I had to unearth myself from the rubble of 2015
Being on leave has been essential these last two weeks. I was burned out, exhausted and had pretty much lost contact with who I am. I hardly recognized myself as a person at the end of last year.
Now as I look at the last three leave days that are ahead of me and try to decide between using the time to finish editing the damn book, do as much paid-per-hour online work as I can to pay for everything, or write a short story and enter every available competition.
Obviously what I really need is another three weeks off, not another three days. But anyway.
I am starting to slowly feel like myself again. I have remembered how to listen to my kids when they speak. I have remembered how to leave the dishes undone and go for a swim in the river instead. I have remembered what the sea smells like and how to over-eat without even thinking about the consequences.
I remembered how to smile.
I even cut my own fringe and dyed my own eyebrows, a sure sign that I am back to my experimental old self!
The WTF of 2015
That may sound a little melodramatic – but I actually really mean it.
When you are a kind person who is also intelligent, a giver, lets call it, it’s dangerously easy to destroy yourself in the corporate world. The problem is that we see everyone as people. Even the irritating people, even the users. We recognize their humanity and we want to do what ever we can to be kind. We can’t stand the idea of not being helpful.
We convince ourselves that we have what it takes to give everything to everyone – to please everyone all the time – and that we can handle it.
We’re wrong. So maybe, even though we’re clever – we’re actually stupid. In fact – we definitely are. Or I am, at least.
You see in my attempt to please everyone last year I ended up moving further away from my professional goals than ever. Not only that but to my horror I also started slipping up in the work I was doing – because I was trying to do too much. I found myself entirely incapable of saying “No” to anyone who asked me to do anything.
I stretched myself so thin I had to stop blogging. Being overworked not only left me without a time to write, it robbed me of something far more pertinent to Make My Day: it robbed me of the strength to be positive. I literally lost my defining feature. I lost muchness, as the mad hatter would say.
But in all reality how do I stop this from happening again?
How can we protect our muchness in 2016?
Well. I don’t really know yet – but here is what I have decided on so far, feel free to try it with me:
Take big, fat, in-your-face chances.
Be brave folks. One thing I have discovered without fail is that if you don’t chase something you won’t get it. It’s not enough to mention what you want to the person who has the power to help you get it and then hope they will give it. They wont. SO be as relentless as a mosquito in mid-summer (in a swamp, in the heat, without spray or a net). PUSH yourself right up in their faces and take the damn chances you want – don’t wait to have them handed over.
Say NO and Prioritize
That’s right. I will not be killing myself to get to everything. I will do the most important things first and if I don’t get to the rest it’s too damn bad.
(and I shall be me)
Because let’s face it, I am never going to succeed at being anyone else. Neither are you. I am actually pretty cool. If you don’t think you are actually pretty cool then try this one thing: be kind.
You have to learn to love yourself and then let yourself be. There is just no time to be anyone else’s version of you.
I embrace my own contradictions
(and my own messed-up-ness) I am a complex and multi dimensional creature and I reserve the right to change my mind – frequently. I also reserve the right to hold conflicting opinions simultaneously. So there.
I don’t think we should have to be so set in stone about everything. We spend so much energy trying to stick to some preordained set of rules. The crazy thing is usually we set those rules up for ourselves! I say screw it – believe in what helps you – because that will make it true.
If it Stops working for you: Stop working for it
I am a big old perfectionist at heart. I am also really vain and I want to rise to the top of every situation. Anyone else feeling me in this? You don’t want to quit because that will look like you are a fader, like you don’t have what it takes to stick it out to the end, blah blah blah.
I am loyal, I am hard working and I am committed. However – I’m trying to give it up.
In the immortal words of someone or another “You’re not a tree, if you don’t like where you are: move!”
Don’t be stupid about it – but at the end of the day isn’t it better to take a risk and maybe be happy than to change nothing and, well, change nothing?
Do Nice things
yup. ground breaking stuff, I know. But I really mean it.
Do things for you. Eat as well as you can afford to. SMILE.
When children speak to you LISTEN. They grow up horribly fast and there is nothing more important, at the end of the day, than creating nice people for the future. After all they will be managing the old age homes we will sit in.
Try to say YES to things that are exciting for you. Say YES to gifts. Say YES to adventures and friendship and love.
Say NO to people who abuse your kindness. Say NO to people who don’t appreciate you. They will milk you for everything they can get. Don’t let them get the best of you.
Do what makes you happy. Pet Fuzzy animals and talk to them in a funny, lovey baby voice. It makes you feel good.
Walk barefoot on the raw ground and get 15 minutes of direct sunlight every day.
Howl at the full moon. You can only do it 12 times a year but it’s ridiculously fun. You have to really feel it though – a full bodied gut howl.
Take time to rest. Take time to be still.
My greatest wish for you all for 2016 is that you will find small ways (and big ways) to remember who you really are, every single day.
(and don’t forget to do your squats and sun salutes)