Writing has meant so much to me over the past 3 years. I’ve learned so much from personal journaling, writing my thoughts and feelings, jotting down my hopes and dreams, and strategizing what I want my future to look like. I’ve also done a lot of reflection on my past.
I don’t mean to hang around and dwell on things that aren’t relevant today or try to stir up emotions that I have already dealt with, but I can’t help going back to this time in my life when I was 17 years old.
Being a junior in high school is tough for anyone, but I was extremely hard on myself. I didn’t need my parents to make sure I was getting good grades because I was intentionally focused on getting great grades. I was highly involved with everything in school. Cheerleading and volleyball (where I served as both team captains and played on club teams) took up the majority of my time, I threw discus in track, I became heavily involved with several student organizations (they look good on college admissions applications), I was trying to get into the best college in the state, and I was doing all of this while truly believing I had to maintain a 4.0 GPA taking college level dual credit courses. Most days I would arrive to school before 7:00 am and not leave until 4:30 pm just to head home and work on homework and practice more. (During volleyball, we had to be at the school by 5:45 am.)
Needless to say, I cracked under the pressure I was weighing myself under. I binge drank on the weekends, every weekend to be more accurate. Thank God I was too scared to experiment with drugs because I believe that would have taken a very dark turn. I was trying to deal with all of the expectations I was putting on myself by blowing off steam instead of addressing the real issue at hand – I was exhausted and overworked.
Looking back, I see now the patterns that I was ignoring. This shouldn’t be the typical lifestyle of a high school kid who is burned out before they even make it to being an official adult. I was tired of “adulting” before I was even old enough to vote!
Don’t overwork yourself. Don’t do too much. Keep a realistic balance in your life and save some margin for days when you need a break. Don’t give yourself a reason to crack under pressure.
So in this stage of my life, I no longer strive to be spontaneous anymore. Yes, every once in a while I’ll get a wild hair to order pizza for the kids on a Friday night (I know, CALM DOWN!), but that’s about as zany as we get these days.
I feel as though “spontaneous = reckless” in this season of my life. I don’t believe that’s 100% true, but I find myself being less and less spontaneous the older I get. Maybe routine is to blame. Maybe my need to be responsible is to blame. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown so comfortable in our little cocoon at home that venturing off to anything new kinda scares the crap out of me.
Yesterday, I took my kids to audition for a movie…3 hours away! We never do anything on a whim like this. If something requires us to travel on the weekend (especially 3 hours away), I’ve had it planned out for weeks with the well-stocked snack bag and drinks needed for the entire trip ready to go before we ever load up the car.
No such thing happened yesterday. I had a friend who was excited about taking her own kids (granted they were only 30 minutes down the road from the audition) and her excitement about it got the best of me. I thought, “What the hell? Why not? All I was going to do today was laundry!”
We have no idea if anything will come out of going to this audition, but I did learn one important thing yesterday…try new things even if they scare you. My kids did it. They actually had fun too!
You can be spontaneous and responsible at the same time. My kids didn’t miss school. Nobody missed work for us to go. And we made it home just in time for our nightly routines. Don’t lose your ability to be spontaneous!
There was a pop-up notification that I have been writing this blog for a year. A whole year, people! That may not seem like a big deal to you, but man oh man…that’s huge for me! The reason why it’s such a big deal is because in the past year I have let go of so many issues that have been lingering around forever, and it’s all thanks to this community.
Before, I would walk around holding in my resentments about the past, complaints about the present, and worries about the future. That is until they started becoming too big of a burden to carry.
Now, I get to come here everyday and talk to y’all before any of the chaos of my life (that comes with having a husband, 3 kids, and a dog) takes over. I get to sit down with my cup of coffee and contemplate life with you fine people each and every day.
So yes, a whole year is a big deal for me! Hopefully, there will be many more to come!
I don’t know about you, but I thank God every day that my life is drastically different than it was in the past. I’m not saying that this is something self-promoting and I’m awesome for realizing what a disaster my life used to be. Just simply stating how grateful I am to not have to live that kind of lifestyle any more.
“What kind of lifestyle?” you ask. Let me paint you a little picture.
Several years ago, almost 4 to be exact, I was living a life of total chaos, only I didn’t realize it until the ticking time bomb was ready to detonate right in front of my face. My marriage was collapsing right in front of me, I was binge drinking on the weekends to drown my sorrows, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be with my career, I was dying inside emotionally from the passive-aggressive/co-dependent relationship I had created and encouraged with my husband, and I was just downright unhappy with where my future was headed.
Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with myself or where my future was headed. I needed to make a change. I had spent so long trying to change everyone else around me – my husband, my parents pending separation and divorce, and even the uncontrollable situations at work – that I forgot I’m only in control of myself. Realizing only I can make changes in my life, I finally felt that time had come.
I’m happy to report that today our marriage is solid and strong with a foundation we tore down and rebuilt ourselves from the ground up. We are different people today than we would have been had we not decided to drastically change our lives. I quit my job that was ultimately toxic and very hazardous to my life and my marriage. We made a fresh start in a new community and continue to keep growing and improving ourselves.
What’s your story? How are you different today than you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Have you ever had someone come up to you and let you know that you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant today? (Maybe they don’t say it in such a nice way…) Do you know when you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant? (Sometimes I don’t notice my behavior until my husband points it out.)
The reason I ask these questions is because maybe we don’t know ourselves as good as we think we do some days. We don’t always have to have a 100% spot on/no mistakes kind of day, but we also shouldn’t swing to the other end of the pendulum every five minutes either.
I have mood swings. [GASP!] Shocker I know…a woman with mood swings. But I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I take someone else’s perspective for my own behavior or attitude when I can’t see it. Some days I’m overtly irritable and I don’t even notice until my husband asks me for the 10th time, “Are you sure nothing is bothering you?” From which my initial mental reaction is, “You’re bothering me with all of these questions!” Hence, this is when I realize I’m being extra cranky!
The point to all of this is to know your emotions a little bit better today than you did yesterday. Know when you need to give yourself a “timeout” and step away from the chaos to gather yourself. None of us are perfect (by any stretch of the imagination), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep improving.
Progress, not perfection…
I’m not sure what type of relationship you have with your Higher Power (HP for short), but I know that sometimes I get a clear and concise message that I know was meant specifically for me.
For example, I’ve been working on creating a website. For months, I’ve created/managed/published/modified everything on this site myself. I built it from a pre-selected layout I chose and went from there. Now let me be clear, I am not a web designer. I am not a graphic designer. I have the ability to use Google to my advantage to figure things out, but that’s about it.
I started praying for guidance about someone helping me build a more professional looking site. And I kept praying. And I kept praying. “Am I just supposed to figure this out on my own? Do I need to hire one of these fancy people that I can’t afford to make me a really cool website? Do I need to scrap the whole thing and go get a real job?” All of these questions crossed my mind several times a day.
Then one day, several months after my initial prayer for guidance, I met someone by happenstance at a workshop I was attending. It was no coincidence that this woman sat right next to me, my mom, and my grandmother. As I was busy helping coordinate the event, all of the ladies at my table began to chat and one conversation led to another. Come to find out, this woman was a well seasoned web designer! What?!? By the time I came to rejoin our table, she had already jotted down her contact information and encouraged me to email her as soon as I was ready to take the next step.
Some may see this as coincidence, but I see it as God’s divine appointment. We don’t know when they’ll come, but I try to be as prepared for them as I can be. So I keep praying for things to happen in my life and I keep encouraging others to be on the lookout for these events to happen in their own lives.
Be alert to the people you meet and interact with everyday. You never know what message God is trying to deliver to you.
Since this is a place of vulnerability and honesty, I have a confession to make. I noticed I hit the “200 posts” mark the other day here on The Truth Behind Nothing. Wow…200! That’s a big freaking deal. No, it’s not the measure of success for most people, but then again I’m not comparing myself to most people.
I’m astonished that I hit 200 posts simply because I’ve wanted to quit basically ever since I started. (I know that’s probably not something I should admit on a blog where I’m trying to help and encourage other people, but hear me out!) There have been mornings where I sit down at my computer and think, “There can’t be another word in my brain that could inspire or encourage anyone else. I might as well give up. I should just quit right now!”
But then something strange would happen. I would get an idea of how someone else encouraged me or how an experience helped me change my perspective. There have been many healing proclamations made here on this blog and I’m grateful for every single one of them.
So what I’m really trying to say here is please don’t give up on your dreams, whatever they may be.
I’m an aspiring writer. I’m working my butt off every day to get better and to deal with the messy things in life along the way. I hope you decide to do the same thing. Just get started and keep going! One day, you may wake up and realize you’ve practiced your craft over 200 times without even knowing it.