Most days I find myself rushing on through just about everything to do with getting ready. I generally multitask and tend to only really glance in the mirror quickly as opposed to standing and looking properly. I am not ashamed or in disgust with myself. I am just busy. At least that is what I tell myself.
The other evening, long after the kids were in the land of nod, I did have a look. A look at me; who I am and who I have become. I was blown away by how much you can miss by not observing yourself – really looking I mean. Fine lines, wrinkles, bags and all the rest – they are all ok – they are testament to life. What I really noticed was my eyes. They are not sparkling, bright or dancing (the only real ways I could think of describing eyes!!). They are tired. There is no fire left in them – they are almost like a fire that is just about to burn out. I am not trying to sound melodramatic here, but life, work, family and all the other things entwine, it becomes, for me at least, very easy to fall into the trap of giving to everyone before I worry about myself.
So many people will say to me ‘you have to make time/find time for yourself’. Making time every day is often another thing to add on to my to do list. Truth is, at the end of most days, I could not be bothered to do much at all. Some nights it is even a struggle to stay up later than 10pm, particularly if I have been working shift work. But sometimes starting something new or getting into craft is a time consuming notion as I don’t have anywhere to leave it out that kids can’t attack/add to/review. So I think I overthink it and do nothing – path of least resistance and all that.
This weekend, I tried to break the funk – I did something that was just for me, by me and about me. I sat down, picked out some photos and then got writing. I wrote using the prompting from the “I Am” cards from Simple Stories. I sat, and I wrote about who I actually am. What makes me ‘me’. It was quite an overwhelming experience initially as I was confronted with less than perfect pictures of myself that I made myself use, and also I wanted to document why I go about things the way I do.
I figure that in another 10 years my life is going to be even more different – but right now – who I am is unique. I am many things, and I have learned courtesy of actually looking and thinking about what I do and how I do it, that I am probably not putting myself first in anything. I get that as a mother and a wife primarily I tend to forget my needs; or at least put them to the end of the queue, but I need to find a balance. Sounds like the search for the Holy Grail, as I don’t think there is a great deal of balance when you have children and then throw in work; but if I can be at least aware of it, I might have a work around solution.
If I get back to basics and look at stages of development – I am smack bang in the middle of adult hood – I have done the ‘big’ things – marriage, kids, mortgage, and now have to cement a career and continue to rear and grow these children of mine. When you look at it like that – we are all quite similar. We all make strong connections whether we marry or not, we all make big commitments be it to a house or to a car or to a person, we all do it at some stage in our adult life. Are well too struggling with finding time to/for ourselves? Down time where there is no WiFi. Where there is no smart device other than our own brains to just do whatever we want? Have we all gotten so busy as a society that we are losing sight of what is important?
To me, right now, important things are maintaining employment and children/family (and no, not in that order!). But other factors, like cleaning, washing, food preparation, grocery shopping, car maintenance – all bite into our time. These are also things that I will skimp on. I will always get the car sorted, but often at the last possible minute. I will do the grocery shopping but often every day so that it is conceivably shorter in terms of time to do and time to unpack. Cleaning I will push back on the list and pretend it is not there – until I have to do it. Washing is done like clockwork courtesy of uniforms being required! But they all take so long! And some days, I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner as it is the path of least resistance – may not be the right option all the time, but some days I tell you, it is all I can muster!
Are we all this busy? I think yes, absolutely we are. Getting together with friends is planned, not opportune, and often months in advance. We all have so much shit to get done that our weekends are full of crap from the week we have been able to complete! Then maybe on Sunday you get some time that you might be able to do something…..and then….something else happens. Some random visit to the park, or playing with Kinetic sand that was only supposed to be for half an hour but turned into an hour.
I have seen from really observing who and what I am that right now, I am busy. Busy in a way that quite possibly I will never be busy like again. But still – so incredibly busy. But I say busy all the time because I cannot think of another way to describe it. Because I cannot change my mindset about what I do and how I do it all and how in fact I might just be a really shit time manager and not all that busy at all. If I tried to break things down, or even re-evaluate what I do then I would find that there are most definitely things that could be stopped, dropped or altered. But because I am so engrained into how I do what I do, I am not looking for the forest through the trees.
It is a crazy conundrum where we live in a society where it is almost a comparable event – “I am way busier than you are” is almost like an inner chant that keeps us comparing our shit to everyone else’s. Or an achievement that we are in fact the busiest person like it is a battle to be that person. Some days, I think, I am that person. The busiest one. Then other days, I don’t know what I am actually supposed to do next. I mean I have done all my jobs and tasks, but what comes next? I get worried that I am missing something, that I have forgotten something or that I am just plain inept. Then I doubt myself, and try and find something to grab onto that will reassert that I in fact have not forgotten anything. Crazy, I know.
I don’t know what my busy scale will be in the coming years, but I do know that it is all relative. We adjust and gain tolerance to events or routines pretty quickly – and with that in mind, tend to get uneasy about that word/action change. Change brings calamity and a need to review or re-evaluate what you do. I have really looked at what I do, and can see some definite areas to change or improve upon. I will still be busy, but maybe I will be busy with the knowledge that I have got some me time carved out, or have been able to tackle the never-ending pile of odd socks.
I know who I am – I just need to make sure I don’t lose sight of that. Because that is what drains you – the mundane routine that you take no time to reconsider. The daily battles with traffic, children, zip lock bags and vegetable consumption – that is what sucks the soul out of you if you let it. Life has to be routine orientated for me because of the kids and work; but that does not mean that there is no life without routine. I have to find a balance, and not just for me, but for the kids as well so they can have a Mama who actually sees herself as being of enough importance to consider as a factor in, well, just about everything!