A 500-word-a-day challenge. Pfft. Not a problem. Except that it’s very likely to be a complete challenge over the next couple of months. Let’s rephrase that and “be responsible”: I’m EXPECTING it to be a challenge. I’m ANTICIPATING that it will be a challenge. Ergo, it will be a challenge.
Sorry, sorry, my personal development training just won’t let me get away with crap like that. “Take full responsibility”, “Nothing happens that isn’t your own creation”, “Own everything in your life, it’s the only way to have full power over your life”. Well, that’s all fine, but sometimes I just want to whinge about how hard my life is. Sometimes, I just want everyone else to feel sorry for me because I’m so busy and I’m so stressed. Also, I want everyone to be IN AWE when I post something because they know how busy I am and they’re amazed by the sheer amount of stuff that I get done in a day, plus they’re all then completely understanding when I flake out and don’t do things that I said I’d do; I’m really busy so it’s totally understandable, right? I put a lot of effort into convincing people of how busy I am, I can’t burst the bubble and admit that I actually spend half my life just wasting time.
But anyway, on with the task of enrolling you all in my story of just how extraordinarily busy and full and stressful my life is. Hopefully, you’ll all appreciate it and stand in reverent wonder of just what I have on my plate. I’m heading off to Armidale on Monday, that is, if I don’t do the trip in one go tomorrow (see the article that I still haven’t finished but is way more than 500 words long and will go up later). Hang on, let’s go back a couple of steps. I picked up Kira from the airport yesterday. Tomorrow or Monday, I’m picking up Keeley and spending most of next week in Armidale catching up with friends. The likelihood of getting any writing done over that time? Close to zero. Then we’re into the Christmas build-up, then we’re on a diving course (so excited!), then Ryan & Jo and maybe Jamie arrive, then we’re off on holiday. After that, it’s the build up to the return to school/Uni so maybe in February, I can get back into writing.
Are you enrolled in how busy and stressful my life is yet?
That’s how my life goes. I resist that busy-ness, that focus on everyone else, I get grumpy and resentful about it, but that’s how it goes. I set my life up like that, it’s my doing, I create it that way. I love my family, I want to spend time with them, they are the priority. To give you some idea of the extent to which I’ll go to prove just how busy I am, earlier this year, I signed up for an intensive 6-week course, but when it came to signing on the dotted line, I hesitated, wanting to delay starting it because the kids were coming home plus my dad was over on his bi-annual holiday from England. When I mentioned that to the course sales guy, he responded with “Well, you know what you need to do, don’t you?” No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me. I’m also certain that you’re about to disappoint me by proving yourself to be a complete arsehole with no comprehension of either family life or just how busy I am, by saying something ludicrous like ‘you could do your work on the program after everyone goes to bed’.
He lived up to my lowest expectations: “That’s not a problem!” he pompously declared “You could spend the day with your family, and then do the work you need to do on the program after everyone’s gone to bed.” He played right into my hands: he confirmed my suspicion that he was an absolute plonker and his declaration allowed me to set myself up to prove that I’m far too busy to do anything properly. But, to be fair to myself, he had absolutely no idea. He doesn’t have kids, he doesn’t have a family, he couldn’t relate at all. Most mothers will tell you that the kids come first and there’s no room for anything else. I look at women who can run their business and be a mother and I still wonder how they do it; I’ve never managed it.
Maybe that’s just me being single minded and focussed, which it totally could be. My family is scattered to the four winds, so when we get together, it’s special and it’s something that I give my complete focus to. Only someone who has no idea of what’s involved in having kids & a family (and, more to the point, someone who doesn’t know me very well) would even consider the possibility that I could spend the day with the kids and then, when they’d gone to bed, put in three or four hours work on study, because I’m not already worn out, right?
And yes, twenty years ago, I would have done what the sales guy suggested without any hesitation. I’d push myself through, I’d stay up late, and I’d make myself do it. I’ve been doing exactly that for years. It’s not pleasant. It’s stressful and exhausting and I totally get heaps out of behaving that way: I get to be a martyr and I get to push myself to the limits, I get to be a victim and I get to be better than everyone else and earn their admiration. It’s totally worth it! Or, at least, it has been so far.
As I’m getting older, hopefully wiser and definitely more tired, I just don’t want to do it any more; I don’t want to do the whole push, push, push thing. Okay, that’s not true, I totally do the whole push, push, push thing BUT I pick and choose what I push through because I know the emotional (and adrenal) strain that it puts me under. And Christmas is already an adrenal strain without adding anything else into the mix.
So, five hundred words a day? We’ll see. Am I making up excuses to not do five hundred words a day? Probably definitely. Do I care? Yes. Am I going to feel guilty about it? Totally. Man, reading this through, I’ve completely lost my sense of humour. See? That’s what happens when the adrenals take over!
PS That's 1111 words, 2 days' worth of posts! Awesome! What an over-achiever!
Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...