When I left for Costa Rica mid January I was a big bundle of stress. I was suffering with insomnia and almost constant heart palpitations, living in a constant whirl of anxiety, adrenaline and pressure.
You see, since having my beautiful son and beginning my own unschooling journey, I have been giving myself permission to try so many new things. This is how I found my passion for writing, and the reason I began this site. I was collecting passions fast and as such, my to do list was slowly growing out of control.
Before I left for Costa Rica I was doing the following things:
- Full time stay at home mum to a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, frequently waking three year old.
- Parenting writer and author
- Just finished my first novel
- Running a childminding (daycare) business part time
- Trying to get my new etsy shop Blue Zen Designs selling gemstone jewellery off the ground
- Writing a series of children’s books
- Teaching myself to draw in the hopes of illustrating said series
I had so many pots on the fire that I was completely overwhelmed. My focus was so divided that nothing ever got my full attention and as a result every single thing suffered. No matter what I was working on I always felt guilty that I wasn’t doing something else. I could literally never relax and went to bed every night with my mind whirring, feeling like I was drowning under the (self imposed) pressure.
I love what Marie Forleo describes herself as – A multi passionate entrepreneur, but a key point I clearly overlooked is that yes, you can have several passions in life, and yes, you absolutely should give yourself permission to explore the things you are drawn to, but you simply cannot try and make each of them your full time work. You will burn out, just as I did.
My goal for my trip was to get myself out of this cycle of stress. I wanted to feel like me again. I took writing pads, drawing pads, pens, pencils, paint and a mountain of books with me, but I made a rule. This was that I would not do a single thing that I didn’t want to do on this trip. I could do as much as I wanted, but I didn’t have to lift a pen unless I really wanted to. No deadlines, no targets, no goals, no stress.
Wouldn’t you know it, within two days of being on foreign lands I realised my heart palpitations had stopped. I began to sleep really, really well at night. I even took afternoon naps! I picked up my illustrations once or twice during the first two weeks working on them for half an hour or so each time, but they soon became forgotten at the bottom of my backpack.
I relaxed. I sunbathed. I played with my son. I had real conversations with my husband and laughed with him, and found time to sit down and watch a movie with him in the evenings. I couldn’t believe how I had let myself get so busy to the point where I had totally neglected my marriage. I realised how much I had missed him.
And then, my head started to overflow with thoughts and ideas and my fingers itched to write them down. I wrote and I wrote. I finished ten articles for Love Parenting, just because they were bursting to get out. I outlined an idea for a future novel. I spent a lot of time thinking about my childminding business, how to make it better for the children, environments I wanted to create for them to explore, and ways to make the paperwork more streamlined.
I realised that I had let myself become carried away with excitement over the realisation that I could learn to draw and that I was actually far better than I’d ever imagined I could be after just a few days of copying and learning from good old youtube. In school I was led to believe that drawing (and art) was a talent for a select few, and that did not include me. I destroyed the image I had of myself, the notion that I couldn’t draw, and with this realisation came the understanding that I could be and do ANYTHING I put my mind to.
The message I am constantly trying to express to my son finally came through to me too, and I felt full of potential and excitement. As it turns out, I have realised that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to. After exploring this new skill I have decided to keep it as a hobby and source another illustrator for my children’s books. I have also made the decision to keep my jewellery shop as a hobby business and I felt an enormous weight lift from my shoulders as I gave myself permission to make jewellery for fun, as and when I really feel like it.
I feel clear on what my passions are now, and if I’m honest, I knew all along what I really wanted to do with my life. I am passionate about childcare – raising my son and caring for the children who I childmind. For me, childcare and child development has always and will always be important to me.
And I am without a doubt, a writer. I can’t not write! I also can’t seem to narrow down my area of writing. I love writing about parenting just as much as I enjoy creating a fictional world for a novel or a children’s book.
I still have a long to do list of things to work on for my childminding and for my writing projects, but I have decided to take each one at a time, seeing it to completion and giving it my full attention and focus before moving on to the next.
I am officially quitting multi-tasking. Not only that but I’m quitting deadlines too. I’m taking the pressure off and getting right back to the raw passion that led my path at the beginning. I’m holding on to the balance I’ve finally found and learning it’s OK to let things go when they aren’t quite right for me. I can’t do everything at once, and I’m finally OK with that.
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