So I had planned on posting this yesterday, and it was actually harder than I thought. But I guess that makes me even happier that I went a head and did it because maybe it will give me a bit more credibility. I mean why would you take advice dished out by someone who doesn’t take it? But rhetorical questions aside, here is what I came up with…be prepared for a long read.
1. What outside forces are acting on you?
- I will start by stating the obvious — work. If you haven’t caught it before, I work in the prepress department of a newspaper. So most of the stuff that hits the press goes through my department. There are a number of reasons why my job is extra distracting. For one, we are already understaffed, so we are always running on high speed to get things done. That results in at least a bit of overtime every week. Second, we are always on call. If an ads looks bad or something breaks on the press, we get called. It can be really draining. Don’t get me wrong, I really can’t complain. My job is also very flexible time-wise and I work with a good group of people. I have retirement, benefits and vacation time. I read something online the other day that said “keeping your job is the new raise”. I laughed because it’s sad but true. One of the greatest things I learned about working hasn’t come from the job itself but the overall working/living experience. While the economy was tanking, I was graduating college, getting married, buying a house and having a baby. Talking to friends I went to college with who moved to larger cities has given me an enormous appreciation for everything I have, which is a great gift to get, especially in your twenties. So whenever work does get me stressed, I try to remind myself of that. Not that it always works.
- My immediate family. Once again, for those new here: I work full time, my husband travels for work and we have a toddler. Once again, many people face greater challenges in their families, but I still find myself getting stressed. Just simple things like groceries, laundry and juggling the entire family schedule and THEN squeeze in creative time gets pretty interesting. I rarely get hassled for what I don’t get done, but I do feel guilty now and then. But that leads to another outside force…
- My house. It is always a wreck. Not a hoarders-type wreck, more like a weeds outside and dog hair inside wreck. I console myself with the fact I always read to my daughter before bed and spend time with my husband. But I would like to keep improving. It’s amazing how much pressure you can feel to have a neat-ish house even when almost no one talks to you about it.
- Extended family, a.k.a., everyone outside my house. My family is really not bad, and I have in-laws that would make a lot of people jealous. But it seems like sometimes everyone coordinates and asks for favors at exactly the same time. Lucky for me, right now that is not the case, but every once in a while, stuff piles on.
2. What “obligations” really don’t matter?
- Doing every chore perfectly right now.
- Taking care of every goal on my list at the same time.
3. What parts of your life feel out of balance?
- I don’t feel like I am using my time as well as I could. I need to force more time into my day for my exercises.
- My eating habits still feel out of balance. I eat relatively well, but sometimes I eat poorly balanced meals, or I don’t plan for work or I just plain eat too much. I have working pretty hard on this so food and I can stay friends. (Don’t read into this that I have some sort of eating disorder — I don’t. I am simply a girl who loves cream, butter and sugar. I just don’t love them enough to want weight-associated health problems later in life.)
- Home life in general. Not with the people in my house, but the house itself. I always grew up in rentals and despite being a fairly realistic person, I had pretty high expectation for my own house. That is really aggravated by my love of home design centered magazines and blogs. I’m not sure how much time I actually spend cleaning the house. It simultaneously feels like too much and not enough.
4. What do you really want to do?
- I want to get my house to the point that I can do some quick chores every day.
- I want to be able to have some time every day to be creative.
- I want to read more.
- I want to not be on call any more.
- I want to find more ways to give back.
5. What are you feeling right now?
Despite all the above complaining, I really am pretty happy. I am already trying to remind myself that by nearly any standards, I am very well off. My whole family is in good overall health. I have a roof over my head with running water, plumbing and heat. I have a car that works and enough money in the bank that food can be a hobby to me, not a constant worry. Plus, I have money for craft supplies. That being said, I don’t think I could be happier, just less stressed. I am very good at ignoring stress and pushing it down. It’s there, it’s building and I know it, but I just keep talking myself into more and more stressful situations that I could say no to. I need to learn how to better manage it and I think in large part that will come from reorganizing my environment and my mind.
6. What actions to change things feel right to you?
- Delcuttering. Just the sight of piles of junk makes me twitchy. Having to move something to get to something else agitates me. Just the idea of stuff lately is a complete turnoff in every way. This completely flies in the face of my love of crafting and thrifting. But lately I have been finding myself equally happy for all the things I get rid of or choose not to buy.
- Structuring my time a bit better. I don’t like super rigid minute-by-minute scheduling. But I also don’t do real well when everything is totally done on the fly. I have been working on this, and have made some progress. For example, my Wednesday nights are Up Late. Once my baby is in bed, I do no chores (unless really, REALLY needed) and spend all my time watching terrible T.V. and making stuff. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Because it was on the schedule. Now I just need to do this a few other things like chores and exercise. As long as I don’t take it too far, I shouldn’t go crazy.
- Making some art connections. Ever since graduating college, I have pretty much nothing in the way of art friends. The ones I do have don’t live here, so all my art time is solo time. I am not sure how I will go about changing this, but I will figure something out.
Well, I don’t know how many of you tried this exercise out at all. I know I feel a bit better…even if I knew a lot of this already. But maybe it will help saying it out loud. I think I am going to take this a step further and print out this blog entry. Having a tangible reminder of my goals may help.
If any of you have anything to add or share, please leave a comment. I would love to hear if anyone else out there is gaining any clarity. Have a great week everyone!