A friend recently asked me this question — what makes you tick?
I thought for a short time and felt challenged by this question. I knew answers. But I didn’t know THE answer. I know what makes me want to wake up in the morning. What makes me love my life. But what gives me my purpose and makes me want to grow? She presses on,
What do you really do for yourself?
Nothing I said would call off the dogs. She challenged me to dig deeper, to find a way to give to myself more than I do currently. It’s true – I don’t give to myself enough, whether it be the time to relax or the latitude to recognize i’m not perfect and I never will be. I’m a doer. I’m a helper. I give my time to others freely and those contributions give me a sense of accomplishment and in a way, helps me (like most) feel needed in this big world.
What do you do for you that really makes you tick?
Crap… I’m good at a lot of things, (you might be thinking, damn she needs some humble pie, but I really am good at a lot of things and I recognize my talents) but, why oh why do I suck at taking care of myself? I really am awful at it.
I need to lose weight, get more sleep and exercise… and I really need to care about needing those things more. My diet is rushed and I attempt healthy only some days. The others days sound a little like dire hunger overtaking great intent. I’ll do better…. I really do know better.
Writing makes me tick.
Yet, most days honestly, I feel way too exhausted to use my brain anymore after leaving work. If this sounds like an excuse, it is. But it’s also really true. Most people feel the urge to write or use their creativity most first thing in the morning, before any social media, emails or tiny humans have entered their day. I’ve read this advice from great writers, ahem, Elizabeth Gilbert, but still I don’t. I stay up late and watch mind-numbing television that does nil for my mental or physical health. Yet, it relaxes me to not have to think, do or care about anything for just a short time. I need that sometimes. I love TV and I don’t anticipate giving that up anytime soon, but if I cut back and go to bed early — maybe, just maybe that would give me the motivation to get up early and practice this morning creativity and writing.
Writers often say, “I don’t know what I think until I write it.” That’s so true for me. Throughout the day when I find myself explaining things, sometimes one thought overtaking another, the thoughts are formulating quicker than I can literally communicate them. I know I need to slow down. I know I need to focus and sometimes quietly to myself I make a wish to write it instead. Yes, it takes more time, but it’s so much more methodical and peaceful. It’s not rushed or misunderstood… It’s just words as they should be, preferred to be.
I just fed my boys lunch. We went to three different parks this morning after I gave them each of them a hair cut. They all somewhat tolerated it. But the middle one screamed a lot all morning. It often brought me back to that question – what makes you tick?
I can tell you what doesn’t make me tick and that is that blood curdling cry coming out of my little boy. No pedicure, massage, candle-lit bath or time at the lake can regrow the death of those brain cells after those screams. Only this… maybe. The chance to spill out the words that have been dancing around my head since I’ve last chosen to take the time to really write. Words tripping over each other like an annoyed mom trying to simply walk across the kitchen, ahem, me.
I want to be a better mom. One that doesn’t get frustrated with my kids so much, but I can’t be that. I’m just not that person. I get frustrated and I sometimes even raise my voice so they might actually listen to understand that I am indeed serious about them wearing clothes while they eat, sleep, you name it, function in the real world. I have to be okay with who I am as a mom, wife, employee, friend… because this is me. I can try to be better and make better decision and somedays I might even succeed at that, but some days I’m not going to and that’s okay too.
Creativity and freedom of expression… makes me tick.
Some say creativity is a curse. Some says it’s a gift. It’s freaking both. The gift of creativity helps me out in life, often. It’s helped my career, my family, personal relationships, but it’s also demanded my time in all of those same places. It’s created more work for me when my body says, rest. It’s created complications in projects that are intended to be quite simple. It’s the need for better, for something different than the average that shrieks inside me. Why can’t I just do ordinary and be fine with that? Because I just can’t… and when I am okay with it, I’m really very tired. I need to rest and take some much-needed me time.
But let’s be real, sometimes that isn’t realistic. Sometimes life goes on despite the need for some rejuvenation. And sometimes, I really suck at stopping and giving myself that time, even when I can. Because slowing down, stopping even, means getting behind. It means work, chores, time away from people I care about, it all builds up… and I can’t stand feeling behind. It feels unsafe, uncertain and unsatisfying.
But the reward of rest and renewed creativity comes with a cost and it’s worth investing in. It makes me feel inspired, increases my self-worth, confidence and hope.
It’s Mothers Day. I plan to spend the day with my tiny humans and my mom. Tomorrow, I give myself permission to just not accomplish anything, but let’s be real, I’m not sure I’ll take it. I’m just not built that way.
But here’s to trying. Happy Mothers day, friends!
If you have any questions for me, please contact Kerri Kava at 1MinnesotaMom@gmail.com or on social media at:
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