|Do you have all your ducks (or plates) in a row? I'm the one just out of the photo that is upside down and cracked!|
I always said I hated schedules.
I end up feeling like a failure! My self esteem goes down the toilet. Why can't I keep up with everything? It started out so well, what happened?
Something always changes. Or nothing, except myself.
I think most people go through life without really understanding themselves. We compare ourselves to others. Try to be like them. Do what the successful people are doing. And when it doesn't work, we've failed.
Maybe if I had tried harder? Had more motivation or self discipline?
But even if you did, would that make you happy? Drilling yourself day in and day out?
What we need to realize is, of course that person's schedule didn't work for you. You are not them! You are you.
I've learned a lot about myself in the last ten years.
It took some psychology classes and a bit of counseling for me to figure out some things, others I've realized slowly, and some even in a shocking moment of revelation. But one thing I have worked hard on is acceptance.
What does this have to do with sticking to a schedule?
It may sound like I'm just rambling, but I do have a point!
I've come to recognize many of my struggles and weaknesses. I also know I have many talents. I've learned I thrive in chaos and feel stifled in too much routine. Following someone else's schedule, goals, or way of life, will never be practical for me.
For instance, (I don't know why it took 30 years for this revelation) I have only recently realized I frequently go through a manic, driven faze and then a completely tired, useless phase.
I always thought each was just that, a phase, and would end. It does, but then the next phase returns; it's a continual cycle for me. Maybe I just didn't want to admit it, or be okay with it?
I, of course, have attempted to follow a set of rules, often not even entirely aware that I'm trying to follow them, of how to live my life:
Get up in the morning, have a productive day, eat three meals a day, clean up after myself (and my family), go to bed at a decent hour so I can start all over again... Keeping a routine should help regulate my sleep, make me feel more rested, be more productive, etc, etc.
I guess all my years of school and the corporate work force instilled this in me. But it's not me! I have struggled with "what is wrong with me?" for so long! I would try my hardest, but in my manic phase I can't shut my mind off or get to sleep; I'm itching to go, go, go, ready to take on the world! In my sluggish phase, no matter how much I sleep I've had, I feel so tired, incapable of keeping up with the rush of life, work, kids, schedules.. Why am I failing at this?
As I said, it's taken me years, but I am now comfortable with the way I am.
|This is more me, beautiful chaos that somehow works!|
Now, when I'm feeling productive, I don't go to bed at a decent hour because I'm supposed to. I stay up till I've gotten a million things done and mind is willing to rest. Often that is around 2am and wondrously, I'm not exhausted in the morning (as long as my kids don't get me up before 8am, bonus points for homeschool!).
I take full advantage of the time alone at night (I've always been a night owl) to write, create with art, plan out my kids schedules for field trips and fun learning activities, clean up what I just couldn't get to during the day, and anything else that needs to be done. I get so much more accomplished and feel better about myself and my life!
I go overboard and cram as much productivity into this time as possible because I know one day very soon, and I don't know exactly when it will hit, but you bet, it's around that time in my womanly cycle... I will be a zombie; dragging myself through the day, unable to form a coherent thought. And it's not for lack of sleep as I had always thought. It has hit me every month of my life, no matter how early I went to bed and how much sleep I achieved before that time.
Instead of kicking myself, forcing myself to work like a tired mule, being frustrated with myself for lack of motivation, I now revel in that time, too. I slow down. Take care of my body and get the sleep I need. I spend evenings curled up on the couch with my kids reading, rather than fighting a battle inside my head over how much I should be getting done and resenting my own laziness.
I've thrown everyone's else's schedule out the window that I previously tried to fit myself into.
I try to be okay with my limitations, though it's often hard. My house may not be as clean as I'd like, I may not get to all the educational activities I wanted to do with my kids. Acceptance is not easy, but letting go is a big step. No one's life will be ruined if I don't get to everything today and, chances are, I'll get to a few extra things another day. Asking for help? That's a whole other subject; one of my major weaknesses, if you must know.
I do follow a schedule to some extent. My own schedule. It fluctuates with my own needs and the needs of my family. I can relax when I need to now, without feeling guilty. And push myself to over achievement when I have the drive, without nagging at myself that I should go to bed because it's not normal to be nocturnal!
Whether you have any similarities to my body's strange clock is irrelevant. What I wanted to convey is:
Listen to your body. To your needs and your family's. Find what works for you and know that that is okay!
|No matter how chaotic, there's beauty to be found. And peace.|
It's the same way with my kids' learning. Just because school hours say to get up and begin learning by 8am, that doesn't mean this is best for everyone. My son does much better in the afternoon most days. So, I wait till that opportune time to try any focused or sit down projects with him.
Listen to yourself and accept your limitations as well as your amazing abilities. Cherish these traits, use them both to your advantage. Pay attention to the differences in your children, your husband, or significant other. My husband is on a completely opposite schedule, so I'm very lucky that he's so supportive and willing to work through that challenge with me. And it is a challenge.
I hope you really will take the time to follow your natural rhythm, and go easier on yourself. We are our harshest critics. And the so called "successful" people we most often try to emulate are celebrities that have a whole team at their disposal. How could I ever be off track with five nanny's, a professional chef/nutritionist, personal trainer, personal aides, housekeeper, maids, you name it following after me, telling me what needs doing and taking care of all the loose ends?!