getting back to me.

this summer and fall has been a whirlwind. just to give you a taste, here’s a look at my July calendar {taken from my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, which i loooooooooove}:

July-Calendar-Relax

crazy, right? in between teaching a summer class, celebrating my best friend’s wedding, family birthdays and get-togethers {most notably L’s second birthday in June and Jord’s birthday in August}, and baking this baby, summer flew by. and now, it’s nearly October.

yet, i still feel like i’m slowly adjusting back to full-time teaching, even after a summer of a light teaching workload {despite a plethora of other commitments that demanded my time this summer}.

so, this past weekend, i took a little inventory of why i’m feeling so sluggish to adjust to life as i know it from august – may, and after doing some digging, it hit me: i haven’t been using my Simplified Planner or my Powersheets. at all.

i’ve spoken about my intentions for the year of 2014 and my love for the Simplified Planner and Lara Casey’s Powersheets before, but it can’t be overstated: making room {and thus, making time} for these two innovative products in my life helped me to live more intentionally and to focus on what matters most in the first part of this year, and after doing some serious soul-searching, i realized just how much i was missing out on my “me” time with these products.

that’s not to say that i didn’t use my planner at all for months and months – i mean sure, every so often, i would scribble a note down in my planner – someone’s birthday, probably – but overall, the daily pages of my planner are remarkably blank from early May on, until i started teaching in the summer. plus, after finally locating my Powersheets – yes, it was that bad! – i found that the last time that i intentionally took time to plan out the month ahead with the Powersheets was in March!

for a girl who’s motto this year has been to #lovehard2014 by simplifying my life and focusing on what matters, i’m giving myself a grade of a D. while i started the year off strong – i was a devoted Simplified Planner user, and my Powersheets came with me everywhere i went – my dedication to simplifying in order to love hard waned as the year went on, until my efforts simply stopped come summertime.

when i thought back to why my commitment to simplifying and loving hard this year changed, i came up with a few culprits:

  1. after returning home from Write: Doe Bay in April, i felt overwhelmed by all of the things that i wanted to accomplish, so instead of pursuing any small-scale or short-term goal, i stopped setting goals or thinking about my goals altogether. my time at Write: Doe Bay was so revolutionary for me in many ways, most of which i haven’t yet shared in this space, or have barely even processed {and i know, i should post about that – consider me charged with the task!}. because it was such a challenging time, both physically {hello, five weeks pregnant = morning/motion sickness in the worst way} and mentally/emotionally {wait, i thought that blogging was the ideal career path – you mean it’s actually hard?}, i let myself get busy, and get lost in my calendar, in order to decompress or escape the hard thinking that i needed to do {and that i still need to keep doing}.
  2. i was focused on growing our family, and growing this little baby in my belly, and i stopped making time for me. as you may remember, wishing for baby no. 2 did not make our little guy appear any faster, and i grew impatient at times with the waiting process. of course, our journey to baby no. 2 was nowhere near as complicated as that of many other couples, and i continue to feel grateful for that, but it’s always difficult to want something so much with no promise or guarantee that it will happen for you. for instance, as a voracious blog reader, i have read all too many stories of mothers who were overjoyed to welcome one or two {healthy} children and were then devastated to suffer a subsequent loss or miscarriage, or had difficulty conceiving a second child. after four or five months of trying, i feared that we were falling into that camp, too, and i let that fear take hold, which is what prompted Jordan to write this post.of course, we were overjoyed to learn that we had another healthy child on the way, but after that time of worrying and waiting, i didn’t return to myself – i let my focus slip from what i need {which is to be intentional about the way that i live my life} in favor of what my family needs {which, while not an unworthy mindset, can leave a person feeling like the leftovers that are shoved in the back of the fridge: once enjoyed, but since forgotten}. of course, i don’t say this in any way to blame Jordan or Lionel or this sweet baby boy in my belly – instead, the blame solely lies on me for not commanding my in-between time, my time in between laundry loads full of little Lionel clothes and cherished solo time with my husband.
  3. this loss of “me” time made me feel that i was too busy living life to plan for it. take one look at my July calendar above, and you can tell that my schedule was running me – i was no longer in control of what my days were made of. instead of taking my busy life as a sign to refocus on myself and on my goal of living intentionally and simply this year and always, i focused on checking off the many to-do items that creeped up on the pages of my planner. while it typically feels good to drop-kick completed items off of my to-do list, i stopped feeling satisfaction when i finished a task. instead of attempting to fill my calendar with what matters to me, i simply became obsessed with looking ahead and checking off the next little to-do item.

so, what can i take from this time of reflection, this mid-year failure of mine? well, this past weekend, i completed my first batch of Powersheets since March. and this week at work, i’ve dusted off and cracked open my Simplified Planner, and i’ve written to-do items and checklists inside its pages. and – this is the big part – i’m committed to doing it again and again, daily, weekly and monthly, because i know now, after abandoning these practices for what feels like so long, that i need it.

Worth-It

after some time away from this part of my life, i’ve realized that i need the time-out for myself to take stock, to do the hard thinking, and to put in the work to plan my time in order to live with intention and purpose. so, here’s to starting again, because as i wrote to myself on my Powersheets for this month, it’s worth it to begin again; i am worth it.

more to come from the trenches of prioritizing me…

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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