At the beginning of December I said: "All I want for Christmas is the ability to go without sleep" which seemed like the most feasible way to pack it all in during the holidays. I was up until 2am or later over ten times this past month, but if Santa infused me with extra energy at night, he forgot to make up for it during the days, and the effects of sleep deprivation still linger, (which may explain why I stayed in pajamas for more than half of today, and left my mom tending kids while I climbed back into bed to hibernate for three full hours.)
Here's an excerpt from an email I sent to my brother several weeks ago regarding my inability to fit into life everything I'd like to make time for:
"it's not a general "life is busy" complaint, but rather a nearly painful awareness that for any one thing I get done, there are twenty things pushed to the backburner that I'd love to get done--but when? I need a lifetime for each aspect of me. There is an artist in there somewhere, a musician, a performer, an actor, a designer, a journalist, an architect, an explorer, a traveler, a physicist, a therapist, even a cowgirl, etc, etc., but no part of me gets much time to shine since there are so many parts competing for the ten minutes per week I can offer them. In any given day there is what has to be done, what should be done, and what I'd just plain like to do, but I rarely get through what has to be done, which means the other two hardly have a prayer.
You may have already diagnosed me as suffering from CDIAA (Can't Do It All Anxiety), and it's possible you have the same disorder. But the good news is I've come up with an antidote to the condition, and it has done wonders for my state of well-being. If you like the idea, adopt it for yourself and see if you don't feel better too.
(Drum roll please...)
***Stop looking ahead all the time, darn it!***
That's right. You heard me. Enough with the calendaring, planning, list making, goal setting, and generally overwhelming ourselves with "To-Do's". There are too many "I dids" getting left in the dust--under-appreciated, under-celebrated, and often buried under mental piles of what remains to be done.
Now, I do realize this 'looking behind' business will be tricky as we all 'look ahead' to the new year in front of us. With 38 New Year's resolutions of my own for the upcoming year, I'm obviously not opposed to looking forward. My beef lies with forgetting and neglecting the precious acheivements that lay behind us, in the wake of our ambition and productivity barreling forward.
If we only look ahead, and forget to look behind sometimes, we'll miss what we've actually accomplished. The "dids" deserve more credit than they usually get, and they make us feel fantastically productive.
For example: Since my last blog entry in, uh, September (slap my hand), here's a few things I have *done*. And no, writing a blog entry (on this blog, anyway) was not one of those things, but consider this my restitution. By the way, I don't expect anyone to read the whole list since just a glance at it will make my point quite handily, but I do hope to inspire you to make one of your own and then properly celebrate your amazingness.
Underwent and healed from surgery, saw three kids through four months of school, homework and projects, had columns in our house covered in stone, carpet put in our new loft and braces put on our son. Designed and published 2 family books, taught photography workshop, signed off on son's wolf badge, and volunteered in two classrooms twice a month. Celebrated 37th birthday, survived a bee venom reaction, enrolled son in Tae Kwon Do, hosted multiple activities, parties, and family holiday gatherings at our house for a total of 122 guests. Went to Disneyland twice, Legoland four times, and Pretend City more times than I can count, made Halloween costumes, toured a police station, served in a homeless shelter, gave a talk and taught lessons in church. Attended a son's play, a friend's wedding, a nephew's baptism, (and sent my family to Utah for a neice's), watched my children perform, cheered my husband on in P-90X, and new job responsibilities at work. Read 6 books, sent 350 Christmas cards, took holiday photos for 10 families, and maxed out our 40 hours of free music listening on Pandora (blame Christmas music). Attended the temple, fulfilled a calling, went to parties, book clubs and activities. Sang in Christmas program, renewed acquaintances with old friends, and celebrated awards for school and scouts. Ended a thirteen week challenge to record personal stories, cleaned out multiple closets and countless drawers, reorganized garage two times, scrubbed windows, toilets, showers, sinks, cars and bodies, and baked all kinds of fattening goodies. Cooked I don't know how many meals, changed I don't know how many diapers, shopped for I don't know how many groceries and household supplies, wrapped too many gifts, and did about a million loads of laundry. Cut three heads of hair three times each, decorated and undecorated the house for three holidays and two birthdays, started new journals, potty trained a son, filmed scenes for church media, and told a husband I loved him every day.
The list could go on and on, but I get exhausted writing it. (Remember that sleep deprivation thing?) It's nice, though, to look back over the months, and see I have something to show for them. Many of you have even more to show for your time--like new babies, running marathons, exciting travels, or big moves--to name a few, but regardless of what our lists contain, we should all pat ourselves on the back, and
take a moment today
to celebrate yesterday
before moving on to tomorrow.
Happy New Year!