When I set my word of CHOOSE for 2017 I was interested to see how I would manifest it in my life. I said that above all else I want to CHOOSE family and writing this year, the two things that are most important to me.
At the time I had a very full plate: working full time, parenting two little boys, co-running a household, co-hosting and producing two podcasts, co-owning Copper Quail Style, working part time as a freelance writer, exercising regularly, being active in a book club and trying to write for myself on this blog. On top of all that maintaining friendships and relationships with family, not to mention Chris!, which I want to add since that does require time and energy as well. WHEW.
I've realized that essentially since Dashiell was born - four years ago! - I've been filling my plate, heaping it ever more full. I've tried to be intentional about how I spend my time. And, indeed, when I surveyed all the things I was doing I saw relationships and pursuits that I loved. However, I was at a point where I was spending most days and nights working. I've had the energy to work post-bedtime since Dash was a baby because my creative work brings me fulfillment. But sometime in the past few months I started packing my days too full and wasn't giving myself enough time when I could not accomplish something. It made my full time work and creative work much less fulfilling and even stressful.
So, I did a lot of thinking. I decided to step away from Copper Quail Style, which was just launched last summer. I'm so proud of what my friend Becky and I created. Along the way I learned so much, which was one of my main goals with the venture. I am happy that it will continue in the capable hands of my friend. I also turned over the editing of Matrimoney to Chris, which gives me back a weeknight about every other week. I've also been intentional about not making many plans for the weekends and only trying to commit to things I really want to do (if they aren't required).
What I have left on my plate feels much more manageable. I no longer have a stress knot in my stomach. Hooray! Taking things off my plate is so satisfying and has made a big difference for me already. I can already point to the following things that I've been able to do because I've made the room:
+ spend two or more weeknights reading and going to bed early
+ traveling to Austin to be with family with less than 24 hours notice and staying for five days after my grandmother passed away in early April
+ Making last minute plans to meet a friend for a Saturday morning park play date
+ Have one or more weekends per month with NO plans and having time for spontaneous family adventures
+ Working in the yard, which is something I love to do
+ Going for a long walk around our neighborhood after bedtime
Reading The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck recently was great timing and emphasizes the importance of taking stock of what really brings you fulfillment and how you spend your time. In my case I don't think there are too many things that I don't care about taking up my time (I'm grateful for that and have worked to make that the case!) but I still just had too many things going on.
Taking a couple things off my plate has me thinking about how to get back even more unstructured time that I can spend with my family, writing and on other things. For example, I've been wanting to take better advantage of the amazing museums and cultural resources near us. I'm so excited to go to the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit in the next few months!
It's good to shake things up every now and then, to take stock of values and compare that to how I'm spending my time. And look! Time to write a blog post, hurrah!