ever want to be) which means that when I put mascara on my top lashes, and then do the bottom lashes, the mascara gets all over my upper eyelid. It’s hard to explain but it’s a whole thing. For 25 years I’ve then taken a wet Q-tip and scrubbed that mascara off. YEARS I’ve been doing this! But now there’s this weird, crepe-y thing going on with my eyelid skin. My sister (who is 7 years older and always wiser) keeps telling me I’ve got to stop being so rough with that crepe-y eyelid skin. So now I put the mascara on my bottom lashes FIRST, then when I look up to do the top ones, it’s not as messy and my poor old eyelids can live to see another day.
- Doing more of the things that get me out of my head and present in my body:
Meditation, exercise, yoga or stretching, sex, laughter, you get the idea. I’m a person who lives all up in my feelings but also can’t ever seem to get out of my head so I’m learning to just be present in my body and it’s turning out to be lots of fun.
- Leaning in to the creative process, especially when it’s hard.
Y’all have heard me share the ups and downs (and sideways slides) of the creative process. You also know that I strongly believe that “the Creative Process” is just our actual life. It’s how we show up in the world. It’s how we process and contribute to the experiences and people around us. For me this looks like mothering, making a home, working on a book, podcasting, blog writing, leading my workout groups & fitness coaches, and alllll of it has been a learning curve. I think I’ve vacillated between buckling into work mode and losing some of the joy, and then deciding I don’t want to do hard things and just chasing the fun instead, but ultimately both are necessary. Creativity is equal parts work and play. I’ve got to follow the love, but then show up and do the work. Especially when it’s hard. In fact, that’s my motto for 2019: Follow the Love. Do the Work.
- Getting up early for quiet time and a workout
I’m not a morning person. I hate an early alarm clock with the fire of a thousand suns (okay, last bit of melodrama, I promise). BUT, when I wake up at 5:30 and have quiet time with myself and God and then get my workout in before I can talk myself out of it or get interrupted, it does something magical to my mood. It sets my whole day on a different path. I’m happier. I’m more productive. I’m more grounded. I’m also more tired, but hey, we can’t have our cake and eat it too.
- Daytime dates
My husband and I both make our own schedules and we’ve recently taken to going on dates in the middle of the day. You know what? It’s kind of awesome. The restaurants are less crowded. We’re not as tired as we are in the evenings so our conversations and interactions are more fun. And bonus! When you go on a day date, you still get to put the kids to bed and still have your night-time Game of Thrones binge together! Huzzah!
- Being intentional about the holiday season
For the last 4-5 years we’ve hosted most of the major holidays for both sides of our family. There are aspects of this that I absolutely love and treasure. There are other aspects of it if I’m being honest, I wind up resenting. Like the fact that I spend more time managing family dynamics and doing dishes than enjoying the looks on my kids faces. This is no one’s fault but my own. Everyone is always super helpful in the kitchen and all that. It’s just that there’s this extra layer of commotion that distracts from truly being present with my little family of 4. So this year we decided to be a bit more intentional about how we wanted the holiday season to look. It was SO worth it! Making a few small changes really helped us all to slow down and enjoy the season together.
- Earning $ through fitness coaching
I love it. I fills my cup. It also contributes to my other dreams through an actual income. I like this very much.
- Focusing on 1 thing at a time
When you’re pursuing multiple passions at once it can get real dicey real quick. I’ve had a year of stepping out of my comfort zone, taking on new things, and then immediately wishing I was doing a better job. At all of them. I’m *slowly* learning that I can’t do everything well at once. It doesn’t feel right to set any of these things down at the moment, so I’m trying to focus on ONE thing at a time. I’m implementing themed work days where I just focus on ONE task or ONE job. It’s helping.
- Letting my book proposal sit for a while
This summer we went through an extremely stressful and heartbreaking season of life. I had been struggling to complete my book proposal (AGAIN- because I did complete it once but then decided it was all wrong and went back to the drawing board.) Anyway, I hit a point where I realized I just “couldn’t” with the book. I had no well of creative juices to deep-dive. I felt like I was just doggy-paddling my way through the summer, trying to keep my head above water. Plus I was working hard to launch the podcast, so I let myself off the hook (for once!) and I just set all that deeper creative work aside. I let it side and breathe and I didn’t even give it the side-eye. When I came back to it, there was so much more life there, and excitement, and it all came rushing back, that feeling of YES, there is something here and I must chase it down.
