It was like getting the flu, I was hit without warning. Perhaps there were signs, but I didn’t notice them. By the time I knew what was happening, I was on the way to a slow recovery.
Well, I’m not talking about literally falling ill, I wish it was, then it would have been easier to deal with.
I’m not sure what to call it. Burning out? Maybe. Exhaustion? Perhaps, since there was a time I was sleeping just four, five hours a day.
All I knew was I felt overwhelmed. I was working hard to meet the deadline for a major project, trying to maintain this blog while being involved in another project related to this blog. All of these on top of being a mom and wife. But I thought what I felt was normal; I had felt this way before.
Yet on another level it was different. I felt thoroughly fed up with the ‘busyness’ in a way I never experienced before, fed up with myself for not spending time more meaningfully, fed up for getting distracted by time stealers that had crept into my life, such as constantly checking my smartphone, spending too much time online. It didn’t help that I was losing my rhythm along the way and things were getting a little disorganised.
I didn’t know what to do with the situation and all the negative feelings brewing inside of me.
So I took a pause.
Not quite intentionally but it just happened. My big project was over and I told myself I needed to stop the frantic pace.
So life slowed down. Probably because I just didn’t have the energy nor the heart to continue living life as it was.
Doing little and doing them well
As my life slowed, I reflected a lot – something I didn’t have time for when I was caught up in a frenzy of activities. I looked back on the past few months (especially from what I wrote on this blog) and saw that the signs for change were beckoning.
From the realisation of the need to have regular ‘me-time’ and taking better care of myself, to my son making me see how distracted I was when one day, he surprised me by telling me to put my smartphone down, they were all signalling to me about changes I need to make in my life.
Kat wrote, “I’ve adopted a new motto: Do as little as possible, as well as possible.”
Then she continued, “… But I can’t do it all. I never could and I certainly never did. There is so much freedom and peace in acknowledging that we can’t do it all. Cutting back is hard, but just as flowers bloom best when properly pruned, so will your life.”
And yes, I was doing the pruning.
My goals are simple: I don’t want a busy life. I want a life that is calm, centred and purposeful. I want to be the best mom and wife I can be, and make every minute of my life counts.
I know I can’t have it all (at least not all at the same time), because I can’t do it all.
I’m no superwoman and I have no intention to be one. There are just 24 hours a day and I’m not one of the most efficient persons in the world, so some things just have to go.
An area God is leading me to let go is time spent online – including this blog. It’s not that I’ll stop blogging, because this blog is an important space to me. What it means is letting go of any big dreams I have for this space and leaving them in God’s hands.
When I started this blog, it was meant to be a space to document my son’s growing up and a place to share about things I’m passionate about, and it will remain so. Along the way, I started having big dreams for this blog.
However, it takes time and effort to grow a blog, it’s much more than just writing and publishing posts. If you have the chance to meet some very successful bloggers, ask them what they do to grow their blog and I guarantee it will be more than just writing good posts.
It’s not that growing this blog is no longer important, it’s the ‘how’ that I need to reexamine. It’s about applying Kat’s motto: “Do as little as possible, as well as possible”.
I acknowledge that I’m no supermom and I can’t do it all. So to grow this blog, I can only focus on doing it organically – it means growing because of good writing and good content. It means instead of all the “behind-the-scene work”, I will continue to put my heart into every post (I can spend up to hours on one post, like this one – I’ve been editing it for days). It makes me more thankful for every reader I have. And if some of my posts touch your heart and offer you some inspiration, please tell me and share it if you could, it would such a huge encouragement for me.
As I eliminate the time stealers, I’m able to refocus my time and energy on my family and things I’m called to do. I felt that in some ways, I’ve not been a good mom and wife for the past few months, getting distracted by things that have little value to them.
So to paraphrase what Kat wrote, I aim to do little, and to do them well.
It’s still a work-in-progress. Meanwhile, my heart is lighter as I’m more focused. There’s great joy in simplicity and I’m learning to savour it.
The weekend just passed, I celebrated my husband’s birthday – just the two of us – and I soaked it all in – the great food, the conversations, the love. The husband told me he had an enjoyable time and it’s been a while since he said that – I was touched. The next day, we took Kenan on a short adventure to visit Singapore’s last kampong. Again, I felt the joy of being present without constantly checking my smartphone, responding to emails, connecting with people online.
This is a season of pruning and I’m grateful to God for it. There are still lots of areas of my life to be pruned (including some stubborn physical clutter!). Letting go can be hard sometimes, but I know when it’s done, I’ll have greater joy, peace and abundance of the heart.
“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and do what really matters most.” - Stephen Covey
Do you feel overwhelmed? What are some activities that are taking up too much of your time and distract you from what’s truly your priority in life?