I went to bed last night feeling incredibly sad.
Sad that the magic of the holiday season was coming to an end. Sad that my husband was going back to work after getting to hang out with him all day every day for the past two weeks. Sad (and admittedly a little nervous) about tackling daily life with three kids on my own. Sad that I felt like all of the magic of December was coming to and end: all of the excitement and newness of adding a new baby to our family… all of the freedom from work and obligations… all of the fun of seeing our extended family… and all of the little moments we had as an immediate family because we had few places we had to be besides together in our house. This was by far my favorite Christmas season I’ve ever had… and it just … well… it just felt like it was all coming to a screeching halt.
And when I woke up today and did my normal early-morning Facebook scroll… I saw that I wasn’t alone in that sentiment. Posts about the “ugh”-ness of having to go back to “normal” life were ALL OVER my newsfeed. All over it. Here we are just the fourth day into a new calendar year… a time when we’re supposed to feel hopeful for what’s to come and excited about making changes … and we’re all just pissed about what’s over instead of appreciative that it happened… and accepting that we’re just going to go back to a daily routine that is apparently mundane and unfulfilling.
Isn’t that a problem???
Is it not a problem that we look at “normal” as being a negative? That “normalcy” … the place that we exist for 90-some% of the year that’s not a vacation or a holiday… is something that we cringe to go back to and refer to as a “grind?”
I see a problem. And I’m looking right at the problem in the reflection of this computer screen right now. And so are you.
Let’s get serious. It’s time to shift our thinking and stop feeling bad for ourselves. If our lives are a grind… it’s time to reverse the wheels. You know what thesaurus.com gives as the opposite of grind?
So if our “normalcy” is a grind…
It’s time to think about inserting breaks. To stop complaining that there’s not enough time in the day and MAKE time in the day. Wake up 15 minutes earlier for “me” time before the kids wake up. Stay off our phones 15 minutes longer and give ourselves a break from the social media frenzy. Shut off work email a little earlier in the night and let your brain relax or even meditate.
It’s time to think about inserting fun. To be goofy with our kids before bed instead of being frustrated that bedtime is taking so long. To set aside some time for wine and board games with our spouses. To crank up the music in our cars and dance and sing so dramatically that the dude next to you at the stop light is inspired to do the same.
It’s time to think about inserting our pastimes. Buy a coloring book. Watch our favorite old movies. PLAY. Have dinner at the dinner table without phones or TV.
It’s time to think about inserting entertainment. Reading a mindless novel. Going shopping by yourself. Meeting up with girlfriends.
And most importantly… It’s time to realize that our normal is our choice. And if we’re pissed about normal … there’s only one person who can change that. I’m not saying we can easily change how much we have to work or what our work is. I’m not saying we can change something difficult that we are dealing with personally. I’m not saying that we can magically make more money appear in our bank accounts.
But I AM saying it’s possible to choose the perspective we have on those things… and it’s ok to take baby steps to get there. Like catching ourselves when we have a negative thought and challenging ourselves to insert a positive one. Or physically scheduling 15 minutes in our schedules to just have time for things to be quiet. Or sitting down on Sunday and thinking about one thing we really “WANT” to do during the week and actually making time to do it so we don’t find ourselves at the end of the week complaining how we don’t have time for ourselves (<– me all of the time)
It’s time to stop waiting, wishing and dreaming for change… and start maximizing, appreciating and embracing our normal. Because change may never come… but normal is already here.