Hacking my Excuses and Finding Kindness

smartphoneI have always found that there is a major let down after the Christmas holidays. All the energy and excitement and anticipation of events, celebrations, guests, meals, and emotions suddenly end with thanks and goodbyes, quiet houses and streets and three months until Spring.

Typically, I love January as it symbolizes a fresh start, and a clean break from the over-indulgence and excess of the holidays. I spend a lot of time planning and goal setting in December of each year, so that January 1, I can hit the ground running. I am ready to achieve! I’ve got big goals and little goals, intentions and points of focus.

But, here we are, ten days into January and I lack the discipline and motivation to do much of anything. I’m pretty much a lump.

Yesterday, was an emotional free-for-all, I wasted an entire day of my precious life playing taxi-driver, sitting in an office all by myself with my eyes glued to some form of electronics. There are not enough hates in the world for the way a day wasted on the internet makes me feel. 

What the hell is wrong with me?
Where is my motivation and drive to achieve?
What are my excuses?

1) People in need of my time and attention. 

I always believed that the older my kids got, the less they’d ‘need’ me. Not so. This has been one of the greatest delusions of motherhood for me: that my ‘hard’ work would be done with diapers and ear infections and separation anxiety.

My children are 12, 15, 21 and 22 and I feel that more is required of me as a mother. They’re busy and social, and bored and dramatic. They’re emotional and needy one minute and then giddy and ridiculous the next. I adore them, but between meals and commitments and friendship drama and periods – I’m often on high alert, mentally, as well as physically.

We’ve had house guests and company and I’ve cooked and cleaned and prepared and cleaned and done laundry. I don’t want to alarm anyone but I begin longing for my bed the minute I walk through the door of my house. Escapism. I think so.

Would I want it any other way? Would I rather they didn’t ask for help or constantly clamour for hugs? What would I do if they did everything in their power to avoid me, felt like they couldn’t talk to me, or didn’t want to see me? Four of the greatest gifts of my life are the people I call my son and daughters. How lucky am I to have the privilege to serve them and love them.

Maybe when I’m old, they’ll care for me the way I care for them now.

2) Cold weather and a shit load of snow. 

I hate when people complain about the weather; we live in a place where we have cold and snowy weather for almost 6 full months of the year. But, deep-freeze temperatures make it extra hard to get excited for walking with my dog. Every trip to the store requires emergency gear and sufficient travel time (sarcasm).

Dark mornings and dark afternoons don’t help. January and February are tough months to stay positive. They are the bleak months for Canadians – dark and cold – and if you’re not in the market for a sunny week’s vacation somewhere sandy and hot, it truly is a time for quiet hibernation. There’s no fighting nature.

So, maybe that’s it. Maybe the cold weather and snow is my call to lay low, sleep it off and stay still.

I’m not saying ‘forget the goals and drown January in a bag of Cheetos.’ More like: instead of ramming ahead, forcing and pushing and being impatient with nature – and myself – maybe the cold weather is my cue to feed, soothe, sleep, restore, read, snuggle and be quiet.

3) Time / not enough hours in the day.

This one is just plain stupid and makes me mad that it’s an excuse. I wasted at least 8 hours of my life yesterday on Juice Splash and Facebook articles, click-click-clicking links until my eyes were dry and I felt drained of my life force.

I chose poorly. I wasted my own time. I need a social-fucking-media intervention, and I mean STAT. (THIS is a WHOLE other blog post.)

Yes, I’m driving people around and kids have been sick, and there are dentist appointments and doctor appointments and basketball games. And yes, I’m cooking and cleaning and doing laundry (and did squeeze in two workouts this week) – but ‘lack of time’ is only an excuse on this list because I carry my iPhone with me everywhere I go.

*Revision to 2015 Goals* I will smash my iPhone on the cement and go back to a flip phone when my contract is up in March. This way, I will not be able to open my Facebook at every red light, I will only allow me to text and make calls. I will no longer go into a zombie trance where before I know it, I’ve lost 3 hours of my day. Time for a serious smart phone and internet detox.

Those are my big three.

One I wouldn’t change.
One I can’t change.
One I want to change – for my own sanity.

One of my goals for 2015 was to be kinder to myself.

It is not kind behaviour to beat the shit out of oneself for needing sleep, wanting a break, feeling overwhelmed, and despising teenage friendship drama. Gorging on peanut butter ice cream, tator tots, crackers with butter and chokecherry jam is also not kind behaviour.

Kim, there is a fine line between holding yourself accountable and riding yourself like a burro and using a whip as motivation. It’s important to know when excuses prevent you from moving forward. It’s also important to remember that sometimes life calls you to refocus and remain flexible.

Kindness today is less resentment for the choices you’ve made and softening your expectations.

Start again. Choose new. Keep going.
Let go of the excuses and take the next step.

Which for me, today, involves snowshoes.
Gotta love January in Canada.


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