A Perfect Storm

November 29, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop, Serial Commas | 13 Comments
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I did it again.

I spent the last week cranking through a freelance project I probably should have said no to. On Tuesday, I found myself at a Target Starbucks entrenched at a back table, with papers, post-its, and colored pencils stacked fortress-like around me. I fought drowsiness with fountain-drink refills and a strategically purchased Snickers. It was a long day, full of comma splices and empty calories.

On top of that, we had just driven 1,000 miles for Thanksgiving. With one coughing kid who coughed on the kid next to him who coughed on the baby next to her. We arrived with three coughing kids. Two days later, I was coughing, too.

We’ve had wonderful holiday meals, visits with aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and a retirement party for my father-in-law. And I’ve done my best to enjoy them. But my deadline lingered, along with my sore throat. Sadly, that’s what I’ll remember most from this Thanksgiving.

The week has been a perfect storm for me. I’ve put myself last. I’ve taxed my body more than it can handle. I’ve subsisted on caffeine, sugar, and white flour. No wonder I’m a mess.

But there’s a rainbow.

Somehow, I managed to read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project this week. Only because it was due at the library and I’d reached my renewal limit. The whole book was chock full of insight and inspiration and tips. But one line really knocked the breath out of me: This is my one and only life.

This is my one and only life. And I just spent a whole week of it not putting my family or myself first. I won’t get these seven days back. I won’t get a do-over. But I will get a fresh start.

Because this is my one and only life. And I’m completely clear, now, on how I want to spend it. And how I don’t. About what’s important to me. And what’s not. About who is important to me. And how much they deserve.

I’m clear, now, about what comes after the rain.

What lines from a favorite book stand out for you? How have you successfully shifted your priorities since becoming a parent? And are you as thankful as I am for the person who invented tissues with lotion??

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13 Comments »

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  1. Oh, I’m sorry the sickies have invaded your house. We’ve been wrestling with them for two months.

    I enjoyed Rubin’s book, too. I’m trying to live by her one-minute rule…so far, I’m failing, but it’s a noble goal.

  2. No, you won’t get back those seven days. But reading this book may have changed how you spend the rest of your days, and that’s even more important.

  3. Sorry you have had a bout of the sniffles. We’ve had our share too. I love that line about the one and only life. It’s a great reminder that can set not only the tempo of your day, but for your whole life.

  4. I hope you’re feeling better, Stacia, and that your kids are too. (And, yes, a big hooray for the inventor of tissues with lotion – except if you try to wipe your sunglasses clean with them, but I digress…)

    I really enjoyed The Happiness Project and that line stuck with me as well. Another that did was “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Both that and the line you quote are new mantras for me as I try to reconcile the Kristen I was pre-kids and the Kristen I am now.

  5. Wow girl, what a week.
    The realization of the fresh start IS the rainbow, not as a crutch but a gentle embrace and a push back out to try again.

  6. I hope you guys are better soon. I hate the colds and coughing!

    I get VERRRRRY relaxed about normal concerns when I think about what place it has in the universe, particularly financial concerns. 😉 I just wish I thought about it more often.

  7. I’m just a girl who can’t say no, so I hear you. But slowly – very slowly – I’m learning how. (Should I read the book, too?)
    Love soft tissues…but really, really hope you get to stop filling your pockets with them soon. 🙂

  8. Well, I started out reading this post thinking, “Look! She has three little ones and can still work” and thinking that might be good for me to know at some point. But it’s too much, huh? Ah, the false allure of doing it all.

    And would a cynic like that book? I have resisted reading it.

  9. “We are such stuff that dreams are made on…” from The Tempest. Regardless of literary interpretation, I have always taking this little gem to mean that we are made on our dreams. What we dream, we are. I try to dream big and I try to dream often.

    This new week will be a fresh start for you, Stacia. But remember, sometimes we have to take the rain to get the rainbow. Life’s not always about what we want to do, it’s sometimes about what we have to do to get to the things we want to do. And that’s okay!! x

  10. Sounds like you have a real sense of clarity. I guess something good came out of a busy week, a 1000-mile drive and a house full of sickness! Have a great week! 🙂

  11. I’m inspired by your post and in awe of you with your road trip, family time, and freelance work all rolled into one week.

    I really loved The Happiness Project and keep meaning to reread it and take notes. I am a Twitter lurker and I follow @gretchenrubin — I enjoy the stuff she links to in her tweets and have signed up to get a daily happiness moment email from her. Lots of good stuff to think about.

    Can I say that I love the glimpses of your one and only life that this blog provides? Because I do.

  12. My one and only life…

    What a great place to come to. And when you come to that realization on your own, it makes everything that much better. I have a feeling that line will be ringing in my mind all day.

  13. Gosh, I should get my hands on that book. I keep meaning to read it. I know exactly what you mean. That realization hit me some time this year, when I found myself feeling anxious all the time. The time will pass regardless, so I’d might as well enjoy each day rather than worry about what may or may not happen. My point being, yes, you only get to live life once – you’d might as well make it a happy one. It’s not from a book but I remember listening to Barbara Bush speak in a commencement address – that at the end of your life you will not regret the missed deals at work but the time you didn’t spend with your family. That line has always stayed with me and I use it from time to time when I can’t decide on a choice I have to make.


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