Updated: Mar 27, 2022
Almost 2.5 years ago my life completely changed. There were multiple catalysts for this change such as having our last baby, entering my thirties, and feeling unsatisfied with where my life was. After reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, I realized what needed to change: I needed to make goals for my life again.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been chasing some type of goal. I didn't realize that is what I was doing at the time, but I was. Pass the test, make the team, be in the top whatever percent of the class, get into a college, graduate, get a job, etc etc etc. I had been working toward all of these aspirations for my whole childhood and adolescent years, but I thought that your dreams kind of stopped once you got a job. I did it, I didn't want to climb any ladder, so I was satisfied. Soon after, my mindset switched more from career to family as we started to expand our family. My "goal" was basically to survive and to teach and raise these beautiful babies, so that's what I did and that's what I loved. I still felt satisfied because I was still working hard at these things. It was after my last baby was born when the unsettled feeling started creeping in.
It wasn't that I had stopped surviving and raising babies, because I'll be keeping up with the two of those for at least the next 16 years. I just felt unsettled, like I didn't know what to do next. I accomplished the goals and I had the family....was there anything else left? Girl, Wash Your Face completely cleared my vision and changed my mindset. No matter what Rachel Hollis does or says or acts like now, I still have to thank her for what I learned through reading that one book. I could still have dreams. I could still chase goals! But for the first time, I got to choose my goals...like for fun. That's been my journey for 2.5 years now. These goals have taken all kinds of forms from teaching myself the importance of waking up early and having a morning routine, to getting a CWP, running a half marathon, writing a book, paying off loans, to traveling with my family. There are even more goals in there that I remember as I am typing. On one end of this spectrum, I have absolutely loved every single aspect of this new life. It fuels my fire to be chasing a goal. I realized that having a purpose (both big scale like leading people to God to small scale like learning to shoot a gun) gives me motivation and happiness that I have a very hard time finding without. I have never felt happier or more fulfilled than I have in these years.
However, there is another side to this spectrum that I try to avoid seeing and don't like admitting to: Burnout. Chasing goals for so long as intensely as I have eventually leads to some type of burnout if you don't watch for the warning signs closely. Typically, I don't feel burnout because I will take days off and rest when I need to. But in the past couple of months, I haven't had time to rest. I have been working 2 jobs, sometimes 3 a week, juggling 4 kids with 3 in sports, training for a half marathon, and planning a vacation of a lifetime. Things haven't slowed down at all and for months I have been giving it my everything to be the best I could be in all of the areas. Until burnout hit. And that's when my running slowed down and the bad eating habits picked up and the early morning alarms got snoozed, and sports practices started getting skipped (rarely, but still). A time or two, I know I deserve a little break and don't blink twice at it. A week or two, and the shame starts creeping in. Does that ever happen to you?
Do you ever expect something unrealistic from yourself and beat yourself up when you can't live up to those expectations forever? Or do you ever tell someone else to slow down and take a break but never do it for yourself? Why do we do these things? Why do we treat ourselves so unkindly when we rest, but we never even take the time to celebrate the times that we work out butts off chasing dreams? If you are like me in this aspect, I want to tell you something.
Stop. Chasing a goal isn't the only thing that life is about. Chase rest instead. Listen to yourself think for once and take a break. After beating myself up for two weeks, I'm finally embracing it and I want you to do the same. Investing in rest isn't a forever type of thing, it works just like any other goal does. You work at it until you get it. If you are feeling burnout or getting close to it, snooze the alarm. Go for a walk instead of a run. Listen to birds chirp in the morning. Eat the icecream. You might gain 5 pounds and that's okay. You deserve to let yourself rest and recharge. Sit down and listen to that long story your kids tell you. Snuggle with your hubby. And when you do all of these things, don't beat yourself up. Smile and say thank you to yourself before falling asleep. If you do this, you let yourself find a peace that comes from inside of your heart, not from a check box on a list. It is a peace that is felt because you simply let yourself be you and be present in this life... and that peace is greater than accomplished task. You are just as worthy, loved, and important when you wake up from a nap as you are crossing a finish line in a race. Remember that. Invest in rest until you are ready to chase that next goal. You deserve it.