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Giving Up or Letting Go

Woman, Face, Head, Hand, Write, Glass, Word, Letting Go

I went to bed early last night. Really early. I think it was 6:45. I asked my daughter to tell her dad that I loved him when he got home. I tried to stay up. I grew impatient with my body and that impatience was expressed in snips of angry words and frustration.

Everything seemed loud: the dogs’ scampering paws on the floor; the noise my daughter made as she prepared a snack; the cat’s meows; the nagging inside my head. Especially the nagging inside my head.

That nagging, I know it well. The voice that says, “Push! Just get it done. You haven’t finished this, that, or the other thing. ” The voice that lies and tells me everything is urgent when I know it isn’t. That voice, the one I’ve fought with but given into so many times.

Except, last night. Last night it didn’t win. I did.

I wanted to make a family dinner and sit as a family. I (we) didn’t.

I wanted to get some more work done on our remodeling project. I didn’t.

I wanted to do the laundry and get it all folded. I didn’t.

I wanted to get an hour of reading (at least) done. I didn’t.

I wanted to share some quiet time with my husband. I didn’t.

I wanted to write last night. I didn’t.

I wanted to…. (fill in the blank.) I didn’t.

In fact, the only thing I did get done was the one thing I deemed important, and that was giving the old cat his subcutaneous fluids. Yep, after I sifted through my long, and incomplete, to-do list, I decided the cat would be granted the only additional check-mark on that list.

I crawled up to bed. My body was achy. I was running a small fever. I needed to sleep. Despite the disapproving voice inside my head, I gave up.

I gave up on the rest of it, including pushing myself to stay up “just long enough” to say goodnight to my husband.  I gave up on the laundry and the remodel. I gave up on the family dinner and the reading. I gave up on trying to write. Other than the cat’s fluids, I gave up on everything left undone on my to-do list. I gave up on all of it last night.

Except, I didn’t.

At the start of every month, I set out my monthly goals, with the plan that I will have hit my bigger annual goals by meeting my incremental goals along the way. At the end of last year, I said I wanted 2019 to be my year for a health-makeover. In many ways, planned and unplanned (more about that another time), it has been. In keeping with that larger goal, I listed self-care as one of my (broad) goals for November. Self-care means taking time for me to do those things that fill my bucket. I enjoy meditating, but it can (far too often) be deleted off my list of to-dos when my schedule gets busy; same with reading, writing, walking, visits with friends, time with my family, eating healthy, doing my hobbies, etc.  Self-care is far too easily and too often discarded when that voice inside my head gets loud.

Except, last night it wasn’t.

Last night, I went to bed early. I didn’t give up; I let go. I let go of the expectations I had placed on myself and opted, instead, to honor the goal I set almost a year ago. A “health-makeover” isn’t a one-day-and-done goal, but is, instead, an on-going mindset. There are steps forward and, on occasion, steps back. Last night, I stepped forward. I quieted the voice that tells me to push until the work is done and focused on a bigger project; ME.

Last night’s win, however, was met by a bigger challenge this morning. Would I beat myself up when I had to add yesterday’s to-dos to today’s to-do’s? I was rested, very well-rested, and ready to tackle my to-do list. Nonetheless and very out of character, I avoided peeking at my calendar for a long time this morning. I sipped my coffee. I enjoyed the rays of sunshine bouncing off the new living room floor. I indulged in a very, very long hot shower(thanks, tankless water heater!), and even did some training with the dogs before I cracked open my planner. And, perhaps that long delay was just what was needed to let go of any hidden negative self-judgment. Before peeking at my calendar, I first looked at my November goal planning sheet. Last night, I let go and, in doing so, made the best choice possible to meet one of my November and annual goals.

Sometimes, giving up gives us the freedom we need to let go.

Sharin’ da Lovin’

I’ve (obviously) been blogging a lot lately, and maybe you’re wondering what got into Miss Jabberpants over here. And, maybe not. But, I’ll tell you anyway since I passed the half-way-to-goal mark on Tuesday. I’ve always  thought of myself as a self-motivated, goal-setting person. You gotta be when you run your own business. You gotta be when you homeschool children or do any volunteer work. You gotta be to get anywhere in life, but money motivates really well, too. Therein lies my blogging dilemma. Blogging requires time to write posts, but doesn’t pay (at least for now. :)) It takes consistency to improve my writing which requires time, but still doesn’t pay. It needs a solid fan base which comes from consistent good writing which requires time, and still doesn’t pay. You get the point. Perhaps, you’re living the blogging dilemma, too and can understand why I had to come up with something to motivate me to write until the money (maybe someday) comes along.

