Miranda: Letting go, looking up
During the past 15 months, this blog has grown into a beautiful community. Those of you who make yourself known on these “pages” mean quite a lot to me.
As our sisterhood developed, I created a steadfast structure: at least one post every weekday; a contest post every Wednesday; a bi-weekly Friday Breakfast interview; an off-week Friday Open House roundup. I committed to that structure and I met the commitment regardless of how difficult or inconvenient. That’s just my compulsive personality. I know that daily posts and regular features are key elements in any successful blog (and I would not hesitate to call our blog “successful”). How could I settle for less? Not my style.
I love the blog, so it rarely felt like work, unless I was scrabbling to post at 1:00 a.m., or in the weeks when the only bloggers posting were Cathy and I. But I rationalized that this blog’s content is not only dear to my heart, but relevant to my book. I can test ideas, observe what resonates — it all makes sense, right? Yes. Unless I’m blogging about writing my book without ever actually having the time to write it.
During the past year, but especially during the past three months, I wrote off a lot of stress in my life to having an infant along with four older kids, selling a house, buying a house, and moving. But now my infant is 10.5 months old and the real estate dramas are over. Life is settling down. Except that this huge weight on my shoulders has not lifted. There is still more to do than I can accomplish. My interest in pretending to be Superwoman is waning. And who am I kidding? I really CAN’T do it all, and I haven’t been doing it all. Two of my kids are having belated birthday parties this month because I couldn’t manage to plan their parties closer to the actual birthday dates. I missed an important deadline for a special form pertaining to my son’s college financial aid applications. I am frequently late picking someone up or dropping them off.
I have too much on my plate — and I’m the only one to blame. My eyes are bigger than my stomach. This Sunday I experienced an unusually high level of stress as I fretted over when I would get the bills paid and the accounts balanced, when I would find time for the latest round of college financial aid forms, how I would get all the pressing client work done, how I would corral help for folding the Mount Fuji of clean laundry in the hallway, how I would train for my upcoming road race, how I would create those party invitations and get them mail, how I would take care of a few important house projects. It’s all the usual stuff for me, but I no longer seem able to coast through it all on adrenaline and a couple of prayers.
As someone pointed out to me recently, accepting that you “can’t do it all” sometimes means letting go of something that you love. It’s painful. It may sound funny, but that idea was actually novel to me. Why would I let go of something I love? Why should I? But then I thought it through and realized that I really have cut out everything that doesn’t feed me in some way. The junk has already been excised, aside from a few minutes that I spend on Facebook now and then. I used to do the Boston Globe Magazine crossword without fail every Sunday morning (one of my favorite activities) and I haven’t done a single one in nearly a year. I’m too busy taking care of all of other things — and people — clamoring for my attention.
I do want to be able to do things like create hand-made party invitations and make pretzels with the kids. I want to be able to play with the children without struggling with anxiety about all the “stuff” I have to get done. Something has to go, at least for a little while.
You know where this is going, don’t you? I have to step away from the blog. I’ll still be here to moderate the flow of blog posts, and I will post when I feel so moved and have the bandwidth, but I will no longer fret about having at least one post every day. I will no longer be able to sustain the weekly creativity contest or the Breakfast interviews. This makes me sad, because I enjoy those things and I think they’re of value to many of you — but during the more intense weeks, I spend up to 12 hours in blog-related work and that is time that I have to reclaim. I may use that time to write, make something, hang out with the kids, or do nothing. All of those options are important.
I hope that our regular bloggers will continue to post here. Remember that cross-posting is always welcome — if you post something relevant at your own blog, we’d love to see it here too. This blog will now have a more organic, free-form nature. Who knows — maybe that will be even better than the structure that I created.
I welcome all of your feedback, as well as any extra effort you feel like tossing into the ring while I take a breather. I love you guys, and I have every confidence that our connections will perservere.