I am tired of living reactively to everything. I am sick of falling behind on my to-do’s, running late, squeezing things into one day because I didn’t do them when I should have done them, staying up too late and being tired the next day, and shoving everything into the basement storage, the junk drawer, or the garage because I didn’t want to figure out what to do with the stuff at the time. I am tired of emotionally reacting to my kid’s temper tantrums because I am trying to rush them to get ready for school or because I haven’t taken care of myself emotionally or spiritually and therefore react to them on an emotional tank running empty of patience and care. I am fed up with feeling distant with my husband because we have allowed kids, work and life to get between us and haven’t figured out how to connect when babysitters are scarce. I am tired and I have realized…it is mostly my fault.
As the new year quickly arrived and sped away, I began to think about what I want out of 2017. One of the main words that has been on repeat in my head, blinking on and off in the darkness with blazing bright lights, is: self-discipline. I suck at it. I have for most of my life. As a pregnant mother of two kids, wife, friend, blogger, counselor, volunteer, etc., I can definitely be organized; I mean I don’t think I would be able to function wearing all of those various hats if I wasn’t. But I am not really self-disciplined. I am great at writing lists, coming up with plans, setting things up, dreaming big, but I have trouble with the follow through. I allow my laziness or selfishness or stubbornness from preventing me from sticking to it and I make up a whole host of excuses as to why I don’t need to: “I’m pregnant, I had a rough week last week, I am more of the creative type – I don’t really do well with routines, I can do it tomorrow, etc.” I have never really related to the Type A personalities that bust their butts from dawn until dusk getting everything done and living, to me, a seemingly joyless life full of completely scheduled days, mundane tasks, and the dreaded waking-up-early-to-start-their-day – I mean, what?! Yuck.
However, I realize that I could use a little more of that in my life. I am a creative, fun-loving, adventure seeking dreamer that likes to work more off of my whims than a set schedule. That may have worked when I was single, but it just isn’t cutting it today. And so, my goal is to figure out how to be more self-disciplined and less reactive to life.
But, here’s the deal, I say this knowing that I am going to need to give myself grace. As a parent, things often do not go according to plan, so it’s important to have some flexibility. Also, I do not want to completely control everything and everyone in my life so that it fits in my neat little box of to-do’s. Lastly, I don’t want to become one of those people that just fills my life with tasks, lives without boundaries, and gives everything to everyone around them, saving nothing for themselves. Self-discipline is not an antithesis of self-care. They can work in harmony together.
Therefore, I begin my journey of 2017 seeking self-discipline with a splash of grace and a side of self-care. It has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start as the new year so graciously brought several bouts of illness and I have not had the energy or the motivation to begin my new life plan. But therein lies the side of self-care: identifying that there will be times I don’t or can’t stick to my plan because I need to take care of myself. And ultimately, that is ok, I will roll with the punches, not give up on my pursuit of self-discipline or feel guilty for not staying on schedule, and start again when I am back on my feet because…therein lies the grace.