- Letting Go of people’s expectations
This is a hard one for me. I’m a people-pleaser by nature. I want us all to be happy and get along and for there to be no weird air between us. Ever. And mostly I want people to like me. (That wasn’t fun to admit.) Unfortunately, because I’m such an open book and I’m always putting so much of myself out there, trying to keep everyone happy is not a viable way to live my life. Wanting approval all the time is straight up EXHAUSTING. I’ve had to learn how to let go of my concern for what other people think. I’ve also had to be okay with some relationships changing in that process. It’s hard. I hate it. It hurts a little. But it’s healthy.
- Reading books that are fun / light / easy / clever
I’m an avid reader and normally self-help, non fiction, personal development stuff is my jam. But sometimes a good fiction book or a celebrity memoir is just what the doctor ordered. I read a few on my recent vacations (Hindsight by Justin Timberlake, My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper, Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin, & This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips). As a writer I never tire of reading other voices, especially when they’re clear as a bell and funny as hell. Melanie Shankle is a favorite of mine. If you haven’t read The Antelope in the Living Room, stop your boring life and go read it now.
These are the kind of books I want to write some day. Humor with heart. Honestly with encouragement. Celebrity Memoir. (JKJK on that last one.)
- Taking a season off from sports
We took a season off from kid sports and we are all loving it. Early dinners. Cozy evenings watching all those grown-up TV shows with the kids. Less driving. Less searching for shin-uards and less meltdowns from exhaustion. Win-win-win.
- Puppy snuggles errryday
Have you SEEN my dogs? Do you even KNOW how snuggly they are? Do you know ME at all? This one should’ve been at the top of the list.
- Working with Alana
Alana invited me to be a guest on her new(ish) podcast last spring. We had so much fun chatting that we decided we don’t want to stop. Like, ever. She graciously invited me on as her forever co-host, we re-launched the Mom Wants More Podcast together in the Fall, and while we’re still figuring out how to do this job and serve our audience the best we can, working together has been an absolute dream. She is my one of my people now, in life and not just in work.
- Working ahead in order to rest well
We busted our butts for a few months, working ahead on the podcast in order to take a good chunk of time off around the holidays. It was SO worth it. It’s got us thinking… how else can we plan ahead and implement rest? More thoughts on this to come…
- Learning the Enneagram
Like I said, I’m a bit of a personal development junkie, and this year I started learning about the Enneagram. I guess you could say it’s a personality typing system but it’s so much more than that. In my opinion, it’s the least reductive one out there. It’s so unique and intricate and dead-on in it’s description humans. It’s more about your person than your personality. It’s not just about what you do, it’s about why you do it. It’s about what drives you and wounds you. I love how it’s helped me understand both myself and the most important people in my life. Look into it. It’s wild.
Okay, now for WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN 2018:
- Caring too much what other people think of me
We kind of covered this above, but basically I have a long history of filtering myself based on outside opinions. Sometimes this looked like trying too hard and sometimes it looked like closing up. Shutting down. I’m not proud of that. I’m just over here learning as I go.
- Maintaining connection without actual Face Time (In real life, I mean)
It’s been a struggle for me to find balance between discipline in all my jobs (some pay me, some don’t, but they all require time and energy) with just being a regular person in my regular life. In 2018 I didn’t make as much of an effort to plan coffee dates, or girls nights, or extended family dinners… and some of my relationships suffered for the lack of actual face time. I want to do better at this.
- Too much screen time
I have a lot of guilt about this one-as a mom, especially. Last year we got pretty lax about our screen time policies and as a result our kids spent too much time on ipads and we spent too much time on our phones. As a result of THAT, I noticed we struggled to connect, there was more fighting among siblings, more moodiness, difficulty handling emotions… Yuck, right? We’re reeling it back in. Like, WAY in. It’s hard. It’s messy. I’ll let you know how it goes.
- Trying to do too many things *well* at once
- Avoiding hard work and hoping it’ll somehow still somehow magically get done…. I know. I KNOW.
- Having my phone in my office with me (I mean, one minute you’re googling “is atrophy is both a noun and a verb” and next thing you know you’ve responded to 12 IG messages…)
There’s more, because of course there is, but these are the things that felt helpful to share. It’s important to stop and look back, I think, before launching ahead at full steam. Thanks for looking back with me.
I hope our 2019 is full of mystery and risk and adventure and bravery and more things that work than don’t.
*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*