I know for a fact there are many of us who, by mid-December, are feeling pretty frazzled. This is the time of year when we pack in obligations on top of social events on top of family strife on top of excess spending on top of excess eating and… well, you don’t need me to go on.
For me, though, overwhelm is not just a December/Christmas/Holiday thing. The feeling of being over-stretched has been percolating for quite some time, regardless of season.
And the thing is, I have a really lovely life. I only need to glance at the news headlines to know how incredibly lucky I am to have a warm, safe home in a democratic (err, let’s not go there) country, a day job which pays the bills, a family I love, a terrific husband, legs which can stagger 13 miles before brunch, and two-going-on-three novels published. Lack of serenity, for me, is absolutely a first-world problem and I know I only have the luxury of worrying about it because those other things are ticking along so well.
But that’s why it’s particularly ironic: if, on one level, I know life is absolutely great, why do I feel like I never truly appreciate it? There’s a long list of reasons, including my personality type, my indie author activities on top of a regular job, and also aspects of the “busy-ness” mindset which our society has cultivated so insidiously.
I can’t describe a single revelatory moment like Arianna Huffington, who attributes lack of sleep to waking up in a pool of her own blood on her office floor (she cracked her head on the way down). Suffice to say, over the period of a few weeks this summer, I was forced to acknowledge things veering off the rails:
- Guzzling lunch in a distracted hurry, I bit myself so badly, it hurt to eat for three days.
- Biking home from my day job one afternoon, I obeyed a stop sign and then set off again immediately, oblivious to the pickup truck steering across my path. (It was totally his turn. Thankfully, he stopped.)
- I had the worst ever argument with my husband… the only time I’ve had to call the next day and ask if it would be okay to come home. The trigger was how to spend my precious leisure time.
I don’t keep a journal but, looking back at previous blog posts, it seems overwhelm and/or pushing myself too hard have been themes for at least 4 years. My family would probably tell you it’s far longer.
So, instead of making a vague new year’s resolution like go easy on myself, I’m making a public, year-long commitment to seek out serenity. That means I’ll be experimenting with 26 different ways to glide more, flap less, slow down, and enjoy smelling the roses. I’d love for you to join me: sign up for Serenity Project updates here and watch for more information between now and New Year’s Eve.