Forgiving Yourself

I’m trying to stay on top of this blogging thing.

Blogging is something I’ve always wanted to do. Ever since the high school Xanga days before Facebook. I love having an outlet โ€” a place to bounce around some creative energy, and collect my thoughts and experiences. When I don’t make time to write, I am a less happy person. Writing is how I live and think and process. Writing is who I am.

But I am also a fan of doing things well, and I would rather not do something at all than do it poorly.

I have a long list of topics I’ve been wanting to write about, but haven’t found the time to really flesh them out. Writing is hard work, and I like to work through a couple drafts of something before I’m ready for other eyes to see it. Throwing this post together at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday makes me a bit nervous. But, being a writer means being exposed, and if I want to have a successful blog, then I’m going to have to post more often โ€” meaning sometimes I won’t be publishing my best work.

I feel torn about this, but I guess that’s why it’s a process.

I keep putting this blog on the back burner, and it’s stressing me out, because I want it to be more.ย But between work, and the million other things going on in my life right now, I’m not sure how else to prioritize.

I signed up for a half-marathon in October, and have not been training like I should. After this week, I really can’t mess around or I won’t be ready for it. I’m in three weddings this fall, which is awesome, and wonderful, and lovely, but also so much time and money. I love weddings. LOVE. But I’m having a hard time finding any open weekends between now and Christmas. (Reserve your time with me now!)

Our new duplex still needs a lot of work. Stevoid seems to think it’s fine, of course, but the white walls and cluttered corners areย stressing me out. There’s so much I want to do with the place to make it feel like home. But when? And how? I’m really not very crafty, but I want to try.

I keep beating myself up for all of this. For not blogging. For my never-ending to do-list. For the white walls and the un-run miles, and the phone calls to friends I haven’t made. I’m starting to feel very exhausted.

There are only so many hours in the day. Only so many days in the week. And when the weekend comes all I want to do is sleep. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you just have to forgive yourself. Sometimes you have to go to bed and worry about the rest tomorrow. Sometimes you have to remember that you’re 24. If you haven’t reached a substantial amount of life goals by the time you’re 48, maybe you should panic then?

Chilling out is not something I’m super good at, but I think I’m getting better. And laying awake at night worrying about when I’m going to blog next is no way to live. I’ll blog when I can, and that’s all I can do. No point in beating myself up over it.

And now it’s time for bed.

Killer Stress

I used to take pride in my stress level.

I used to believe that my long, extravagant to-do lists and full schedule of extracurriculars were signs of success, and the fact that I could barely sleep at night and felt on edge during the day were simply signs that I cared. That I wanted everything I did to be perfect.

This is how I lived for most of my college years, especially when I started to get heavily involved with the student newspaper. I put on a lot of weight, snapped at the people I loved, and had professors and co-workers seriously questioning my ability to handle my anxiety (for real).

From iStockphoto

It wasn’t until a fellow editor and friend sent me home early from the newsroom one day (to de-stress, essentially) that I realized my stress was all consuming, and instead of helping me perfect what I did, my inability to manage it was negatively affecting my work and my relationships.

I’ve learned to relax a little since then, to not take on projects and jobs unless I have the time (and it’s something I truly want to do, not something I feel obligated to do). I’ve learned that exercising and eating right are just as important as completing assignments on deadline and worth carving out time for in my day. But mostly I have learned that while achieving goals is fulfilling, no measure of success is more important than my health or spending time with the people I love. (Cheesy, but true).

I still worry about small things, that I admit probably don’t matter in the long run. I still like to be prepared and organized, and can’t function well without my planner, but I don’t lose sleep over the fact that a source hasn’t called me back or that I haven’t completed every single task I wanted to do that day. I understand now that if one thing falls through, everything else will (likely) still be OKAY. But it took me a while, and a lot of self reflection to get here.

A few weeks ago I saw a documentary from National Geographic called Killer Stress, and I was immediately intrigued. The film looks at stress in other species and compares it to human stress. According to the film, stress used to be a reaction to life threatening situations, but today most Americans live in a constant state of stress. A human coping mechanism has now become a switch we can’t turn off.

Continue reading “Killer Stress”