How many 2019/new years resolution posts have you read so far?
Sorry, this is another.
So, a few weeks ago I had a bit of a meltdown (in true millennial fashion).
It presented as a typical lack-of-sleep, stressed-about-school crying sesh, but developed into something much deeper.
Through my blubbering to my boyfriend, I explained my expectations, my comparisons, my fears.
It was not simply that I was stressed about school. It was that I shouldn’t be this stressed about school, because I’m only in community college.
And it wasn’t that I’m so tired from working and going to school, it was that I shouldn’t be this tired, I’m only working part time. (as opposed to the 50+ hours I worked the year prior)
It wasn’t that I don’t have enough time for my blog, it was that “there’s no such thing as not enough time.” I should find more time.
My diagnosis? Through all of this organization, goal-setting, planning, inspiration-finding, I’ve really just been stressing myself the hell out.
I have created these unrealistic standards of proficiency, of adequacy, of perfection, and I was consistently letting myself down.
I don’t like admitting this. At all.
If I had it my way, my world would be bright and shiny and packaged up in a color-coded planner in a neatly organized (but stocked with essentials) laptop bag that matches my style and is also a convenient prop in photos. I’d have consistently clean laundry, an always-vacuumed car, meal prep done every week, plenty of time for yoga, and scheduled Netflix and lo mein breaks. And I want endless confidence, joy, motivation, drive.
But that just ain’t life. Sorry, Laney.
I mean, it is sometimes. But other times, it’s gray and cloudy with that damn rain/mist mixture thats only good for messing up your hair. Sometimes life is scribbles on corners of notepads or backs of hands, only to be left at home or washed away with the day. Life can be a tired, dirty canvas bag that you got for free from some conference you went to that one time.
And that, frankly, makes me upset. Anxious.
It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.
For the first 18 years of my life, I considered myself incredibly right-brained. I was fueled by creative energy, by art, music, literature. I leaned into the flow of my life, allowed things to happen to me as the universe wished. Yes, I had dreams and aspirations, but I chose to live my life freely, without any rigidity. No planning, no lists, no measurable goals. An ex-boyfriend often used to make fun of me for being such a “free spirit”, a “hippy”, and would always snarkily ask if I wanted to go dance in flowers or the rain. The answer was often, “Yes, actually, but not with you,” (he was a buzzkill).
Somewhere along the way, my whole personality shifted.
I went from someone who poked fun at my mother for making Excel spreadsheets to pack for a vacation, to someone who made an Excel inventory of every clothing item she owns, and whether its been folded, is hanging, or is in the wash. Yes, I’m serious.
I became someone who thrives on order, tidiness, simplistic and routine behaviors. My weekends became much less spontaneous and much more planned. Perhaps that’s simply due to growing up and the consequent responsibilities that come with it (i.e. work, college). But I also feel like I lost some of that carefree spirit.
I miss it.
In addition to this rivalry between selves, I’ve loaded up a sack of aspirations and I carry it on my back each day. There are so many things that I want to accomplish. I want to complete my degree while working to support myself, I want to spend an hour each day learning Italian, write 3 blog posts a week, become a pilates instructor, open a cafe, live in Philly, run a marathon, blah blah blah.
And so, I’ve felt an immense internal struggle these last few years. One half of me is fluid, understanding that life is beautiful in its mess, that untidiness means people are living and utilizing the space, that the days will continue to come even if you don’t write out a schedule down to the minute. The other half of me is tense, with a desire for control, order, perfection. I value hard work, dedication, discipline, achievement. For some reason, it feels like these two halves cannot coexist.
Now, here I am.
Aware of this disrupted balance, but eager to understand it more. Is there a solution? Can there ever really be a balance? Or will I continually flux between seasons of slow, and seasons of speed? Time will tell!
Thats my one true resolution for this year. Balance.
Balance between work and play, fast and slow, healthy and realistic, working smarter and not harder.
I vow to find time for my creativity to flourish. Time to shut the laptop, take out my contacts, pull back my hair. I’ll put on my glasses, my painting shirt, and I’ll learn how to use the watercolor set I got for Christmas. I’ll play my guitar again, and I’ll start reading books. My work time will be my work time, and I’ll make sure I get done what absolutely needs to be done. But I’ll remember to live too.
If you had to condense your goals or resolutions into just ONE, what would it be? Drop me a comment, friend. I’m curious!