On Peace, Courage + Getting Things Done

Courage

As we were falling asleep on Sunday I said to Garrett that this weekend had been perfection. If I had made a checklist of Weekend Items That Equal Awesomeness, we would have OWNED it. One part fun, one part restorative, one part social, one part productive while not feeling rushed — it really was just so peaceful!

Weekends lately go one of two ways: they’re either great and I’m absolutely energized on Monday, or they fly by so fast that my head is still spinning as it hits the pillow Sunday night. Regardless of which way they go though, the weekends are usually the best part of my week.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, I’ve been feeling a little conflicted about that lately. I’m not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill or trying to worry about something when there is nothing there, but I’m just feeling a bit of conflict around the great exhale that I take every Friday afternoon because it reminds that I’m doing a whole lot of holding my breath.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it is really important to me to try and create a life that needs no escape. I don’t want to be a person who spends an entire year waiting for that one week of scheduled vacation. I don’t want to always be waiting for Friday to come. Constantly looking for the light at the end of the tunnel feels like a giant recipe for burnout. I know that everyone needs a little break sometimes, but as I get older, I become more and more determined to put my energy toward making my daily life as enjoyable and intentional as possible.

When I say that out loud it sounds a little hippie woo-woo, but it actually comes from a really practical place. I think it’s is a consequence of losing a loved one too soon — because thinking about my dad just being done with life in his early 40s BLOWS MY MIND. I think when you lose someone so young, and so unexpectedly, you become hyper aware of fickle nature of time.

So. While the perfect weekend is always welcome at our house, it has really highlighted for me that lately I haven’t been making an effort to really “enjoy the journey.”  I know, I know — The Journey, GAG. I may as well hang up my poster of Mt. Everest with inspirational quotes right below it. But I really haven’t. I’ve been beating myself up a little bit for all of the perceived “failures” I’ve got going on — working out less than I want, seeing friends less often than I’d like, eating crappy food because it is convenient, staying up super late and having “just one glass of wine” after a long work day. Sure, all of those things are less than ideal, but honestly every day I still get up and try to do my best. And I am realizing that I need to enjoy the process of “doing my best” more instead of just focusing on all the things I am NOT accomplishing.

This is so hard for a goal oriented person like myself, especially when I feel like the energy I am expending is not accelerating the forward progress, but I did read the quote above in an old issue of Oprah magazine last night while sitting in the bath tub and something about it just made me exhale a bit. (YAY, breathing!) There is part of me that becomes a little bit scared when I can’t quantify what I’ve completed. When I can’t check something off a list, you know? But I keep forgetting that I’ve been developing a whole new skill set this year, and it’s one that I’ve been writing through as I’ve struggled with it. 

Being present.

It’s fine to have goals and plans, but the only thing I can manage are my intentions in the moment.  I know in my heart that the more I can let go of my expectations of the outcome, the more present I can be. And honestly when I am just showing up and being present, it is when I feel most capable. (And peaceful!)

I think part of what I need to do is re-frame the meaning behind that little voice in my head who tells me I must get up and try again tomorrow, and I really identified that while reading this quote. When I’m being fearful, that quiet voice can sound like a judgment that I’m just not doing enough, and therefore failing to Get Things Done. But in reality, I’m starting to hear that little voice as my biggest cheerleader. Taking a stab at something new, doing the best you can, hell even just thinking about how to make something better — ALL are acts of courage. And if I can still hear that voice, and if I’m still waking up everyday and giving what I can, then I think in the end it doesn’t matter what actually gets accomplished.

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