Thursday, June 16, 2022

How Life Has Changed in the last couple of years...

I decided to come on here and write for a change. These days it's so easy to communicate through social media in much less time, but I felt like this warranted some real writing. I have to say that this season in my life feels really good. To preface, life never really gets "easy" or stress-free completely. I know it's all temporary. I've learned that it's simply how life is and a lot of times, your outlook and reaction to things is what makes the difference. BUT....I can say without a doubt that lately, things have felt different. I think this is due to a few different things. For one, I have come to learn that I need to incorporate essential elements into my life. I cannot go about life being Superwoman and overworking myself into the ground! I can remember back two years ago when my life was chaotic and stressful- an understatement indeed. It was probably one of the most unhappy chapters in my book. I will say that a year or so of hard work, sacrifice and hustle most definitely contributed to where we are now, was not something that I would ever want to do again, in the way that we did it. 

I used to take on way more than I could realistically handle. I didn't put up boundaries for my own mental health. I multi-tasked every single day for over a year, maybe 2. Not one day went by that I didn't feel like I was failing to get it all completed yet doing something ALL. DAY. LONG. NON. STOP.  I sacrificed a lot. It was a very messy time and dark clouds start to creep in just thinking about it. But things are not like that now. Why does it feel different? 

Well....I have a long post all written and waiting to go live on how I went through a real "rock bottom" moment in 2021. But haven't pushed post yet and I will soon....but in the meantime, I will tell you how I came out of it. It was not an overnight fix. I had to acknowledge things were not healthy before I could change them. In order to change them, I needed to evaluate, prioritize and let go of many things. 

I am one of those people that will take on everything for a couple of reasons. 1. Fear of missing out,  and 2. I love to be busy and productive...or so I thought. After realizing that I was doing WAY too much and acknowledging that I was very unhappy, I realized that I was the only one that could improve matters for myself. And so I did. I made a literal written list of the things that were "crucially important" to me. I made another list of the things that were "somewhat important" and then a list of "the rest".  According to that list, I was able to pinpoint what needed to be eliminated. They consisted of things that I needed to let go of, even though I didn't necessarily want to.  I shed a few things that I had outgrown or that just weren't in line with what I truly wanted in that phase of life. This wasn't an easy task. It was actually quite a process. I had to say goodbye to some things that I loved or had become part of my life. But it was necessary for my growth...for my mental health.  From there, I had to change my daily habits. And I also had to get smarter about how I approached things. I needed to make the most of every second of my life.

(I wrote this back a month ago so of course summer looks a bit different but to show you an example of how life looks now) 

Today, I wake up and make some lemon water to drink with Ty. We both tackle lunches and breakfasts before Ty leaves for work I get the kiddos off to school. Not always a fun task at 5:30am but it's one that I've started to look at as a privilege. Grateful that I have kids to make lunches for, and the means to make healthy lunches. Thankful for a husband that helps...a lot. Then I sit out on the back deck to get some morning sun (which by the way is so important for you to get that morning light-helps aid in better sleep, among other things). I usually I drink something warm, decaf or tea, (sometimes smoothies if it's hot) and check some emails or tackle morning work. Once Vera wakes up, I make us a healthy breakfast, we eat together and just hang out for a bit. I talk to her about the healthy foods we are eating and what each food does for the body. I get to watch all the funny things she does and says. 2-3 days a week I will go work at the gym for staff development or meetings. The other days I work from home on gym things or some of the other project we are currently working on. Another thing I love to do, build things from nothing to something! I save 30-60 min, 4-5 days a week, to workout. This time is SO important to me and I protect this time block fiercely. Lots of times I do a workout in the workout room while Vera naps and other times I go for a walk with Vera, sometimes both. The kids will walk home and get snacks and do homework if they have any. I try to be present in things they tell me and really listen. Then they go play. I'm a huge advocate for no homework and more free-play. We do dinner fairly early. Ty will go do his workout while I get the kids ready for bed if he didn't do it that morning: Baths, PJ's and prepare for the next day. Some of this I used to dread because I was exhausted but now I love getting that time with them. I look forward to those moments. Then Ty and I divide and conquer. We take turns putting Vera to sleep and whoever doesn't put her to bed will put the older two to sleep. On days that I put Vera to sleep, we read books and then rock for as long as she wants until she tells me "I want my crib" lol. On nights that I put the other two to sleep, we read books or just snuggle for a few minutes. Scarlett loves when we lay in her bed and read a chapter of her book together. Maxwell likes when I watch some silly YouTube show with him. Then Ty and I get to relax a bit. Tea in bed, watch a bit of a movie- or at least attempt to because we usually pass out way before it even gets 30 min in. But regardless, we are there with each other. 

