This past year – but especially this summer – has felt a little bit like living in survival mode. There’s just been so much going on in my life that’s it’s felt like something new every time I blinked, and it was really hard to plan. I kind of had to just focus on living in the day-to-day – on getting the things done that needed to get done, and calling it good enough. There wasn’t really a lot of time (or mental capacity, maybe) to spend worrying too much about longer term wants and plans – I had to focus on the here and now to keep from getting too overwhelmed.
Anyone who knows me at all will tell you that this is not something that comes naturally to me. I am a planner – I like to know what’s going on now, next week, next month – and I like to have things mapped out. That has just not been possible, and so it had me in a little bit of a funk. It’s frustrating when you want to plan but feel like so many things are happening in your life that just make it impossible to move forward.
It’s also made me feel kind of burned out, too. It starts to wear on you, and feel exhausting, to operate in survival mode day after day and week after week. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, too – I want to try to make baby steps of productivity, but I’m so exhausted that it feels near impossible… which just keeps me in the same state of being tired, working up against deadlines, and just trying to make it through.
All of this kind of felt like this constant weight on me for the last few months, if not longer. It’s been a struggle at times to figure out the right way to deal with it, too – when to give myself grace, and allow myself to rest, and when it’s more important to force myself to push through. There’s not always an easy, right answer, but I’ve done my best to figure out what’s right for me.
I think, maybe (fingers crossed) things are starting to level out a little bit. So I really want to use this next month to really just get to where I feel like my life is more under my control again. I want to find my motivation again, in so many different parts of my life. I want to go back to prioritizing sleep. I want to stop being up against deadlines here (as in, not write every blog post the night before they go live, which I’m definitely guilty of doing right now!). I want to get back to calendar-wrangling and list-making (does anyone use Notion? I want to start). I want to get back to working on my book, which has sat untouched for way too long.
Basically, I want to start making some progress on long term, big picture things again. I’m trying to start small, because I know me, and if I do too much at once I will just start to feel overwhelmed all over again and lose all the progress I’ve made. When I was young, I read a lot of Shel Silverstein poems, and he has one that’s really stuck with me called Melinda Mae, about a girl who says she is going to eat a whale, but no one believes her. But she keeps at it, bite by bite, and finishes eating the whale 89 years later.
I hope it doesn’t take me quite as long as Melinda Mae to get back on track with my goals. But I am going to really embrace her spirit of bit by bit and bite by bite. I’m going to focus on the process and the experience, rather than the timeline, and just keep at it, celebrating each little step along the way.