This year has been strange. It’s like we have all of the time and none of the energy. All of the ideas and none of the follow through. All of the gas and nowhere to go.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Personally, since I lost my job in July, I’ve been overcompensating by trying to do ALL of the things: decluttering and reselling old items around the house, writing, painting, working, shopping, walking, running, walking. I fill my time so I don’t sit still, even if the things I’m filling my time with don’t really accomplish anything. I convince myself I’m moving forward so I don’t have to acknowledge that I’m actually stuck. Stuck in 2020. Stuck in old bad habits. Stuck in the muck of too many ideas and good intentions and wishes and dreams and the plaguing uncertainty that’s keeping me away from all of it.
That’s why, last month, I decided I was going to focus on one thing: writing a book. Or at least, writing 50,000 words of a book. And I did really well until the 14th of the month, when I came down with a cold and realized the only thing I was capable of was lying on the couch and watching TV until I fell asleep. (Which I hated and struggled with immensely.)
I felt a lot of guilt around this rest – even if my mind and body were utterly exhausted. I wasn’t writing. My daily word count was building up with every day I didn’t open up my computer. I still had things to sell and make and do. And eventually, I had no choice but to admit that I was going to have to call it quits somewhere around the 26,000 mark. Because writing that book? It wasn’t what I needed. I had simply replaced the stress of all the other things I was trying to do with the stress of meeting a daily word count goal. And it wasn’t bringing me joy or peace or clarity. What I needed to do more than anything was just STOP. Stop all of it. At least for a little while.
Much as I wanted to spend these last two weeks working on the blog, I wouldn’t let myself. I needed a total break. I needed to miss it. I needed to get away so I could come back refreshed. And isn’t that the best way to be creative? To take a step back and let it simmer, let it build, until it can’t be contained any longer?
It won’t come as any surprise at this point, but I’ve decided that a Simple + Good December needs to be about rest – mostly because that concept is a complete oxymoron in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. But in all seriousness, I want to spend this month – this time of hustle and stress and comparison and celebration – to find moments and methods for rest. To realize that I can bake the cookies and eat them, too.
You see, we can’t live life in a perpetual state of rest, but we also can’t truly live when all we do is hustle. We need balance. Even if that means scheduling in time to sit down, drink some eggnog, and not think about the presents we haven’t found yet.
A few years ago, I bought a little wooden Advent calendar. Every December, I fill each day with something to do – whether it’s getting a tree, having a craft day, or eating pizza and watching not one, but two, Home Alone movies. (The third one just isn’t the same.) There are days for work, days for play, and days for doing nothing. And even though I still feel the pressure of having a “perfect” Christmas season, I feel a sense of peace in knowing that – whatever happens – the big day will come. And I’ve already got a plan for how to get there. It’s all waiting to be revealed when my fiance pulls out a tiny slip of paper from the calendar each morning.
So this month, as we move towards Christmas in a pandemic-driven world, take the time to breathe deep, get shit done, and sit down and rest a little in the evenings, too. I’ll be here to help you along the way.