Sometimes I Wish my Best was Better
Just do your best
It’s one of the grand motto’s of childhood.
I’m a mom now and I sell it to my own daughter.
But what about those days when you do your best and it’s just not what you hoped it would be?
I’m talking about writing, for myself today, but it could just as easily refer to anything you’re trying to do or anything you want to do or anything you’re required to do.
Today, gung-ho and ready to rock, I met with many obstacles to progress. None of them are Earth-shattering tragedies. All of them are just the minutiae of life.
* My husband went back to work for a two week hitch. We’re grateful for his continued employment, especially given the current economic climate in his employment sector. It’s harder to get stuff done without him around (not to mention the fact that we all miss him a lot).
*Our son is a drooly, grumpy, non-sleeper these past few days. Not to mention that it takes a lot of time and energy to care for a three-month-old regardless of his teething situation.
*Our daughter is a busy little bee, with three social activities throughout the week on top of her busy second-grade schedule. There are play dates and homework and field trips.
Just now, I walked past a mirror in pursuit of lip gloss and realized that I have a substantial amount of dried baby puke down the back of my cardigan. How long has it been there? Who knows?
In short, I’m a wife and mom. I used to be a single mom with two jobs, so I can empathize with a few different angles of this issue. Life is busy. Life sometimes looks like it’s trying to keep us from following our calling.
I know I’m not the only one out there running on not enough sleep and too much to do. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog and it seems like I have a lot of these kind of days, it’s because I do. As an adult of the species, it seems kind of inevitable. If you’ve managed to dodge out on fulfilling obligations rather than doing the fun stuff you don’t want to do, then my hat is off to you.
I think that most of us tend to live in the middle of not having time to do the stuff we want to do or worse still, doing the fun shit and discovering that sometimes it’s still super fucking hard.
We live in a world (or maybe I live in a world) where we’re constantly striving in the direction of our dreams and goals. Obstacles arise and sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that once we’re past the obstacle, we’ll get to practice our art (get in shape, get a graduate degree, run a marathon, compose a symphony, learn to cook Thai food) and that when that someday comes, every day will be unicorns pooping butterflies.
All that theme of thinking does is keep us from ever doing what we want. When we realize that there will be no right time to do any of it, it allows us to shut the fuck up and do it, rather than just waxing poetic about it.
The truth that we have to face about the actual doing of it, however, is that it’s not about unicorns pooping butterflies every day. Sometimes it’s just babies pooping poop.
The best I could do today was to show up in the in-between moments and put fingers to keyboard.
I sat down to work on the book I’m writing this morning and was not at all pleased by what came out of my brain, through my fingers, onto the screen. Rather than succumbing to frustration, I took a break and did a little MMA workout on P90X3. It helped, as did my new neon coloured Reebox. I felt a bit better. I made a green juice and took all my supplements. It helped a bit too.
I sat down to continue writing and my son woke up from his nap, about an hour early. It’s easy for me to be impatient when stuff like that happens. Not with him so much as with the circumstances that keep me from doing the things I want to do the second I want to do them.
The best I could do was to take a deep breath and then enjoy nursing him for forty five minutes. He won’t always need me so much.
He’s back down for a sequel nap now, my shoulder soaked through with his drool, and my goal is to crank this column out and sit back down to my book.
Sometimes, the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is just to accept where we’re at and what exists in our lives. Resisting where we’re at creates more internal discord. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got discord aplenty.
So, if I may offer some unsolicited advice when it comes to your best underwhelming your expectations (from someone who routinely neglects to take her own advice):
*Show up in your life. Accept that babies will cry and children will need to be chauffeured and meals require preparation. In fact, try to enjoy the responsibilities and obligations, because they are the stuff of life. They are the moments and people we write about when they’re grown and gone. The memories we paint over and over, trying to get it exactly the way it was when we were wishing it were otherwise.
*If there’s undone stuff of life hanging over your head, deal with it. I don’t know about you, but the things I’m putting off are never as onerous as I think they’re going to be. Once they’re dealt with, you free up the mental energy that the weight of them was occupying. Getting ‘er done is a highly productive spiritual and creative experience. Every religion has some version of this. The Yogis call it Karma Yoga. Dedicating your work to Life.
* Lower your expectations but don’t get complacent to the point of not showing up. Don’t judge what arises. Celebrate showing up.
My sweet little boy is awake again. We went through a lot while we waited for him to join our family. There’s no way I’m going to let writing anything get in the way of my enjoyment of this precious, short time.
But you best believe my ass will be right back in front of my laptop next nap time.
All my best,