Thursday, May 14, 2015

Speed of Life

I know I have been banging on about this a lot lately.  And I'm sorry for repeating myself.  I really am.  But.  (You knew that was coming, right?)  But.  I just cannot get over the speed at which life is travelling of late.

This year!  Where has it gone?  Almost June already, the middle of the year.  Life is hurtling along and I really feel like I cannot keep up.

I keep trying to instil some order, some routine in the hope that this will make me feel like I have a handle on things but, nope.  Just not happening.  There is no rhythm this year.

Usually life takes on it's own steady beat, by about the middle of the first school term the family gets into a little cadence that we can travel down the road together with.

But not this year.  There is no rhythm this year.

And because I am struggling to keep up I keep trying to slow things down.  I'm meditating daily (Bliss!).  I'm shutting down my devices every weekend (Bliss! Bliss!).  I'm being mindful of not over-committing to things - I've said no to lots of things and have promised myself in June I am hibernating (Bliss! Bliss! Bliss!).

But things just keep on coming.  For every outing or event I say no to something comes up to which I feel I must say yes.  For every weekend I spend disconnected there's set of things I feel I didn't get done, to catch up on.  And for every thought I observe and deliquesce in meditation another thousand seem to be waiting at the gates to be let in.

I know these techniques are helping.  I just wish life would slow down.

And then I question.  Why do I feel this way?  It makes me kinda sad.  Because when I look at my life logically this is probably one of the most relaxed periods I will ever experience in my life.  One kid at school, one at home, not in paid employment.  Life is cruisey.

And yet I don't feel cruisey.  I have a to do list so long that the other day I sat down and broke it down into sub-sections (colour coded no less!).

I felt SO much better once I had done this, because instead of having all this stuff rattling around in my head it was out there, on paper.  Phew!  What a relief.

Also it meant I could look logically at what I wanted and needed to achieve, and I could prioritise.  There were things I was feeling stressed about, things that were sort of hanging over my head that I felt I needed to be doing that actually, I could easily put off until later in the year.

And then there was the stuff that needed to get done.  This is the stuff causing me the trouble.  I'm trying to be methodical, I'm trying really hard to get some things with big fat ticks next to them: DONE!  So I can feel I've achieved something.

But time has a way of passing, slipping through my fingers without me even knowing it.  "Where did the day go?!" I hear myself say on an all too regular basis.  I feel like I get to the end of the day and all the things on my list are still there, taunting me, tickless.

I perhaps wouldn't mind this so much if I had spent the day at the spa being swaddled like a giant baby while someone gave me a head massage and played soothing music - ahhhhh - but unfortunately I am not spending my days like this.

I think some of my ill-ease has to do with a need to reassess my expectations.

At the beginning of the year I was calculating how many child free hours I would have with my daughter in school and my son in kinder two days a week this year.  I just thought I would have ALL     THIS     TIME.

This imaginary time stretched out before me like a sandy beach before the sea.  I saw myself spending days writing, meditating, doing yoga, running, even driving down the coast.

Ha Ha Ha Hahahahahahahaha!  Ohhh.  That's funny.

Because I have done precisely none of those things.  Oh well a little bit of writing, running some, and the meditating, of course.  But none of them in the way I thought I'd be doing it.  I thought I'd have a routine.  I thought Mondays would be my writing day, where the hours would stretch before me, not one commitment but to fill the blank page.  Tuesdays were going to be my doing days where I did some of the things I've been meaning or wanting to do - like bake bread.

But the reality of my child free hours is far different to that.

The reality is that I still have to get up and get the kids out the door.  I still have to drop them off and settle them in and for my son, who is not completely loving kinder right now that can mean a gazillionty stories and 79 cuddles before heading off.  Some days I'm not getting home much before 11am and all I've done is dropped off the kids.

But, you know you get home and tidy up, do some stuff like washing and dishes, change the sheets maybe, vacuum the floor, have something to eat and the clock is nudging 2pm.

I leave the house at 2:30 to get my son from kinder before the school run.  You see how it goes.

Then there are days I spend doing kinder duty, and school reading and excursions.  All good stuff that as a stay at home Mum I'm happy to prioritise doing.  It's a big part of the reason I don't work.

But come on.  It's May and I am finally realising that I won't be jumping in the car after school drop off and heading down the coast, my hair blowing in the wind any time soon.

I can barely get it together to get to the supermarket.  Which is not exactly where I saw myself spending my child free days.

Look.  I'm sorry if this post is all a bit whiney and somewhat of a downer.  It's just where my head is at right now.  And I know.  First world problems, right?

But also.  I do have to look at it from within the context of my own life.  I know that things could be worse, so much worse.  And that's kind of the point.

Life is so good for me right now, my kids are happy and healthy.  I am happy and healthy.  Life is uncomplicated and good.

So I do have a responsibility to question why I feel so stressed, about things that I needn't really feel stressed about.

Is it me?  Do I have some sort of anxiety issue that I need to address?

Or is it the world at large?  Are things just getting out of control fast right now and I'm fighting against a tide much greater than myself?

The truth is probably somewhere in between.

I feel like there is something deeper going on with me, since I can see the perspective from which I should just be able to relax into my life and be happy within it, without feeling this weight of burden, this need to constantly be 'doing'.

But I also feel that what feeds into my feelings of stress and anxiety is that all around me are people who are genuinely stressed about stuff, be it the work life juggle, or just that they are busy, busy people who have a lot to get done.  Life around me is moving at a frenetic pace.

And yet in a cruel and ironic twist, the more I try to slow things down, the more burdened I seem to feel.

