Monday, May 21, 2012

Let's Get It Started

For several years, I have thought of myself as the type of person who has a hard time finishing things. I told myself that I go into projects excited, then when the newness wears off, so does the excitement, and then I have trouble finishing what I’ve started. But the older I get, and the more honest I am with myself, the more I realize that my biggest problem has nothing to do with finishing; actually, when I get started on something, I am pretty much bound and determined to see it through to completion.

No, my problem is with getting started in the first place. You see, I feel an enormous amount of excitement over new ideas and plans. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps I have mistaken this initial emotional high/excitement for “getting started.” I have a propensity to go over an idea in my head, dream big dreams, then get bored and want to move on to something else. Problem is, I haven’t actually started anything!

And actually, I think saying that I “get bored and want to move on” isn’t entirely honest. No, I’m not usually bored; I’m discouraged. I get all excited about an idea, start projecting way into the future, come up with grand plans– and then reality slaps me in the face. These ideas and plans will take money I don’t have, time I don’t have, abilities I don’t have, resources I don’t have. The excitement fades, the plan is shelved, I get discouraged, and I move on to something else.

This is part of the reason I struggle with getting started. The obstacles seem totally insurmountable. Even if I try to break a plan down into small, manageable steps, it usually doesn’t take too many steps until the huge obstacles pop right back up. I cannot magically produce money or time or resources. Combine that discouragement with my perfectionism and my all-or-nothing tendencies… and yeah, it’s really no surprise that my biggest struggle is with getting started on a plan. I get stuck at the point where I have to make the leap from dreaming to doing.

I’m not sure what the solution is here. I just know that I don’t want to keep dreaming and never doing. I am sick of just thinking and talking, but (for one reason or another) not acting.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Death and Life

I’ve been thinking about death recently. I’m only 28, so I more than likely have many years left to live. But what if I don’t? Young people die every day. Cancer, car accidents– these are not uncommon occurrences. I have cried many, many times lying in bed at night thinking the unthinkable; what if one day my young children are left motherless? Will they be okay? Will they be able to move forward? Will they remember me? And how will they remember me?

And then the thoughts of death turn to thoughts about life. Do I make the most of it? I don’t mean in the “every moment is an adventure” kind of way; obviously there are many mundane, common moments in everyday life. But overall, as a general pattern, am I living in the moment? Am I truly present with my children? Many times I am only partially present; I am physically there, but my mind is a million miles away, thinking about hopes and dreams, planning for the future. And of course there is nothing bad about hoping, dreaming, and planning; that’s not where I’m headed with this.

But I do think I could be more present in the moment more often than I am. I get preoccupied with whatever’s going on in my head at the time, and I have a propensity to drift into discontentment when comparing reality with my ideals,  and then it can be hard to pull myself back into the beauty of the present… listening to my 9 year old talk animatedly about his current interests, enjoying my 3 year old’s exuberance toward life, appreciating the wonder of a nursing baby.

Balance always seems to be the answer. I need balance in my life; I must find a way to dream and plan while also making the most of the everyday moments with my children. I want them to look back at their childhood and remember a mom who listened to them, who was patient and kind, who appreciated them for who they were and knew them well, who took time to read to them and take them places they’d enjoy, who loved them without condition or reserve. I don’t want them to ever wonder if they were important, appreciated, or loved– I want them to know they were. I want them to know they are.

That is the life I want to live. For the next fifty years, or for the next five– that is who I want to be.