Wow. That was a close one. Can we all agree that 2016 was a doozy? Here are my feels about this year…
2016 was by far the fastest/longest year of my life. Has anyone else had everything they ever wanted but you were working so hard to get it you feel like you’re losing yourself in the process? I think that’s what happened. I’m not exactly sure, because I basically blacked out for the larger portion of the year. Not literally people, the new baby(ies) at home kind of black out where you look back at old pics and remember but don’t remember because it all went so fast.
So here’s the scoop. I turned 35 in November which was just weird (because I’m actually 28. So weird). I was so introspective when it came to this birthday. Sneak peak, I’m fine, but I was heading into December feeling grumpy. I spent the larger part of 2016 feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. This sucks because in 2016 I had 2 babies that I’m literally obsessed with, a new work life, a new beautiful home, a husband I still love like crazy and co-ran a charity event that makes an impact on sick babies at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
We also doubled the size of our family and now have 4 kids 5 and under, moved with 4 kids, and I had my appendix out, but who’s counting. I have everything I’ve ever wanted but every day I was having those ‘put your head down and fight through this hard part’ moments. When I’d look up from those moments it felt like it was to see the universe watching me, wondering “Good god, how is this lady going to pull this off.” Ha! I could feel eyeballs watching me as I tote all 4 of them through Target. It doesn’t help when people say something god awful every time. I also felt like I had to prove my freelance business. I wanted to still be relevant in my field and I needed to feel like I still contributed to my family. And then there was my fitness. I had to get that identity back. It was such a huge part of who I was.
None of these things were coming as easily as they used to. I was working harder than ever so why wasn’t anything coming naturally?
FFWD to Coffee Please, a little gem spot by our new house. I was having an oversized latte with a former coworker about some freelance work. She is someone who I look up to. She was kick ass at her job when we worked together, had a huge family and made significant adjustments to her work and her life to accommodate it all. So when she spoke about her journey, trust me, I listened up. She told me about her passion for yoga and her love for meditation. Mediation fascinates me!! 100%ly because I cannot do it. I asked her how, like the zillions of others I’ve asked, and she told me she personally repeats “Peace and Love” amongst other things as part of her practice. I immediately think it’s impossible and start day dreaming about tag lines that have peace and love in them. I see hallmark cards and Christmas cards. I think about calligraphy. I think about everything except what that can mean.
FFWD again (obviously my favorite remote button) to hot yoga where I feel like I’m in my happy place of getting into a hot car in the middle of summer. Anyone else?? No? I’m still alone on that one? Fine. Anywho, of course they ask you to quiet your mind which is an actual joke to me, but I give “Peace and Love” a try. I think about how in my studies of the mind and the body I’ve learned about how they are 2 completely separate entities, 2 different business functions if you will, but they are so connected in what makes you you. And I started to think about all that I was struggling with 2016. And I could go on for 764 hours about my speed of light thoughts (so much for the quiet mind) but I came up with what Peace and Love means to me, and it’s been a game changer.
Peace to me is Peace of Mind
And Love, is the Love of my body. Stay tuned for that one, it’s not as weird as it sounds.
For me, I realized that the largest portion of this angst was from the pressure I was putting on myself. Yes I have a full plate. We all have our own versions of these very full plates. But the REDICULOUS pressure I was putting on myself was the stifling part. For example, the number of things I can accomplish in a day while having 4 kids does not make me a good stay at home mom. Or for example, the dollars billed in a month does not make me a good freelancer. The ability to identify what’s important and to do those things incredibly well, and to enjoy the ride, is what brings me peace of mind. So that is my new practice. On a daily basis, figure what’s important for the day, do it well and enjoy the rest. It all falls into place. Things still get done, and the quality is what matters. I still work every week and I still get tons done, but my peace of mind has improved so much.
Now for the love part. I ask my body to do more than it’s physically capable of every day. We all do this. I don’t give it rest, I don’t give it strength, and I don’t give it credit for what it’s been through (what a year!!) and for its ability to over perform every day despite that. I realize I’m getting all hippy dippy over here but this realization made me feel strong again! Now I focus every day on giving my body what it needs for energy (good food) and to heal from the year it’s had (strength).
You put those 2 things together and you have one happy Betsy. Seriously, I’ve absolutely loved the last part of 2016, despite work being crazy, the kids being home for 17 days (again who’s counting) and all the holiday shenanigans. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had dreams of an unlisted number in Mexico and putting my kids on Craig’s List like the rest of us, but I’m just really happy. And not to mention, my health is the best it’s been in as long as I can remember. I have more energy than ever. I have lost pounds and inches, just from treating myself right for once this year.
So here I am. I have 4 kids and whoever thinks that sounds awful (you’d be surprised how many people tell me they think that way) can suck it. I’m a work from home mom, who quit her job to do freelance so I could spend more time taking care of my family but still do what I love, just on a smaller scale. I use fitness as a way to fuel my mental and physical health, every day. I usually only spend anywhere from 10 mins to an hour but I make sure it’s fun for me, and I strongly believe it counts. I cook everything I can on Sunday because I only have time to reheat in real life. I work out at 5am bc it’s the only certain time in my day that I’m alone. The alarm sucks but the regret of snooze sucks even more. And with this recalibration of how I make time for myself, I’m just pretty damn happy and heathy.
We all know how bumpy life is, but they say you never grow unless you’re challenged. And I feel like I’ve learned such a valuable introspective lesson on how to adapt in new challenges. I hope I can use this process for the next portion of the bumpy ride called life.
So I know this post has been extra warm and fuzzy for me. I usually like to express my feelings in sarcasm and internet memes. But I’m just so pumped to be this content and this healthy, that I had to share. I know there are so many of us who have scooped too full of a plate (and I don’t mean Christmas seconds) or drank too much from the firehose (although a wine filled firehose would be nice). But in all seriousness, for those who are overwhelmed, exhausted, fighting for something, or whatever else…don’t forget to focus on yourself too, because you’re worth it!
2016 has been unreal. I never imagined this chapter of my life and I wouldn’t change a single second. I’m tired, but I’m beyond grateful.
Wishing you all your own version of peace and love in 2017.
Here’s to 2017!