Last year I finally learned that when this feeling hits, it's time to start letting things go. Passion projects are great while they add value, but when they become energy vampires, they're not great anymore. Even paying projects aren't always worth the actual cost to the participant. And beyond work and similar projects, everywhere I turn I see something I'm half-assing or totally neglecting: relationships, healthy habits, books that offer me a time-out from the real world, my mindfulness practices, exercise, social presence, voicemails, meal-planning and cooking, blogging, reading/commenting, and anything that makes me feel like I'm putting myself first, second, last, or on the list of priorities at all.
I make lists to help me better manage my time, and even though everything that has to get done in a day ends up done, I still don't feel like I'm coming out ahead. I'm still not winding down until a half hour before I want to be sleeping. I'm still not making time to run. I'm still cancelling yoga classes. My nails still aren't done. I still had carrots and dip for dinner the other day.
I've always had trouble knowing where to cut back, what fat to trim. It feels like everything on my plate is there for a reason, and to take one thing off would be to throw off the balance and feel surely some consequence, right? My side income isn't as high that month, or I'm not happy.
I haven't been happy in a long time, not fully. I've had happy moments, I've done exciting things, I've made memories to cherish, and I've felt loved and supported in times. But generally speaking, I'm disappointed in myself for how I'm moving through life lately, and despite sitting down and telling my journal day after day all the ways I'm going to fix it, I can't. I don't make the time. I don't really have the time, because editing work has a deadline. Running and yoga class and face masks and manicures and coffee dates and phone calls don't.
But running and yoga class and face masks and manicures and coffee dates and phone calls deserve me, and I deserve them. And other than what I absolutely have to do, as of now, I'm putting all the rest to the side. Starting with the blog. I want to update it, I want to write, I want to have conversations here. But at the end of the day when everything else is done and I still don't have time, I stare hopefully at the screen wishing the words in my head were already down in a draft. And when they're not, the thought of manually putting them there exhausts me. And when they still don't make it there after another day or another week, I feel guilty. Not because I'm failing you, I know you guys are forgiving. I'm failing me, yet again, in yet another way, because I simply can't do another thing I told myself I was going to do.
The obvious answer to me, for now, is to stop telling myself things I'm going to do. I have to slow down. I have to be choosy. I have to make time and zero excuses for the things that make me feel whole, the things that always get pushed to the back burner because I've agreed to some other responsibility that now has to come first. And even though I haven't been blogging much for a long time, it's still a thing that hangs over me, that my free time feels owed to.
With all this noise, I'm not listening enough to myself or my body. I'm even talking (or usually typing) too loudly to hear what I need to hear. So I'm going to be quiet for a little while. I hope not too long; things in my life are all climbing to the surface and I can see some resolution soon. But until then, I can only control what I can control. I'm starting by giving myself a break from some of the noise, some of the guilt I inflict on myself. I want to give myself back to me.