Earlier this year I wrote about how life and “progress” can feel very slow sometimes. I’ve been thinking about that and also reflecting on the book, Ordinary, I read in preparation for my first child. Yes, lot’s of reflecting, as usual. (Have I mentioned I’m pregnant with #2 and he’s coming any time in the next 2-ish weeks?)
Jack just turned 2 a couple weeks ago. Two! I’ve been a mom for two years! I haven’t learned this much about life and myself since University. My personal growth in the last five months alone is a bit shocking to me, and it’s all been slow plodding. So often I have felt like I’m not moving in any direction, but looking back at the last year, I certainly have grown.
Just like the thesis of Ordinary says, the normal patterns of the Christian life bring natural growth; you don’t have to strive and strain.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to do my dishes regularly. My house is generally speaking tidier more often. Of course, soon baby will come and throw a wrench in everything again. The pattern will continue, I’ll get the hang of things again – this time with a bigger load, and then baby 3 will arrive etc.
I guess what I’m saying is: I’m learning to chill out and not try to rush everything all the time because it turns out that I’m still growing. Except with less stress.
Have you ever noticed it’s pretty easy to take a perfectly good thing and turn it into an ugly thing? A bowl of chips can turn into eating the whole bag, a conversation with a friend can turn into gossip, being organized can turn into being obsessive and controlling etc.
I let this happen all the time.
Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been thinking about this blog and my bucket list and it’s become this ugly thing looming over my head. I think things like:
- When will you get it together, Jess, and workout more?
- When will you stop stressing over your baby?
- If you don’t figure these things out then say goodbye to doing anything with your life.
These are the kind of things that are happening deep in the back of my mind. I try to tell them off:
- I just had a baby! (Four months ago, get it together, woman!)
- I will never stop stressing over my kids, it’s what mothers do! (Are you sure it’s all mothers? Can’t you be better than them?)
- I don’t need to “do anything with my life”! I still have value even if I don’t “do anything”. (Sure keep telling yourself that. It’s just an excuse for being lazy.)
It’s weird even writing these things out because I know they’re crazy. This blog and these goals were never supposed to turn ugly. They were supposed to add to my life: add challenge, fun, satisfaction, adventure (and bragging rights?). I think it’s that last part that made things go sour. Somewhere I developed a drive to show people I can do these things. When I admit it – like that one ugly response revealed in #2 – I want to be “better” than other people and on some level I think I am. Doing hard things validates this in me.
The last few years I have noticed a frightening trend: I’m not better (surprise, surprise) and I actually give up on hard things pretty easily.
But really, I’m regular. I’m plain-Jane-vanilla-regular and I need to get it through my thick skull that it’s not a bad thing. I’m ordinary and trying to do ridiculous things to try to be different or prove something isn’t going to solve any problems I have but only make more.
So right now I’m going to keep trying to do my little goals:
- Be more ok with letting non-relatives watch Jack
- Get my hair cut
- Go to the dentist
- Try to care less what people think about me
- Keep going to the gym
And maybe that means I’ll be able to do some of the other bigger things on my list some day. And maybe not. But I refuse to let this stuff define my happiness even if I really really want them. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we hope or want them to and that’s ok.
Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to chill the frig out.