Not many personal updates from me lately.
Mostly it’s because i’ve been really struggling with the @#!$%&* novel and got sick of hearing myself talk about it. Mix that with some life-rolls and … well, who wants to hear me complain?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make stuff work in my life, been thinking a lot the last few days about what i want.
How often do we seriously ask ourselves, “What do you want?” “No, really, what do you want?”
I struggle with feeling selfish when i ask myself that. It’s hard to even write it. The unspoken rule in my family was you always focus on other people, don’t talk about yourself, don’t ask for anything, always take care of everyone around you and hope they’ll take care of you back. (Is this is a Midwest thing?)
Sometimes i end up in a lose-lose situation because i never tell anyone what i really want and then feel hurt and resentful when i don’t get it.
What do i want? What will make me happy?
My first inclination is to base my answer on my relationships. “I’ll be happy if Xxxxx does Y.” or the inverse, “I can’t be happy unless Xxxxx does Y.”
So, the last few months this silly novel has been kicking my butt. A series of life rolls have left me scrambling for stability and control. I think i’ve been looking for safety and stability from the people around me, which is unfair to me and them.
It gives the people around me way too much power and responsibility and i end up feeling powerless. I’ve noticed i sometimes tend to put all of myself over on the other person. I’m okay if they’re okay. Or I can’t be okay unless they tell me i’m okay. Everything becomes me desperately trying to figure out what they want or inversely doing things to prove to myself (or them) that i’m okay without them.
Meh. What a waste of energy.
So, being the Midwestern i am, i still feel scared to say this out loud. But what i really need to do is always start with me. What i want, what my goals are, what will make me happy.
The silly thing is, i teach classes on this stuff. I’m always telling people, “Get your needs met, figure out what you need and want and then do it.” When we meet our own needs, we feel balanced and grounded and safe and will genuinely want to take care of other people, to help them and meet them where they’re at.
So yesterday i went for a long walk and just focused on what i want.
It was hard. I kept drifting into what i should do for other people, what i wanted them to do for me. But i kept bringing the focus back to myself, going back to, “No, seriously, what do you want, Grá?”
And the thing is, when I finally got all the crap out if the way, the answer was pretty simple:
I want to pay attention, notice what things make me happy. I want to write, i want to nurture my career and grow. Long term i want to focus on healthy things in my life as they continue to make sense.
I realized lately i’ve been putting a lot of focus into things that were probably never going to be. Why put so much brain power into what won’t happen?
Then i started thinking about the short-term. What do i want my average day to look like? What kind of day would i get to the end of and say, “That was a good day.”?
By the time i got home, i figured out some easy fixes.
I’m embarrassed to say that two months ago i was already doing a lot of the things that make me happy. I’d just stopped doing them.
Basically i figured out that if i get all my writing and exercise done in the morning, i can do whatever i want the rest of day and it’ll probably automatically feel like a good day. I remembered that i generally feel good on days that i exercise and eat well. The last big piece is just making sure that i get outside and talk to people.
That’s really about it. Simple, right?
Well, as long as i keep reminding myself.
So i started laying out some simple fixes to get my life back on track. Like making a schedule–not to stress about, but just so i know my goals and what today’s chunk is, so i don’t feel overwhelmed. Like having decent food in the house. Basically doing work in the morning and getting out in the world in the afternoon.
Now that i’m writing again, expect to see novel updates.
It’s nice to feel excited again. 🙂