Since becoming a mother, a wife, and a woman who charges into things, I have always tried to find balance in my life. Between my job, kids, husband, writing, friends, physical and mental health–I would say that, in the past, I achieved something close to balance maybe fifteen percent of the time. Mostly I felt disappointed in myself, always rushing, rarely keeping on top of all the many, many things. Never feeling like I was able to proactively take charge of my life and everything that needed doing to keep it running smoothly. The negative thoughts cycled and pinwheeled through my head: You’re overweight, over scheduled, undernourished, over stressed, and always behind, behind, behind on everything. There was barely enough time to do all the things–really crappy.
I would rise before dawn to squeeze in writing time before rushing to make the kids’ breakfast, pack lunches, get everyone dressed (myself included), and then almost out the door on time. Then I would spend the next 8-10 hours at a job that I was very, very good at, only to arrive at home every night exhausted from a job that left me drained, overwhelmed, and concocting lottery win escape fantasies as I picked up the house, helped with homework, cooked dinner, and wept over the dishwasher.
This wasn’t how I wanted to spend the hours I had left in this life.
I knew I needed to make a change–many changes actually. But when you’re a mom and you’ve constructed your life so that you are the bright sun of your family’s world for which all life depends…well it’s not like you can just light a match, set the house on fire, and walk away with your fists in the air determined to start again.
So I started small. Little changes, finding moments for myself, saying “no” more, cutting back on commitments that were not in alignment with my larger life goals. And I spent more and more time focusing on what my life goals actually were: having the career I really wanted, working from home, really being there for my kids, cultivating relationships that are positive, supportive, and that fill you up–and of course, allowing myself to believe I could actually obtain all these riches.
In short, I started to really focus on my priorities: my self, my family, my writing, my home, my travels, my finances, my relationships. And because of that focus, I have been getting better and better at determining, quickly, whether or not something that requires my time, attention, and resources is aligned with those priorities, and thus, worthy of my limited attention.
It’s not perfect, but every day since starting this journey has felt more fulfilling, more mindful, more right…more the life I imagine living when I imagine my best life. It all started with deciding enough was enough and making one small change.
Is there one tiny change you could make today that gets you more in alignment with how you really want to live your life?