I like closure and these last 24-months refuse to go away.
I don’t like things being drawn out, I need them buttoned up and dealt with so I can move on. I attribute that to the loss of my brother, and what my parents describe as, my “high need for closure.”
Right now, my husband is at work and I’m at home with our two girls, dog, and cat. COVID-19 is currently working its way through the U.S. and so I’ve been working from home full-time and “teaching” the girls school. I will never say “I homeschooled the girls.” If this is what homeschool is, it would be outlawed.
The last time I wrote, it was in June, and my Grandpa Britton had just passed away. In the time since Grandpa died, I have learned so many lessons. I am a firm believer in talking things out and seeing how we can change our perspective so, I have been seeing a counselor. The last two years have been some of my hardest. I remember saying something about how she must think I was such a “hot mess.” She joked that if this was me in a hot mess, she’d like to see what I looked like normally. Given my “high need for closure,” she reminded me that a decent amount of life couldn’t be tied up in a bow. There will be loose ends (hello, Corona quarantine). So if you’re like me, hunkering down at home wondering when this quarantine-life will be over, here are some lessons I’ve learned in the last two-years.
What to do When Life Can’t Be Buttoned Up
(and you want it to be)
Once upon a time, I was told that I sighed a lot. My co-worker started to count who sighed more, me or my other co-worker. I’m not sure who won. That did cause me to realize that I don’t breathe very well when I’m stressed. There’s probably a reason “they” say that taking deep breaths helps stress.
Somewhere in my blog, I have a draft about my faith. I struggle with how to share it. I’m not trying to hide it, I’m proud of it, I hesitate because I don’t want people to write me off assuming they know the kind of Christian I am.
My faith is the only thing that has gotten me through these last 24-months. I can understand why some people may choose to give up when life is hard. My hardest moments are currently a tie between losing my brother and the current state of my heart. I suppose that’s fair because they are two different forms of grief. Prayer and spending time reading books by Christians that have been through what I have are the only things that have continued to give me hope. Well, those and my two daughters. Those two smiles can brighten any day, any time.
This is a tough one for me. I can grant grace to everyone else but me. My counselor and friends have said I grant too much grace to others. Turn that on me though and there is no room to move.
Last week I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom trying to field client calls, internal Slack messages, client emails, proposals, and second-grade math, grammar, cursive, and Bible lessons. I was taking deep breaths and realized that there was no way I could do all of the work and all of the school expected in one day let alone cook, sleep, and take a shower. Oh, and my husband works from 3 pm-12 am so he can only help so much. I had to step back, take a deep breath, gulp, and give myself a huge dose of grace. Once I did that, I could think about all of the needs in smaller pieces and make a plan. Oh, and that sentence was easy to write but hard to practice.
Whenever I feel like I’m about to tip over due to the weight on my shoulders or my unrealistic to-do list I think back. There have been so many times that my moment felt so much bigger than it does now and the growth I experienced was worth it. Also, I’m giving God a huge nod here because he came through every time whether I gave him credit or not. There were times I was living abroad on a mission opportunity and didn’t have money to continue. I was supposed to have raised the money before I went and I didn’t get enough. Every time someone gave me money that let me get a few more months under my belt. I could admit once was a coincidence but it happened three times.
Writing gets it out of my head and helps me feel like I’ve “dealt with it.” I received the Bibles of my grandparents and reading their notes in the margins has been such a cool experience. Also, it’s really embarrassing when you read your journals from high school…college…okay, even my 20’s. (When my kids find this box someday I’m pretty sure they will be mortified while laughing harder than they have in a while.)
Seriously so hard while everyone is home, right?! I recently had a few unexpected hours to sit and watch something on Netflix. I was knee-deep in “Schitt’s Creek” when I realized how great I felt and how long it had been since I’d laughed.
When I’m about to get on the phone with a client I smile. A smile can be heard in your voice on the other side of the phone. I’m not entirely sure how but it does. When I’m feeling down or frustrated I make myself smile. Most of the time it works until I can deal with my feelings.
This might be tricky if you don’t have a tiny creature running around your house in the shape of a kid or pet (they are basically the same some days, no offense to my daughters…or pets). My youngest daughter has been asking me to play dolls with her a lot lately. I found myself hesitating, I never wanted to play Barbies with my mom. I was too embarrassed. I put that aside and went and played Barbies. We laughed and had a great time. Playing makes things a little lighter with a good dose of perspective and puts space between me and the next news article.
I have worn out every Apple music playlist I’ve discovered or created, burned out on podcasts, and have defaulted to audiobooks. My work projects don’t allow my brain to think and listen so I often listen at night or in the car. I love reading but if I’m tired I’m liable to fall asleep with a book. If audiobooks aren’t your thing, try some podcasts or new playlists. Those used to work for me and I’m sure they will again soon.
That’s right. I said it. Sometimes that’s what you have to do in order to feel better. Just don’t wallow in it, that’s not healthy either.
At the end of the day, it’s really what works best for you, right? What works for others won’t work for me. What works for you? Maybe I’ll find something new!