About a year ago, when I completed my first actual novel and send it off to literary agents (I cringe at the thought, because I now realize that it wasn’t really very good), I sat down shortly after and jotted down my action plan for the 12 months to come. I wanted to do so much, live healthy, find a good work-life balance, find strategies to help my kids improve at school, write 2 or 3 new stories, publish a blog post every week, reach a thousand followers on the blog and so and so many likes and comments… and the list goes on.
Result: a complete disaster. Apart from managing actually to finish another novel and send it off just in time for the summer holidays and general off time for my brain, I didn’t accomplish a thing. Why? Because life just doesn’t work like that. I tend to do those plans for my life on days when work is slow, when I feel happy and have no problem with eating a salad at lunch, and my kids are also doing great. At least a week later, life turns my plans upside down: the workload doubles and I have to continue in the evenings at home and on weekends, I can’t write a single word because there simply is no free time, I’m tired all the time, the kids get sick and are understandably grumpy, my vegetable garden is being eaten up by ants and I don’t have time to cut my roses into shape, I’m detestable to everyone I love, in short, I feel crappy, undesirable, unfit, and get into a chocolate & chips frenzy.
And now, having lived through yet another awful phase when just everything seemed to go in the opposite direction from what it was supposed to, I decided to NOT sit down and write a list of goals. Or at least, not right away. I’ll take time off and try and focus on what I really want in life instead. Like, really really. Not what I feel should be my goals. But the things that are going to make my life and of those around me better and get me closer to who I want to be, in the deepest core of myself. Sounds extremely egotistic, I know. But in the end, you need to get to love yourself and be happy with who and what you are before you can be of any use to others.
So, there are some things that I have realized. I don’t care how many people read my blog posts. I don’t care how many followers I get, or that my blog titles aren’t the ones that are going the catchy and conform to “how to get the most people to read your post” guidelines. I just don’t care. I like to write blog posts, but on really bad days, or more, during weeks when life is tough, I just don’t feel up to it. I don’t feel talkative or like sharing anything. And that’s ok. I’m never going to be a regular blogger, and on the other hand, I just love to read interesting blog posts and to share my thoughts through comments, but I only want to read and write things that I really believe and care about. I love the freedom blogging gives me in sharing thoughts with like-minded people and the break it gives me from day-to-day life, when possible. And I love the fact that it has the reverse effect of giving myself another push to believe in myself and the sparkle of creativity that might still be hidden somewhere inside.
Other goals that are definitely going to stay are trying somehow to get healthy and find a more balanced life style. It goes with finding a better solution to the job situation, but as I know that realistically, I’m never going to be able to live from the income (inexistent as yet) from any of my creative dreams, I have to get a grip and find a way to arrange my life better around it. Life is short and too short to be spending it complaining and fussing about things that I can’t change and that annoy me. All this stress has been taking a huge toll on my health these last months and of course has had a horrendous effect on my temper with my family. And that’s not the point, is it? At the end of every day, I will feel worse, unhappy, unsatisfied with the results of the day, grumpy and edgy with the kids, and someone’s going to have a fit in the end. Often even me. Children are so sensitive when it comes to your mere mood swings and it just isn’t fair to impose anything like it on them. They have their tough days too, and for nothing on this earth would I want to switch positions with them and live through childhood, or even worse, teenagehood again.
I’m not saying I’m ready for a more simplistic and wholesome lifestyle, just like that. But I’m really thinking about a way to get a lifestyle that is simply more normal, with a normal speed, and time to reflect and just… take a minute and breathe.
Another definite goal is to keep writing, keep sewing, keep reading. It’s what keeps me sane, so I just have to hold onto it. I’ve learned and discovered so much throughout the last years, and although all of my crafts, writing and sewing, are less than refined, I’m working hard at accepting just that and to go on anyway. I want to find a way to make it all work, and instead of imposing simply strict food-prepping / workout strategies / writing schedules and all of that on myself, I’ll have to find the small things that I can change in my everyday life and that won’t exhaust me after a week or two and make me resort to running across the street to buy some ready-made binge food.
Any wonderful tips on finding that work-life balance are more than welcome!