Letting Go

I had big plans for this year. This was going to be the year I figured it all out. I was going to get in shape. I was going to be my own boss. I was going to have that elusive work-life balance and look great doing it. This year, I was going to figure out how to do motherhood without being exhausted. I would become a centered, patient, and graceful force of nature.

Except I didn't.

Sometimes, it's hard to admit how very little we have control over. We make plans for the future, only to have them turned upside down. I haven't stepped on a scale in months. Mostly because I really don't want to know that number. It'll burrow into my brain like a nagging splinter and that's something I'm not signing up for right now.

My kids didn't go back to school. They're home and I'm home and we spend a lot of time together. I've quickly found that there are a lot of things I haven't retained from school, so we're all learning together. As I sit here, I wonder about some beliefs I've held that haven't turned out so healthy for me. Beliefs like if I can be anything as a woman, I should be everything and do it well. If I do everything well, I'll be satisfied as a person and things will go well for me.

Instead, all I got was exhaustion, a job I did not enjoy, and guilt for not being the ideal Mom.

I saw those other profiles on Instagram and Facebook that look picture perfect. How much do you want to bet the picture is all it is: a picture. Our lives are living and moving stories. A snapshot of one good moment does not define the whole movie. Sure, I'd love to have a fairy tale life, but that isn't real life.

So what then?

Well, turns out, embracing what I'm good at and letting go of what doesn't work has helped a lot. Think of it as setting up fences. I could go a few miles out, but it takes me too far from the barn where my family is. I could focus on having the perfect barn, but then I don't have time for the pastures. . It's just not possible to live a life without boundaries. We need them to protect what we cherish. We need them in order to focus our energy and efforts instead of being stretched way too thin in all directions.

So instead of a perfectly clean house, mine is mostly tidy. The laundry is never done, but there are always clean clothes. Dinner is available, I just don't have to be the one to cook it every night. I quit the job that was no longer a good fit for me and I'm finding a new schedule at home with the kids. There are many things I choose not to participate in, simply because my time is finite and I don't want every minute of every day scheduled without room to breathe. I'm taking small steps to improvements I want to see in my health, both mental and physical.

And it's harder than I thought it would be, but easier at the same time. For so long, my mind has been focused on what I'm not doing, I forgot to look at what I can do. I kept comparing my load to the load of those around me. That little voice in my head would tell me that if she could carry that load, I should be able to as well. The problem is I'm not "her", I'm me. The only person I should be comparing myself to is who I was yesterday. My life isn't meant to be anyone else's.

It's a hard mental shift. As simple as that sounds, it isn't. We live in culture that is constantly comparing and competing. We are made painfully aware of where our short comings are and how someone else is doing it better. It's a crazy train of thoughts that is hard to get off and just when you think that you might be getting the hang of it, it'll creep up on you again.

What would happen if we lived in contentment for ourselves and celebrated others? There's still room for personal growth and goals in contentment. There's joy in celebrating the success of others. If I'm beating myself up not being someone else is, I'm betraying who I am.

There is a freedom that comes when I let go of what I am not and focus on who I am. It gives me permission to not go run a 10K, because I truly hate running no matter how good it is for me. It gives me permission to not sit behind a desk, because I am the best version of myself in a barn. I have freedom to go for walks instead of going to cross-fit, drink wine at night and coffee in the morning even though it sounds cliche'. I get to do and be me. That kind of freedom gives me room to breathe and space to grow.

So what do you give yourself permission to let go of? What will that freedom give you the space to enjoy? Who were you yesterday and who do want to be tomorrow? What will you embrace and what will you leave for someone else to discover?

There's room for all of us here. None of us have to be everything for everyone. You may be awesome in areas I'm not. Good for you! I hope you go out and rock it! If I need help and you have the skills I need, I'm going to be calling and asking for some advise. Being content with who I am gives me room to celebrate who you are. Together, we can do amazing things!

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