Since I started writing (long before actually starting this little blog) I feel like I’ve been on edge and my emotions have been on high alert. For
weeks months I haven’t been able to shake this feeling that I’m constantly being pulled in opposing directions. Lately I’ve been blaming it on the blog but I know it’s more than that. Last week I recalled a part of The Happiness Project where the author described a similar feeling. I searched the bookcase and my desk looking for the slim blue book before realizing I donated it, surely assuming I would never need it again. I quickly downloaded the book and swiped through pages until I found the passage I was thinking of.
It was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously— and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition.
I decided to make a list of my personal paradoxes that are wearing me down…
I want to be Super Mom and have all aspects of life on point but I want to lay in bed all day and only worry about eating cake.
I want to push myself to have a career I’m proud of but I take comfort in the security of my current position.
I want more hours in the day to tackle the never ending to-do list. I want more hours at night to get more sleep.
I want to dedicate time to my physical health but I don’t want to sacrifice my time with Hannah or my evening routine preparing for the next day.
I want to spend more time with friends and family. I want to spend more time alone.
I want Hannah to be given extra attention. I want her to be treated like any other child.
I want to be better but I’m afraid to leave my cocoon of mediocrity.
No wonder I’m always on edge, half of me wants to strive and half of me wants to settle. I have dreams of achievements, being a game-changing advocate for Hannah, being a better role model for her but I’m too tired, too scared, too complacent to change my strategy.
The last few weeks have been especially stressful with multiple doctor appointments, Hannah starting daycare, managing my back pain, going out of town for a wedding, and being unusually busy at work. All of the internal and external pressures finally made me crack on Wednesday. For the first time in over three years I cried at work because of work (there were plenty of tears shed for personal reasons). It took one obnoxious comment from a coworker (made behind my back, of course) to finally push me over that edge. I tried to hold back but the tears busted through.
As much as I hate crying in public (ugly crier) it felt so good to release those pent up emotions. With my new-found awareness and clear head I feel like I can tackle these paradoxes and try to find a better balance.