In my last post I talked about the concept of choosing One Word for the year. Only I haven’t told you yet what my word is.
It’s kind of funny how many words are needed to explain just One Word.
Let me try.
Just before Christmas, I did something a good blogger is never supposed to do.
I disappeared. Without warning. For quite a long time. Five weeks, to be exact.
So where did I go? Well, among other places, here:
Aaaaaand here. Pretty nice view, huh?
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d read a book (and I love to read more than anything else.) My marriage was suffering. I struggled with feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I stayed up later and later, trying to get everything done, and still couldn’t get through it all. I felt like I was letting everyone down, but the only thing that could “give” was time for sleep. I was living exhausted.
In the middle of all this, we moved house. You know what that’s like. My whole life felt chaotic. But meanwhile, the blog was really starting to take off. New opportunities, more traffic, more success, if only I could just keep those plates spinning and do more.
More. Always more.
Of course, it was not sustainable. At gut-level, I knew this. But when you’re on a trajectory, it’s so hard to change course. Life hurtles faster, you gain more and more momentum, and how do you pull back from that? I’ve spent so much time and energy building something here; I’m so invested. I wanted the growth, the momentum. It was killing me, but wasn’t this what I’d always dreamed of?
It took a wake-up call from my marriage to realise that, no. That is not what I wanted. That’s not what God called me to, here – growth at the expense of everything else: self, sanity and husband included.
Even so, when I disappeared, it wasn’t by choice – at least, not at first. The thing is, we went away on a family holiday to Tasmania for a month. And my husband, quite rightly, put his foot down and said “no” to blogging.
It weighed on me, my absence. It was like this magnetic pull. I worried about what people would think. How my stats would plummet. Whether I’d ever recover momentum. I’d always intended to have posts pre-scheduled before we left, but with the house move, the rush of decorating clients, the blogging deadlines, I just didn’t get there. Leaving a silence like that, an empty space, felt weirdly off-balancing.
And yet, slowly, I learned to let go. And in the process I gained perspective.
I would hope people will say this: She lived well. She loved her husband and her kids and her friends. She put God first and she had an impact in this world.
The last can only ever flow from the first. I had it all the wrong way around.
So what have I been doing the past five weeks that I haven’t been blogging?
I read a book a week – inhaled the stories like someone coming up for air.
I had long indulgent baths looking out over the bay.
I watched the flames flickering in the fireplace and thought about nothing at all.
I went on long hikes that left my muscles aching and my spirit full.
I reconnected with my husband, the wonderful man I’m blessed to have been married to for fourteen years.
I visited windswept playgrounds to watch my kids climb and run and laugh.
I tasted delicious and unusual new foods, like a tofu taco with mint and cabbage salad, pickled cucumber and cashew ginger aioli.
I spent long minutes holding the warm weight of my daughter and stroking her silky curls.
|Allegra at 2 – nickname “Diva”.
I laughed and confided with dear soul-friends.
I tickled and tackled and snuggled with my boys.
I ate too many cheese platters and drank too much good coffee and wine.
I visited new places and learned more about this beautiful country I call home.
I ate squashed sandwiches from a backpack on soaring, wind-swept cliffs.
I watched my children giggle with their grandparents.
I wept at a memorial site.
I listened to live music and felt the beat through my feet.
I made pizzas with friends and ate them hot and crisp from the pizza oven they built themselves.
I watched yachts sail safe into harbour.
I cuddled babies and saw all the potential of a life yet to be lived in their enormous blue eyes.
|I totally did not pose my children in this awesomely cheesy fashion, FYI.
They just did it all on their own. Synchronised stair sleeping. It’s the latest thing.
So what’s my word for 2015? You’ve probably already guessed.
The thing is, I plan to be here for the long term. I don’t want to flare bright and burn out in my first or second year.
So maybe that means my blogging schedule will look different from most. Maybe I won’t be able to blog three times a week like I’d planned. Maybe… gasp… some weeks I won’t be able to blog at all. I mean, good grief – take last week for example! This post was written a week ago, and I ran into some irritating technical problems that kept me up all hours and prevented me from posting any sooner.
But the world kept turning and today my firstborn started Grade One and tomorrow my second son will start Prep, and note to self, what’s more important – really?
All that to say, if you’re the sort of reader who likes to check in regularly and see what’s new, I encourage you to subscribe by email, so my posts come straight to you at their own unique pace. (Plus you’ll get my free e-book that has been getting heartfelt feedback from women all over the world – you can read more about it here. What’s not to love?)
It’s not that I’ve lost my passion for what I’m doing, or that I’ve run out of ideas and inspiration. Quite the opposite – this feels a little like gently applying the handbrake while hurtling down the highway at 100 km an hour. I’m more fired up and excited about this blog than ever. My brain is constantly bursting with creative ideas, new projects, fresh topics. Just this morning I sat down and wrote a list of fifteen new posts I’m dying to write. I have far more content than I have time to blog about it. My greatest frustration right now is time; time to make it all happen.
One day when the kids are all in school I’d love to work from home full-time doing this, but in the meantime, I’m not going to wish my life away. My main role right now is as a mother and wife, and I’m committed to giving my husband and kids the best of me. I’m not going to offer them the scraps of my time and attention. And if we can work out some sort of universe-defying balance so that everyone’s needs are met and I can simultaneously thrive in this creative business venture… well, that will be awesome too.
My goal is to thrive, so rest easy, I do have some universe-defying plans in place. 😉 Plus I have some awesome new opportunities coming up this year that I CANNOT wait to share with you!
What I do know is that I’m going to continue to do my absolute best here, without sacrificing the things that matter. I’m going to guard my marriage and protect the margin that I need to stay sane and healthy. I’m going to say “no” to stuff, even some really good stuff.
And even if that means I don’t grow this blog quite as quickly as I would have liked… even if it means taking a deep breath and releasing my perfectionist expectations of myself… I know it’s all going to turn out okay.
Here’s to balance.
Let’s chat: Have you ever struggled to find balance in your life? Do you have a word for this year?