2 years ago, I was working morning, day and night to get everything accomplished and still not succeeding at it. Now, I work about 4-5 hours a day on days when I work from home. Some days that I go into the gym might be longer but it doesn't feel like work because I love what I do there. I love that I'm working on something that is ours. Of course we have busy weeks but we also get slow weeks to recoup. New projects are so exciting to me and I finally have time for them!  
2 years ago I barely took time to prioritize me. Now, I don't have to miss a workout  ever <3 I go for meditation walks and just take in everything that I am seeing, hearing and smelling. I come home relaxed and refreshed. 
2 years ago Ty was working from across the country and I was alone with the kids -no family. There was a lot of resentment and stress. Now, he's right here with me. Making memories with us and making up for lost time. We get to spend time together and focus on things that we want to focus on. We are able to be a couple again- laugh together again. 
2 Years ago I was constantly guilty for missing out on moments with my kids. Now, I get to spend so much more time with them! It's truly great to be able to take their school breaks and do whatever with them. This is the first summer that I will be able to actually do planned things with them more than 1 week all summer!! I can now do day dates with my kiddos independently and not be thinking about the 200 other things that I have to do. 
2 years ago, I would forget to eat. I didn't have time to plan meals and felt guilty for feeding the kids frozen nuggets more times than I'd like to admit. Now, I am intentional with how we eat. I take time to prep and plan our meals. I understand that food plays a more important role than we ever knew.
2 years ago I didn't have time to do anything that I enjoyed. It was work, kids, work and briefly sleep. Now, I notice the beauty in being slow and intentional in everything I do. I am grateful and take notice of all the small things we take for granted.   I appreciate being able to have the time to organize my home and decorate it when I please. Watering the plants in the morning as the birds sing.  Packing a thoughtful lunch with fun touches that I know will make the kids smile. Eating breakfast with Vera on the porch knowing that not everyone gets to do that with their toddlers each morning. Sipping hot tea and writing this! Just all of the small things that most people miss on a daily basis....I soak them all up now! I feel like my spirit has matured over the last few years. I can find the joy and beauty in small things in a way that I didn't , or mostly couldn't before. I've always been grateful, but now it feels stronger. I can find this good stuff even when things are rocky. I used to always keep myself busy and take on more than I had time for. I thought I loved it. Now, I understand the importance of having down time. I am more productive when I am healthier- both mentally and physically. That requires me to not put so much on my plate. Which goes back to the list making and shedding anything that isn't going to bring me closer to my goals, family and growth. This also requires me to put up boundaries that not everyone understands, but that is ok. It's not meant to hurt anyone, it's meant to protect me and what's mine. I am fierce when it comes to protecting anything.  

Each step along the way has a purpose. I couldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for all the steps I took, we took. For the people that cheered for me or cheered us on. Those who just listened. I am thankful for all of them. And there are a lot of things that I let go of, that I miss. That is part of growth. 

Most of us were raised to think that we had to do things in a step by step process and  X, Y, Z was the only way to be successful. But I understand now that this isn't true. Success means different things to different people. To me, it's the freedom to spend more time doing what I love and with the ones I love. That freedom comes from having money. So while money does not bring happiness, it certainly does bring me freedom. I don't need to be a billionaire... that was never my goal. Although I didn't always know what my goal was, I now know that my goal and my success, is freedom, while bringing joy or help to others along the way. 

Lots of changes came about this year. Good changes. Hard changes. I'm very excited to keep moving forward in this grand chapter of life even if it doesn't all make sense to me at the surface. I am right where I need to be. 


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