It really would.
It would be so easy to just tear myself a new one because I’ve missed weeks upon weeks of self-imposed personal deadlines.
Or…I could just let myself off the hook. It’s okay to say that our family has had very little time to spend together lately, even just enjoying each other, let alone recording it for posterity. O practically runs in terror from the camera these days, shy now and conscious that I am sharing bits about our life with unknown eyes on the other side of the glowing screen. He asks me not to, and I must listen and accept that. It’s okay to say that I haven’t been taking very good care of myself, and needed to spend some time laying low, building up my blood to stave off dizziness and fatigue. It’s okay to say that I took on too much at a time when I really should have been leaving more room on my plate. It’s okay to say that the timing of my taking an unpaid internship has been difficult for all three of us, for so many reasons. I’m growing, in all of this chaos, in all of these late nights…certainly, I am learning my limitations.
And what do I do with them, exactly? These limitations? Are they stop signs or are they an obstacle to be overcome? I cannot claim to know what is best for myself in this moment. I do know that I am missing out on a lot of living by wallowing in a mess of unreasonable expectations.
There is a flip-side to this, though. I have been more productive this summer than at any three-month period in my life. Articles have been submitted and published, weekend workshops photographed, patterns written, ideas gelled, my own workshops created, praise received for a job well done, inspired bursts of creativity sparked, and all the while I have managed to keep everyone fed, at least, if not consistently in clean clothes and tidy surroundings.
Obviously, leaving self-care out of the equation was insensible. Is it possible to carve out the time I so desperately need for myself and keep up such a fulfilling, productive pace? I committed myself to the concept of Make It Happen. I ruminate on this now and I feel sure that the brutality of my summer schedule will not complete without bearing fruit. I won’t allow it to simply fade away as does the warmth and the long days. I just don’t know what the fruit looks like or how it will taste. Is it fuzzy? Acidic? Nice with goat cheese?
More than several have told me I should go get a massage or take a hot tub, maybe a yoga class. I’m sure that would help. But, how do I explain that for all the 60+ hours of work I put in every week, I am receiving almost zero monetary compensation? That the concept of having the cash on hand for a drop-in yoga class is laughable while I struggle to cover the bare minimum of our necessities? The shame in that question is forcing me to acknowledge my accomplishments so as to salve the sting. Some days I feel we have less than nothing, and then I ask myself to count my blessings and find that we have so much.
I may not be able to take a yoga class right now, but I can prepare a gallon of nettle tea and sip on it all day. I can watch the sun rise over the ridge while I stretch out on the deck. I can weed the garden, stack wood, pick blackberries and drench them in milk from my neighbor’s goat.
And it’s okay.
In fact, it’s better than that.
Time to embrace the k.i.s.s. and get on with things.
I get this. the hard work that goes without monetary compensation but does provide praise and a sense of accomplishment. at the gym (where I work hard for little pay and lots of praise) I often say, “failure lets you know exactly where you are.” reaching your limitations shows you where you need to go. and that is definitely better than okay.
it sounds like you’ve accomplished some amazing things this summer!
I think you’re the light at the end of your own tunnel! Bathe in some moonlight and let it’s ethereal light balance out all of the labor. XOXO
I hear you this summer has been all about too much, as we start to head towards the next season I am learning to trim my expectations of what I can get done. I’m also learning just what I need to stay whole (something that I put aside this summer). There may not be money for yoga classes, or retreats in the future but there have been moments of joy. All of it is going somewhere, for you, and for me as well. Just keep thinking back to the deep down reasons, those big picture mission statement ideas which put you on this path. And then close your eyes for just a moment and imagine the wind in the trees is actually the waves as the tide comes in. Many hugs from Colorado.