Friday, August 31, 2012

78/365: Write it Out

Today I tried to make:

peace with my failed to-do list...

Ok here we go...I'm trading in my paint brush for a keyboard today. A little journaling therapy to work some things out. Not the most creative writing I've done, but in the moment it's necessary. My husband is not home to give me one of his awesome pep talks and if I don't figure this out, I may implode. Well, maybe not, but my weekend will be spent unproductively bashing myself over my lack of motivation.

Every year around this time, I have this strange anxiety that creeps in. It's the end of August. Summer is nearly over. My reprieve from a hectic schedule is nearing an end. I check my summer to-do list and realize that, oops, I've failed to do most of it......Shocker!

You see this summer I had intended on reinventing myself. That's all. I planned on using my extra free time to take my dreamy ideas and turn them into action steps towards my goals- work goals, work out goals, super duper house wifey goals. You name it, it was on the list. Somewhere along the way (probably a week after the list was made), I slipped into that easy feeling of summer and started doing whatever I felt like doing in the moment, totally shrugging off my self-imposed responsibilities. Self-discipline was not on the agenda. Self-care and soul-searching settled in for a nice long stay instead. The whole idea of self-discipline was not meshing well with my pledge to "be gentle with myself."

When I consider what I focused my energy on this summer, other than tutoring, (and the 77 days I've logged to prove it,) I feel I accomplished exactly what I was supposed to. I spent my summer (unintentionally) getting my head straight about the importance of granting myself creative time and giving myself permission to take time to reflect on daily life through art and writing. These are not things I was very successful with working into my schedule before and now I've built a habit of it. That should go a long way towards my creative goals. Since part of my reinvention of self was to help me feel more like an artist and a writer, I suppose I wasn't completely off.

So why the guilty feelings?!!! Why the sudden need to catch up on all the other things I was supposed to get done to make up for it? Should I admit that my priorities shifted and just accept that? Did I actually follow my intuition for the better? Was I not clear on what I really wanted to do to begin with? Do I have unreasonable expectations for myself?  Am I seriously lazy and hopelessly undisciplined? (I have big dreams of creating all kinds of amazing things for myself, but they are not going to get done if I keep flaking on my to-do lists!) greatest fear after investing all this energy...Could it be that deep down I still don't value the creative time I've given myself?! What kind of hypocrite would I be if I can't even practice what I preach?

Ok, do you see why I'm in need of a pep talk?
Is this why people hire life coaches? Are there any life coaches out there who would be willing to trade their insights for a painting or a poem? No such luck, I bet.

So right about now, the part of my brain that likes to beat me up is putting on boxing gloves and taking practice swings in the corner. And there's the rest of me in the other corner, just being told of the impending battle. I fear I am not up to my fighting weight. I've been sleeping in and eating ridiculous amounts of ice cream all summer!

I'm really hoping that by getting this out of my head and into my journal that I can avoid the onslaught of self-sabotaging thoughts that usually follow my shortcomings. It's not like I can't just chock it up to a necessary detour on my path and pick up with my list where I left off, right? Right?!

I think maybe tomorrow, after my ears stop ringing from the punches that little bully in me managed to get in, I should sit down and reevaluate my goals and priorities.
But tonight...


  1. Stop beating yourself up and getting anxious. About a year ago we were forced to participate in a series of time management trainings at work. Mostly because out boss is a self admitted eventual procrastinator and was looking for help. One of the most effective things I learned from this training was never to put more than 4 things a day on your to-do list and never try and make a to-do list more than a week out because as the training told us life happens and even the best laid plans get derailed. From the point of an outside observer you have had an extremely productive summer. You have had great adventures (I have post cards from Boston and New England to prove it), inspired minds both young and old to be creative, you and your business partner have made amazing progress on not just your business plan but also on the constant brain storming that it takes to get a business off the ground, you have created several amazing pieces of art and even a couple that were very impactful (refer to your post about soil from the mother land)and if nothing else you have held yourself to the task that you most feared would be daunting when you started. YOU have managed to document 78 days of creativity, when you first introduced us to this idea you made sure we all understood your fears and that you might miss a day or even a week as life got in the way, but not once have I come home after work and sat down to check all the things on the computer that I check everyday and found that you are a day behind.
    Keep your goals are never going to be a domestic diva no matter how much you try or how well you mean. You have the best of intentions to clean the kitchen or de-clutter the living room or whatever but almost invariably (if you're anything like me) unless a parent is coming to visit you get side tracked. You find something that would look great as a part of that piece you started last night, or you look out the window and simply must find your camera to get a picture or that book you started last month catches your attention and your plans for the day are ruined, but that's ok because the people that know you understand that there might be dust bunnies under the couch and the dishes only get done on Tuesdays and Thursdays and laundry is a never ending battle. You are a creative soul and sometimes no matter how much creative people try and fit into the squares developed to govern "everyone else" it doesn't always work.
    Enjoy your ice cream (have a second helping if it soothes your anxiety) and figure out the 3-4 things you're gonna try and do tomorrow.
    I'm sure my pep talk wasn't nearly as clever as your hunnies but it's the best I can do!
    Be HAPPY and be CREATIVE!!!!

  2. Oh friend, thanks for reading my rant and knowing just what to say. I adore you!!
    I've battled with this as long as I can remember...oldest child syndrome I think. My best intensions ARE often on the unreasonable side. I appreciate the time management tips. So simple! The 3-4 things a day sounds very manageable, whereas looking at my entire list and trying to do as much as I can is overwhelming and makes me procrastinate. Thanks for helping me see the big picture. And I totally agree with you, we creative types have slightly different versions of where we should be spending our time right? Somethings gotta give. It makes sense to do more of what makes us happy. Figuring out how to juggle everything and learning where to focus our energy is part of living a creative life.