Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy Life, Messy Wife

A few nights ago, I felt upset. It's hard to distinguish, sometimes, between burn-out, postpartum depression and exasperation. Our babysitter cancelled, Will was half-awake after a night shift and dinner was not made. Laura dumped out all our shoes again. I had cleaned the whole house earlier and felt so good... Then the girls did not nap; then no relief; then no time to prep for the next day's lesson; then up too late. I was falling down and only a zillion chocolate chip cookies (which we had none) would numb the pain. But then Will said something and, as uninspired as it was, it was the kick that told me: messes come and go. You matter. Messes don't.

I'm listening to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin on Audible. I like it so much that I sent it home and told my Dad that the family should read this together. The Apple blurb says,
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. 
In this lively and compelling account—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. 
The biggest part about happiness is the necessity of growth and pushing one's self outside our personal comfort zone and accept failure (and embrace the fun of failure!) as a necessary part of living. Building habits, asking for help and scale back on obligations. All of these experiences she discussed came with a head nod... yes, mm, yes. But action is harder.

I am (also/still) listening to a podcast my art history teacher recommended to me. (Pro tip: stay in touch with your favorite professors/ teachers. They will continue to enrich your life with their love, wit and wisdom!) It's called Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it is all about the creative life and the creative process.

I miss my creative process. I miss the ability to stay up late and write and re-write and laugh and talk and color and write letters to friends and re-write... my creative process has been replaced by a need to re-organize my house and regulate toys and re-arrange our schedule and meal plan and lesson plan and

no wonder.

no wonder I am just so tired when the evening hits that I don't finish post after post after post.

I am a creative soul, and my cup is dry.

But my heart is hopeful.

I bought acrylic paints and canvases a few months ago because I saw them on sale.

I thought, I took Studio I-III and Mixed Media in high school!

I thought, It's been too long.

I thought, I'm scared to open them.

I thought, I'm ready. 


In the meantime - here's to more messes.

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  1. I'm so glad that you're going to dive into creative endeavors!!! Those kinds of activities are so important. I knit a scarf during postpartum recently, and now I'm working on altering a dress. Once I finish that, I'm going to try and figure out a new project-creative souls need to be nurtured! :) If you need accountability in making time for creative stuff, perhaps you could arrange a time to meet with other women to do it. Last week, one of my friends did this-she invited several of us women over for wine, cheese, and crafts. It was so awesome, even if women could only show up for an hour, to sit and color, work on knitting, or paint while we all chatted and took a break from life :)

  2. Will is right! YOU matter. The messes of life come and go. We all go through different seasons - I know I have had periods of time where life is just completely and utterly overwhelming, in different ways. It was so hard for me to learn that I need to take care of myself first before worrying about work and play. I can't wait to see what creative endeavors you try - I want to see pictures of your paintings!