Yesterday I didn’t have something to really act on. I’ve been kind of following along with another blog to establish some good writing habits. A kick-start, right? It’s been like this small reminder bell going off in the back corner of my mind. Don’t forget! I don’t feel pressure, I’m not linking to anything, but it’s a nice reminder that if I want to write, I need to MAKE the time to do so. Those of you that know me, know that I’m not great at making time for me.
There’s a certain fear that sets up shop inside of me. It’s not fear in the cartoon sense, but this lighter, yet more consuming, anxious type of fear. It’s there, but I’m getting better at recognizing that it doesn’t have much ground to stand on. Fear of disappointment. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Fear of not being seen as a genuine individual. (No, I’m not a millennial or hipster.) It’s difficult wanting to be your own “true” self, and to enjoy things you enjoy, only to hear that you must like those things because “that whole group does.” Pfft – give me oxygen. I love the Beatles. I am not anywhere NEAR up-to-date with the current pop music scene, I can’t stand rap, and I don’t believe I’m owed anything just because I exist. I MUST BE A BABY BOOMER. Yeah, no. I’m 30. I can’t stand stereotypes. Off topic, we go!
This fear, and it’s buddy Guilt, has always kept me from doing much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot. I have four kids. I run a (mostly) successful household. I cook almost every meal from scratch. Our recycling bin is four times the size of our garbage can. I say “no” to my kids and deliver good and bad consequences for their behavior. I teach them to follow through with their responsibilities. I volunteer in my community and at church. So, I digress, I do a lot.
But what do I do for me? In the minutes between my many responsibilities what do I do for me? It doesn’t all have to be meaningful and there are some days where I couldn’t do something meaningful if my life depended on it. I’m just too tired or worn too thin. And that’s okay. But lately I’ve been feeling this pull. This need to do something to grow. So I am. I’m giving myself the ability to make choices regarding my off time. Teaching myself to say no a little more than I usually do.
A little over a year ago, a friend challenged me. He said, every day think of something you could do that would be fun. Something that would be nice or thoughtful, just a good thing you could do. Something for your kids, something for another person, something for you, something for your dog, it doesn’t matter. Think of something you could do. And then – decide if you want to do it. Give yourself permission to NOT do that thing. You can decide that yes, I want to do this. Or you can decide no, I don’t want to do this. And that’s okay. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to NOT do things. Just because you think of something that you could do, it doesn’t mean you NEED to do it.
Seems simple right? Not for me at that point in my life! It was hard. It still is some days. Taking time to sit and think of something specific that I could do and then allowing myself to say no? Of course, sometimes I said yes. But saying no was hard. And that was the point. I needed to learn that it was okay to say no. I didn’t always have to say yes.
Writing is something I think about. A lot. It’s something, as I’ve stated before, that I want to do. There are hundreds, thousands of things I could list of that I could be doing – anything from a few stray dishes to letting the chickens stay out an extra five minutes during their yard time. Nothing life changing. But in my mind it’s an important step. Realizing that it’s okay to shoo the chickens back into the coop, check on what everyone is up to, and settle into my chair in the office and write. It helps me to be a better mom, a better wife – allows me to fill my cup so that I can help my family fill theirs.
So, lately? I take the time. I sit for a moment and think of something. And if it’s something I can do for me, I try to say yes.