I am oh so aware of spending quality time with my son this year - his last year at home before school - that many a day I spend achieving nothing and just playing with him at home or at the park.  This is awesome and important and I know that.

But it can also lead to a slightly stressy feeling when I realise I've spent two and half hours playing spies but nothing else got done and now I need to go and get my other kid from school.

You know what I mean?

The other day I had this text message exchange with a friend:

Sigh.  Some days nothing gets done.  Nup.

Here's to embracing the nupness.  To slowing things down.  Really slowing them down - which means letting go of the stress of feeling like I didn't get stuff done.  (But sheesh - sometimes, somehow some things do actually need to get done, am I right?).

I've got a long way to go with this one.  If only the world would slow down for long enough to let me catch up.

But hey, at least I got this blog post done.  And that's one thing I can cross off my to do list!

How's your to do list at the moment?  Are you getting through it?

Top Image Licensed Under Creative Commons.


  1. Nupness. Love that.
    It's a massive shift I think, from happily being slotted into the signposts of 'doing' stuff - I work here, I produce this, I achieved that this morning... so driven by productivity, but life is more than look what I did isn't it? We hang SO MUCH on producing... that's definitely worth questioning.
    I wish I had a magic answer for you but I don't. I think the questioning of it is awesome, even if it is uncomfortable.
    More nupness for all.

    1. Love this comment so much. And yes, I think it is important to question these things, to stretch out these feelings like dough and see what they are made of. That way we can come to understand our feelings and ourselves better and hopefully find some balance there. x

  2. Flip, I can totally relate to this and one of mine has left home!! The other day my husband and I were talking how even 10 years ago life seemed less complicated. Now it's, as you say, hurtling along at breakneck speed. Slowing down is good. So good. Thanks for sharing, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Xx

    1. Oh gosh - it's SO nice to know I'M not alone. Sometimes I feel like I'm hanging out here in crazy town all by myself! Seriously though - a LOT of people seem to be struggling with this this year. I think somethings up with the moon or something greater than us. Sigh. x

  3. You know what you need? A bad haircut. Time slooows riiiight dooown when you're waiting to grow out a bad haircut. Or maybe break a bone. Just a small one, a finger maybe. You will be wishing the days away before you know it! LOL.
    No. It's not just you. It's the same for all of us. We all think we will have extra time with children out of the house, but we don't factor in that we are doing tons of stuff WHILE the kids are at home and all that stuff still needs to get done when they are not there. Like you friend said - embrace the 'nupness'!

    1. Hahahahaha! Best comment ever! You are right SO many people are feeling like this at the moment. That's what makes me feel like it's not just me, there's something about the pace of life that is a little bit nutty at the moment. And yes, my friend is very wise! x

  4. This sounds like my life. I always feel like I'm rushing. Even colour coding doesn't seem to help. Think I'll embrace nupness instead

  5. I am hearing you big time Kate ! I too cannot believe that we are nearly at the mid year point. As for the "to do" list - it never, ever, ever ends. We get told to slow down, live our best life, de clutter, socialise with friends, read great books, see wonderful movies, plant edible gardens, see the world, learn to crochet, paint...and then there's those little things called work and families. Aaaaahhhh !!! How are we meant to do it all ? I guess the point is, we can't and have to prioritise what is most important. (And as for your colour coded lists, I have coloured coded notebooks so I can group together like minded list items !!!!!). I will try my best to embrace the nupness, at least one day a week - thanks for the timely reminder x

    1. I love this comment Ing. Love the idea of your colour coded notebooks - that's taking things to another level! And you are so right, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to Do All The Things! And yes, a lot of these things are pleasurable, enjoyable things we want to do. But sometimes I think it's worth asking ourselves if they genuinely make us happy or if they are just filling up our days and our diaries and rather just contributing to to a general feeling of overwhelm. Such interesting things to ponder. Thanks Ing. x

  6. This exact same thing happens to me Kate, I dreamt that hours of free time with Betsy at nursery would mean that I could get my shit together, tidy the house, make my garden look pretty, blog, crochet and basically be an all round winner!! I had "I'm every woman, it's all in me...." running on a loop in my head and everything. But nup. I get no shit done, I drop Betsy off, walk the dog, come home, wash the dishes, hang the washing out, hoover, sit down for a cup of tea and then it's time to pick her up again, this has been going on for weeks and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get any shit done, ever again. EVER! So happy to know that I'm not the only one (yet again I seem to be happy at my fellow blogger's pain, weird), I love this post, makes me feel so much less alone. Thank you, thank you love xxx

    1. Oh God! I love this comment for the same reason - makes me feel SO much better and like maybe I am not a complete nutter. Thank you so much. Phew. x

  7. I found it harder to get into any sort of good routine when my daughter started school - I felt like I was spending all my time running around dropping her off and picking her up and just as I would get used to it the holidays would come and change everything. This year my youngest is in childcare 2 times a week for about 4 hours each time and I had great plans for the free time, but like you found the reality to be different: there are days when I get lots of painting done while he is away, but it usually means I'm totally drained by the time I pick him up. I'm trying to find some sort of balance, while also feeling it is time to start earning some money and be more organized and do better at this motherhood-thing. I try to calm my mind by doing yoga, but my mind keeps on spinning through all the possibilities and opportunities. Anyway, I feel like you are describing my life. Best of luck to you.

    1. Well aren't we two peas in a pod! I relate to your comment so, so much. And while I sympathise with how are it is I am also very grateful for you sharing your experience here - it really helps me to know that others go through the exact same thing. I'm not alone! x