115: Sometimes you have to wait
A Farmish Kind of Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. You can view our full affiliate disclosure here.
There is a balance to be struck between striving to do all the things, and realizing when you’re at a stage in your life that you’re already busy doing other things. While it’s important to dream, make goals, and draw up plans, today I want to talk about honoring the reality of where you are in life.
Listen to the podcast episode by pressing the play button on the black bar above.
All episodes are linked under the podcast tab that you can find way at the top of this post in my menu bar.
You can also listen and subscribe to my Farmish Kind of Life podcast at all popular podcast players.
It’s important to make plans. I’m all about dreaming and setting goals. But today I’m backing up a bit and getting honest about life, because for some of you, hearing just do some dreaming and make some plans! is the exact opposite of what you need to hear.
I was 24 when I had my first kid, and 25 when I had my second. And I remember shortly after the second was born, I sat on the deck, exhausted and sobbing. My husband asked me what was wrong.
“I’m afraid I’ll never write again. I will never have time. I can’t do all of this.” And I pulled out a book by some author who by my estimation had “a bazillion books out”. I shoved it at my husband’s face and said, “Look at her. She is doing all the things.”
And my sweet husband looked at me, his wife with an almost 13 month old and a brand new baby, and said, “You and her are in different places. How old is that author?” When I told him she was 42, he told me to stop comparing myself to her and live my life.
“If I know you,” he said, “when you’re 42 you’ll be back to writing all the books just like that author.”
“What if I’m not?”
“Then you’re not. But it’s not like you’re going to forget how to write. It’s part of who you are.”
I don’t know if my husband remembers that conversation, but it was huge for me and I totally stuck it in my back pocket.
Fast forward to last week when I was making a huge business plan for the novels I plan to release under my two names in 2021.
And it occurred to me while I worked on it: guess how old I turn in 2021?
42 years old.
I recently shared this story with another writer, who said he really appreciated the honesty. As a new dad, he was scraping by on writing 10 minutes a day and wondering, “is this is all there is?”
I remember those days. I remember the days of trying to get an article done in 20 minutes because that’s how long I had before the kid woke up again.
While that writer and I are close to the same age, he and his partner just had a baby. So even though he and I graduated almost the same year, he’s currently getting up with a baby every few hours and I’ve got a kid who turns 18 in a few months.
Two totally different places in life.
Which makes all the difference.
My reality now?
My husband works weird hours.
My kids are almost adults.
Our house is wildly independent. We’re all on different schedules. I often say that there isn’t a moment in a 24 hour period where there isn’t someone awake in our house doing something.
So when people ask how do you have all the time to do what you do, I want you to understand at this point in my life, I spend a lot of time alone—meaning, not being needed by anyone else—either because they aren’t home, they’re sleeping, they’re at work, or they’re doing their own thing like recording music or doing their college classes.
So I am currently free to do the crazy things I’ve got up in my head—and that I’ve had up in my head!—because there are so many other things I don’t need to take care of anymore.
The truth is, the place you are in life will determine a lot of what you can do.
Let’s break down some steps to getting comfortable with this realization.
Step One: Dreams. Goals, Plans.
We all have something we want to do. You might want to build a homestead, learn a new skill, switch careers, or put out a crapton of books next year. Whatever it is, it requires dreaming to figure it out and planning to make it happen. We talked about that near the end of I Worry and I Forget.
Step Two: Be honest about where your time is going
In order to get things done, we have to manage our life in a way that makes those things a possibility. Time management can be an issue, as is dealing with two major kinds of distractions: Shiny Time Sucks, and other people’s expectations/opinions.
Dealing with Shiny Time Sucks:
Adult to adult here, you have to be able to look at your day and realize where you’re letting time slip away.
Think about XYZ in your day—XYZ referring to something that isn’t a) keeping someone else alive, or b) your paid employment. XYZ is just something you like to do. Like scrolling through social media, watching TV, talking on the phone, gaming, etc.
If it makes you happy, fabulous.
If it’s a mental health thing for you, great.
But if you have “lost” an hour and a half doing it, and then tell people you don’t have time to meet your goals or attack your plans, be adult enough to realize something doesn’t line up.
My best two not very fancy tips—
Set a timer: This helps you keep track of how much time you’re spending on anything, whether it’s the work you have to get done or the mindless activity you did when taking a break. Using a timer helps you remember your time is finite, and makes you more efficient in the time you have for every task/break.
Write things down: I’m not 20 anymore so if I don’t write things down, I don’t remember to do them. Everyday I have a work list (what happens in my office) and a not work list (everything outside my office). Yes, I write down “do the laundry”. Because otherwise I get into bed and realize, just as I’m falling asleep, I got distracted by a million other things and the laundry still isn’t done.
