For those of you who are long time readers, you already know I’m the Go Big or Go Home type. (And thus, I often opt to go home. Isn’t that what my mid-life crisis last year was all about despite home being the last place on earth I wanted to be?)
I either go all out or I become inert.
Things (and humans and children) are either so amazing or the worst ever. I either drink all the caffeine and stay up until 4 am or crash at 8:30 pm with the toddler. I either disappear for days to write or I don’t write at all for weeks. I either let my house pile up until it looks like a hoarder lives here or I throw every single thing I own out into the garbage.
There is no room for nuance and gradation in my life.
And while my shenanigans as I try to adjust to the whiplash between full throttle and hibernation may be entertaining to observers, it’s not a tenable way of life.
While this extreme personality comes in handy for obsessions and working for long, focused periods of time, it is not really conducive to having four young children. Mostly because I rarely have long, focused periods of time to do whatever it is that I want or need to be doing – be it writing, purging my house, or fantasizing about my badass life as a person of international intrigue.
It has been almost a decade (although if I’m honest with myself, it has been a problem of overwhelming proportions for decades more) and I am only now slowly getting around to accepting the idea that I can no longer work the way I used to.
It isn’t feasible or tenable despite being highly desirable.I am tired of the vicious cycle of me burning myself out and then rebuilding only to burn myself out again ad infinitum.
And truthfully, it was never sustainable. It is only the siren call of “Things were better before children” that colors all my pre-motherhood years as some hotbed of creativity.
It was this lie that I bought into during the six months where I was flailing about spectacularly.
But if it was such a golden time, where is all the brilliant art that I created? Where are my novels? My works of heartbreaking, staggering genius?
They do not exist.
Why? Because though I may have the same potential I do now, I lacked the discipline to follow through on my work.
I will not feign modesty and declare that my writing is just okay. Yes, I have developed more skills than I had when I was in the first blush of delusional youth, but I know I always had the ability to write and write well.
So what is all this preamble for?
Well, it’s 2019 and I have a new Word of the Year.
I know I mock the woo all the time on this blog, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it is true. I firmly believe that intentions matter. However, intentions are meaningless without the accompanying work.
That’s why I love these Word of the Year thingies.
Ever since I started using them in conjunction with an intentional plan of action, I am actually achieving the things that I want to achieve. (A lot of it is also thanks to Brandi Riley and her coaching and group, Courage to Earn MORE.)
I find that these words set the tone for my year; they help me focus.
This year, my Word of the Year is Consistency.
I am tired of the vicious cycle of me burning myself out and then rebuilding only to burn myself out again ad infinitum.And truthfully, it was never sustainable. It is only the siren call of “Things were better before children” that colors all my pre-motherhood years as some hotbed of creativity. But if it was such a golden time, where is all the brilliant art that I created? Where are my novels? My works of heartbreaking, staggering genius?
Instead, I will be like the boring ant or working bee, faithfully plodding along until the work is done.
So what does it look like for me to be Consistent in 2019? I’m so glad you asked because it was about to get really awkward when I started telling you anyway.
Here we go.
1) Take care of my health
Including but not limited to:
a) Dental hygiene because I think my teeth are rotting after decades of abuse.
b) Daily vitamins and supplements because four children have sucked (literally) all the nutrients out of my body and I don’t (and won’t) eat well enough to provide these things in a natural way.
c) Face ablutions because although Asian don’t raisin, better living through chemistry is a truth.
d) Journaling and mindfulness because I am emotionally stunted and need to figure my shit out otherwise I go explodey-boom all over my children and that is messy and involves a lot of weeping (and only some of said weeping from my kids).
2) Take care of my life
Including but not limited to:
a) Be present (both physically and emotionally) because I am running away from my family too much (both literally and figuratively) and I want my children to remember me as a person who was available and present.
b) Invest in my relationship with my husband because one day, as trite as this is, our children will no longer live with us. I would like to not just be old, comfortable roommates who tolerate each other well enough.
c) Clean and declutter my house because despite many purgings, it still feels stuffed to the brim. And truly, when my house is a mess, I feel frazzled and angry.
d) Deal with the inanities of life (eg: car maintenance, paying bills, sorting mail, etc.) in a timely fashion because it stresses me out when I don’t.
3) Take care of my work
Including but not limited to:
a) Meeting writing deadlines on time.
b) Writing steadily for myself.
c) Writing and submitting my work to other places.
d) Fix and improve things on my site and social media.
e) Try and stick with things I know I need to do in order to grow and improve (but am currently too afraid to say out loud because I’m worried I will flame out and I really would prefer not to do that).
If this list sounds eerily similar to my goals in 2017 and 2018, that’s because they are. Hey, I never said I was a fast learner.
Sometimes, I think I just relive the same cycle of life events repeatedly (just slightly less mediocre each round) but with more children.
My hope and plan is that if my actual Word of the Year is consistency, then I will actually get these things done because honestly, they’re the nitty gritty things a life is made up of. And I would like to finally be able to live in such a way where being a functional adult is a normal thing. (Unless it’s not normal to be functional and everyone else just lies better than I do.)
Ok. I have taken forever and a day to write this post (that I originally thought would take no time at all to bang out) but I’ve been overthinking and worried about all the expectations this post would put upon myself and quite frankly, I’m slightly terrified that I will put so many expectations on myself that I will die and repeat last year’s mid-life crisis but not survive.
So, even though this post isn’t perfect, here we go anyway.