So, apparently, it has been a while since I last blogged:) I've been meaning to get to the second part of my OD drag riding story, but shortly after I published the first part, a bunch of stuff happened. Our pets were infested with fleas (I feel like that is probably worth a novel in and of itself!), I ended a friendship (and put another one on probation), I put together a curriculum for homeschooling my daughter and started teaching it (at her insistence!), and probably a whole bunch of stuff that I don't even remember. It was a stressful time, and unfortunately my time for this blog took a hit. The other thing was that I wasn't sure that I was ready to publish what I had been intending to write for the second part of the post. I thought it might not be well received by people that I actually know even though I really believed I had something valuable to write. And then the World Equestrian Games happened and my thoughts took a darker turn. And I didn't know what to say about anything. Plus there was the work I'd been doing with Nimo for our Science of Motion journey and there were some mentally challenging times and I didn't know what to say about that either.
Fast forward to today. It's the first day of December and it is traditional for me to blog every day during December as a parallel to the December Daily scrapbook I keep for the month. I plan to keep that tradition this year. I think I've sorted through at least some of the things that I want to write. I can't promise I won't offend, frustrate, irritate, or even downright upset you, but I think I've gotten to a point where I can write my thoughts in a more diplomatic way.
I've also carved out some time for this month for me. With each passing year, the month of December has brought more and more stress for me as I try to keep up with the expectations I've set for myself. Buying the gifts, wrapping the gifts, writing a Christmas letter, addressing envelopes, baking, cooking, working, decorating, taking pictures, scrapbooking, journaling, blogging, and oh, right, remember to enjoy the month and the season! It had gotten to the point where everything was just a checkbox.
In fact, if I'm honest, my whole life started to feel like a giant checklist of things to do. I didn't like that feeling. It was sucking the joy out of my life. I do want to get the things on the checklist done. It is kind of important that I remember to do the laundry and vacuum and cook and ride and go to the grocery store, but I realized that I need a break from time management. Time management skills are great. I have pretty decent ones and while I certainly don't claim to be Homemaker of the Year (my decorating style might best be described as IKEA Meets Tornado) or anything close to Mother of the Year (it's possible my daughter once went longer than a week without a bath or shower...), I manage to get things done. A lot of things. More things than most people think are possible. In fact they often say things like, "I can't believe you have time to ride with all the other things you do!" Or they say, "You're so productive at work! Even though you only work part-time, you accomplish a full-time job!" These things are meant as compliments (I think), but it finally started to occur to me that maybe I don't need to be so good at time management all the time. Maybe having my legacy be the most things checked off the checklist isn't the path I want to choose.
Maybe I can take one month of the year off from good time management and just do the things that I want to do. Being a mom and caregiver for animals means there are some limits to that sentiment, of course, but that is what I am doing this month to the extent that I can. I have no intention of being less productive or laying around watching TV all day. Instead, I have every intention of living this month closer to the vision in my head. That vision includes being happy because I love December. I love how the air is getting colder and crisp, and sometimes it snows. I love the smell of wood burning. I love seeing Christmas lights at night. I love drinking apple cider and hot chocolate. I love decorating the tree and seeing the joy on my daughter's face as she takes in all that celebrating Christmas entails. I actually like shopping for gifts for people and wrapping them. Or even making something for someone (I totally have a good idea for that this year!). It makes me happy to give things to people that they like. And baking! Well, I'm not so sure I love the baking, but I do really love the end result!:)
The whole Christmas season makes me happy and somewhere along the way I lost my ability to be happy because I was so busy making sure everything got done, even though sometimes it didn't because there aren't enough hours in the day for my house to be clean and all the laundry to be clean and my daughter to be well-educated and the animals to be well-fed and all the cooking and meal planning and remembering everyone's birthdays. And I would be so upset that I couldn't get it all done even though there are a ton of articles on the internet that say you should cut yourself some slack. Newsflash: Just because an internet article tells you something is OK doesn't mean that you can actually internalize that feeling. We are who we are and I am who I am. While I do try to be reflective and better myself, there are limits to how much progress I can make when I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, in a totally organized and checklisty fashion, of course!
So for the next 31 days I will be decorating and baking and gift-shopping and letter-writing and blogging (because blogging makes me happy!). I may do laundry and vacuum as needed, but I'm not going to stress about it. (So you are warned that if you visit my house this month that there will be cookies and an awesome tree, but you may die from tripping over toys or being smothered by dog hair before you get to enjoy much.) I'm also going to enjoy my daughter and her love of this season too. In years past, we haven't done a lot for Christmas for her because she gets so many other gifts. One set of grandparents in particular seems to really go overboard and I felt like I had to compensate for that by not buying her things that I wanted to buy her (because good moms don't let their kids get sucked into the consumerism of Christmas, right?).
This year, I expect the same gift situation, but I don't care. If said grandparents send too many things, I'll figure out a way to deal with it (like I may just hide some of them and pretend to find them later, like in March). In the meantime, I bought a version of an Advent calendar that looks like a little gingerbread house, and I bought a bunch of little things so that I could put one thing in each little drawer from now until Christmas. I took my time shopping for the house and then I spent over an hour just wandering around Target with a whole bunch of other Christmas-lovers as I searched for the perfect things to use as gifts. It made me happy. I imagined my daughter's face lighting up with joy each day as she sees the little gifts, and I got my first sight of that this morning. It was worth every minute that I spent preparing.
|Such a cute little house!|
I'm so excited to spend the month focused on a season I love writing about the things that I love! And I'm hoping that at least a few of you will follow along with me and share your thoughts too:)