As many of you already know, November is NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month–30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon. Since I’m not working on a novel, I decided to create a personal blogging challenge, NaBloWriMo, which doesn’t flow very well and isn’t national since it’s  just me. So, on November 1st, I started BloWriMo–30 Days of Blogging Abandon.  And, in the words of Martha Stewart, it’s a good thing because I’ve been writing, and thinking and checking out lots of other blogs. As I’ve said before, there are a lot of really great bloggers out there!

Blog stalking  reading regularly inspires and motivates me. Yesterday was no different. My first “read” of the day came from a favorite blogger, The Lucky Mom , Lisha. Her post, Lovin’ , listed a number of things she was “lovin'” and it prompted me to make my own list. Originally, I was going to join the “Lovin'” conversation on Lisha’s Facebook page, The Lucky Mom. Instead, I just kept adding to my list as I moved through the day. At the end of the day, my list looked like this:

  • Coffee with a hint of cinnamon
  • Hitting my 20 pound weight loss goal (yesterday! Woot-woot!)
  • Laughter
  • Day 16 of BloWriMo
  • Heartfelt conversations with my daughters
  • An empty laundry basket
  • Uninterrupted phone calls
  • Memories
  • Homeschooling
  • Sisters that are best friends
  • A smile from a stranger on the road
  • The smell of stew simmering on the stove (strange, since I don’t eat meat)
  • A nice Cabernet (meat, no; wine, yes :))
  • My husband’s key in the door
  • The post that prompted this list (Seriously, scroll back up and click on it!)
  • Connecting with fabulous bloggers online and reading their terrific posts (Which  led me to create another list…and is in no way a comprehensive list of the posts I’m lovin’. And, seriously, click on these, too!  You’ll be lovin’ ’em! )

Blog posts I’m lovin’:

  • Silly images: they’re what’s for dinner «: There’s this blogger named Deborah–not Debbie–Deborah. Her raw honesty makes me think and feel and laugh and most of all, makes me want to write. Not to mention her very humorous stick- figure drawings and her stinkin’ adorable son, Lil’D. If you’re short on time, at least click on the video link to view her son discovering his shadow. Priceless! Then bookmark her page and come back later.
  • And I Ran…I Ran So Far Away!: (Can anyone else hear the song in their head?) Aside from the fact Laura feels like a kindred spirit, she makes me feel like a human, and she’s inspiring me to start running again–maybe. She’s a mom to 3 teens, working outside the home, maintaining a long distance marriage,  de-cluttering-project master, on the journey to 50 and her empty nest years. Like I said, kindred. When I want to get away, but feel like I’m sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, I run to Laura’s blog.
  • No Longer Camera Shy…sort of: I discovered Cindy’s blog by chance…but, there are no mistakes, are there? If I had to describe her blog in a word, it would have to be addictive. Her story, her smile, and her art all reach out from the page and invite you to set a spell. Consider her blog an appetizer and her website, Cindy DeLuz, the meal because her art really does “make the heart smile.”
  • I Have A Plan, and I’m Not Afraid To Use It: Perhaps it’s because she’s a planner, like me, and is already planning for mid-life crises and birthdays. Perhaps, it’s because she works in a zoo and I live in one. But likely, it’s her humor, in this post and every other one I have read that keeps me following along. And, because Becoming Cliche has challenged herself with a NaNoWriMo blogging challenge, I have renamed my challenge 2BloWriMo. Nice to know I have company.
  • Strange Animal Encounters in the Florida Keys: Because manatees are too cool for words and I’m trying to figure out how to Photoshop my face into these pictures. (For the VeggieTale fans, http://www.youtube.com/watcv=tpcf_qD3GW4 , it’s Barbara Manatee! Don’t judge. :)) And, because Lesley’s posts are like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one, I share Yearly Bucket List; I Need Your Ideas! , the post that “introduced” me to Lesley and made me decide I want to be her when I grow up. The only problem is, I’m really afraid of heights! So, I wrote my own bucket list instead.

Thanks, Lisha, for inspiring the lovin’! (And, for inspiring me to set up a Transitioning Mom Facebook page–Coming soon!)

Please, join the conversation and share what you’re lovin’?