So I have a tendency to think big. I’ve written before about my ability to come up with fabulous ideas, leap to the end of said idea, and skip the many many baby steps necessary to get there. It’s how my brain works. My husband and I can be having a casual conversation about our house remodel and that same afternoon I’m going through a Pottery Barn catalogue and furnishing the rooms that don’t yet exist (and likely won’t for a good two years). I’ve always had a desire to run for some sort of public office. Recently I was talking with my husband about politics and my desire to do something. The next day on my way to work I was thinking of any potential dirt that could be dug up about me and started wondering how to minimize the effects of some of it.
Now…to be clear…it’s not as if I started calling down my list of ex-boyfriends to warn them of an impending run for office. And when I say “furnishing” I don’t mean that I actually purchase anything. But I do start planning. A girl’s gotta plan, right?
The trouble is I go directly from idea to completion. And then it feels so overwhelming that I throw up my hands. There are no baby steps, there is no in between, in my mind I play it out like an E! True Hollywood Story. I skip the boring parts and go straight for the glory-filled conclusion. And it gets me nowhere. Nowhere but overwhelmed.
This month has been a challenge. Not in terms of happiness. We’ve so enjoyed watching our girls start second and third grade. We’ve loved meeting their teachers. And I adore doing the things necessary to keep this family running. Making school lunches, practicing spelling words, running around, these are the areas in which I shine. The tricky part is that I’ve spent the past several months really trying to figure out where I want to go. What I want to be when I grow up. As we’ve transitioned back into a school year, and our schedules have become exponentially more full, I’ve found myself feeling so overwhelmed. Completely dazed and confused.
Yesterday I had coffee with an old friend. She said “you’re throwing all sorts of mixed messaging out into the universe and then you wonder why nothing concrete is showing up.”
When I’m at work I’m making lists of all the things I need to accomplish during the week. When I’m at home I’m rushing around to keep us all on track and thinking about all of the things I’m not getting done. Do you know that I’ve wanted to re-organize my kitchen cabinets since May? It would probably take me all of two hours. And yet, all I’ve done is complain about how I haven’t had time to do it. They remain poorly organized and I make myself feel worse each week I don’t attack the project. My office is a mess of epic proportion. It has been for about a month. I haven’t even attempted to start cleaning it but I’ve done a really great job of beating myself up for it. In addition, my mind is swirling with volunteer opportunities, things we’d love to do with the girls this fall, possible Master’s programs, etc. I feel like a scatterbrain and like I’m doing a poor job at pretty much everything.
My girlfriend suggested I focus on the things I’m really good at. Take baby steps. Live in the here and now (this is incredibly challenging for me). Go back to basics. Stop thinking about what more I can take-on, what additional opportunities are out there, and just focus on what exists in my life now.
Right this second.
I’m good at being a wife. I’m good at being a mom. I’m good at being a friend to my girlfriends. I’m a good daughter, sister, and cousin. And I’m good at my job…contrary to what I’ve been telling myself lately. What if I just focus on those things. On not only being good at those things but ENJOYING being good at those things.
After our conversation I felt so relieved. Permission to not try to be more? Permission to not try to be doing more? Yes there are changes I’d like to make and things I’d like to do…but maybe the best thing for me to do right now is to just BE.
When I used to run (sigh) there were days that just SUCKED. Anyone who runs knows that you can run the same route every single day and it’s just fine, and then one day it’s not, and it is suddenly the hardest run ever. When I used to have days like that I would pull it all inward. Smaller steps, smaller arm swings, slower speed. It always made those runs manageable because it was no longer about time, or distance, it was simply about the run itself. Maybe it’s time to do that in my life right now…just for a bit.
TODAY: What if I take a break from the big ideas, and the dreaming, and the search for a bigger purpose, and just kick ass at being ME for a little while? What if focusing on the here and now opens new doors for the future? What if I stop sending mixed messages out into the universe, focus on what I have and what I’m good at, and be thankful for my life just the way it is?