Monday, September 17, 2012

on consistency {or lack of}.

I was surprised to see that it's been a week since I posted. Really? I don't know where the time went...oh wait, I do. It went to these squishy little faces.

I've been pondering consistency lately, or in my case, the lack of.

In my life pre-kids, I was a productive, efficient employee and student who overachieved and met deadlines and performed. But in my personal life, I was never very consistent, neither creatively or domestically.

I "dabbled" in an Etsy shop and even had a booth at a local vintage shop. I blogged, but didn't do much more than write occasionally about where we went to breakfast or something I sewed at the very last minute.

When it's just the two of you, you can get away with doing laundry at the eleventh hour and not running the dishwasher for a whole week and letting the fridge get worryingly empty. You can live out of boxes and deal with broken furnaces that plunge your old home into subzero temperatures; you can even pull an all nighter to watch a whole season of Gilmore Girls or finish a term paper.

But now here I am, at home, watching my two little girls play and explore their big world. They thrive on consistency, it makes them feel safe. And the consistency they need is entirely dependent on me and me alone. I've taken this on as my job: to provide them with the stability they need to blossom, and it happens. We're home for naps, we have a bedtime routine, they know what's coming.

But outside of the daily routine, I think a lot about what life still has for me, what God has for me. And often, I think that I need to be planning ahead and making it happen. But what I've learned about myself after 28 years of living in my own head is that although I am a first born and innately responsible and reliable, I'm also a free spirit and do my best work at the last minute.

My mom visited this past weekend and we had a good talk about the way we operate. In order to do our most fulfilling work, we need to feel inspired. The emotion has to be there, the heart has to be in it. Otherwise, it feels inauthentic and robotic. We can do the work, we just won't be very proud of it and it will feel like something is missing.

What does all of this mean?

It means I do great short term projects, like my eBook. It's why our two month European adventure was so kick-ass. They were short enough projects to hold my attention and keep the inspiration and passion flowing. It's why I like to sew things that are squares, and knit with huge needles and chunky yarn. Why the one-pot meal is the best thing since sliced bread.

That's why I can't seem to stick to the oft-used format of a content calender or use planners for longer than a few weeks. It's why I don't often commit myself to "challenges" or programs that don't have an ultimate end goal that is tangible. It's why I hate running (seriously, where am I going?) unless a chase is involved. It's why I write lists, the same lists, over and over on different slips of paper. And why I write in 20 different journals and notebooks, none of which are full. Or, on a bad day, why I think of myself as a quitter.

I change all the time, like the tides and the winds and anything else that cannot be counted on to be consistent and predictable. Great passions and flames are lit within me weekly, but they die out after a time and I'm onto the next New Thing. I am uncomfortable with this part of myself.

And...

I'm terrified that my girls will be just like me, that they'll quit when the going gets tough or when their patience wears thin or their excitement dies out.

What can I do about it? I don't know except to try and model a balance between both and be real with them about this part of me, accepting it as both a strength and a weakness.

Maybe we can do things together that challenge all of us - grow a garden, do a jigsaw puzzle, play red light green light (teaches patience, right?) And when they show an interest in something, I can encourage them to pursue it, and maybe, just maybe, it will turn into something grand. Or it won't.

I can tell them that sometimes things that matter don't come with passion or inspiration, but daily commitment to seeing something through and finding the wonder and beauty in it. Like marriage, and raising children, and lasting friendship. The stuff of real life. 

But when the passion is there, grab hold of it and hang on for the ride.

So it's OK that I haven't written on this blog for a week, because I was busy with life, flying high by the seat of my pants, enjoying the view, and when I landed and sat down to write something, this is what came out.

Just Write.


8 comments:

  1. yep, i relate :) maybe it's an oldest-child thing?? that's why i, for example, do month-by-month blog posts about lucy's development for like 6 months and fizzle out...and know when i start that i probably shouldn't, even. :) you'd think i'd know myself well enough by now.

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    1. Glad to know it MIGHT be an oldest child thing - and you think we'd learn but nope, we don't. Ha!

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  2. love what you have to say, always. Keep it up : )

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  3. [I can tell them that sometimes things that matter don't come with passion or inspiration, but daily commitment to seeing something through and finding the wonder and beauty in it. Like marriage, and raising children, and lasting friendship. The stuff of real life.

    But when the passion is there, grab hold of it and hang on for the ride.]

    those lines you wrote (above there) were really great for me to read today. thank you!

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  4. http://www.themorningnews.org/article/tiny-castles-of-doom <-- you will love this :)

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    1. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. You have such a lovely family and a great blog :) I found you through Mel's blog! Love the more milk posts - I'm a nursing momma of a wonderful 9 month old, and a labor & delivery nurse.

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