Dealing with people’s expectations/opinions:
Other people’s expectations can be a distraction because it either makes you spend time doing things you maybe don’t need to, or it makes you fill up brain space with things that don’t need to be there. Figure out whose expectations matter to you and don’t let anyone else rent space in your head or take up unnecessary dates on your calendar.
Step three: Be honest about where you are in life.
Here we are. The meat of what I wanted to say today.
When you look at where someone is—be it you, or me—you have to look at the entirety of where that person is in life.
A person is not just 22 or 30 or 47.
Or married or single.
Or a parent or childless.
Or works full time outside the home or works from home or takes care of their babies.
All of these things and millions of others work together to make up the whole of a person’s reality
And, conversely, you can look for it, but the truth is we won’t know the entirety of where anyone else is.
Not being able to get everything done is not always a sign that you’re not organized. Sometimes it means that you’re really freaking busy. Sometimes it means you’re at a place in your life where you’re already doing all the things. And those things might not be shiny, but they are are still all the things.
Listen to me. Keeping tiny humans alive is still “all the things”—even if you’re not blogging about it.
You can do it all, except for when you can’t.
It’s popular now for content creators to try and convince everyone that there’s a way you can organize your life to do all the things you want to do. Do you know why everyone is saying that? Because it sells books and courses and classes, you guys.
A motivational speaker or life coach isn’t going to get too far with, “yeah, sometimes you’re just in a really busy place in your life. End of workshop, thank you for coming!”
You can’t build a course off that. If I wrote a book for moms of five kids under five who want to start a bustling homestead and start a blog about it and a Youtube channel where they share recipes and this and that and the other thing, you know what my how-to book would say?
It would have one page in it, and on that page it would say don’t do it.
Does that mean that there aren’t moms out there who are doing that? No, it doesn’t. But what it does mean is that all the moms in the world shouldn’t be looking at those moms and feeling like a failure because they aren’t doing the same thing.
It also doesn’t mean there is anything with those moms who choose to do “all the things” because here’s what people don’t often talk about: when you look at someone who is doing “all the things”, realize you only see what they choose to show you. You aren’t seeing behind the scenes. It’s like you can see behind the scenes in your life and then you compare that to the selected scenes they’re showing you or telling you about.
Everyone has stuff that’s hidden. Everyone has hidden parts that go into what they accomplish or why they want to accomplish it. And it’s not necessarily things we’d like to mimic. We see the “yay!” of what they’re doing, whether that’s a giant homestead or a 27th novel or a successful side hustle. We don’t see all the things behind it. And that doesn’t just refer to “hours put in” or “things that were pushed aside”.
If I tell you something like I wrote three chapters in a new novel last night, you will think, wow, that’s great! If I tell you it’s because my husband was at a SWAT call last night where “it” hit the fan and I was just trying to distract myself until he was safe back at home, it changes things.
We all have stuff behind what we do. And we have stuff that works with or against what we can accomplish at certain points in our life.
Some things you need to hear.
Sometimes you’re in a place where someone is asking you to fit in one more thing and you’re staring at them with your eye twitching because you can’t possibly fit one more thing in.
Sometimes you’re at that place in life where you have dreams and plans but it’s just not in the cards at this exact moment to make it a reality, and when someone says come on, how bad do you want it? Just work harder! you kind of want to throat punch them.
I’ve been there. And not a lot of people talk about being there.
If you need someone to tell you that sometimes you have to wait, I’m here to be that person for you.
Sometimes you have to slow down.
Sometimes you’re doing everything right and you just have to be patient.
Sometimes there really isn’t enough time or money and you just have to plan and be ready for when you get to that spot in your life where there is enough time or money.
It’s okay to dream and plan, but you also need to live the life you have right now because I will tell you what—those little kiddos that are driving you insane and making it so you can’t do all the things you want to do? They grow up so freaking fast.
Maybe you need someone to tell you the place you are in life right now is where you’re supposed to be because it’s preparing you for all the things you’re going to be doing in the future.
Maybe you just need to have someone tell you there is nothing wrong with what you’re doing right now.
And that maybe what you’re doing right now is enough.
— Amy Dingmann 11/30/20
Episode 61: Time Management for Smart Homesteaders
Daily posts here at the website: https://afarmishkindoflife.com/category/itty-bitty-thoughts
Signup for my email newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/q6n3t5
Farmish Kind of Life MeWe group: https://mewe.com/join/afarmishkindoflifehomesteaders
Email me: [email protected]