Over-Booking My Life
Holy shit, I'm tired. Not the kind of tired that's remedied with a nap, though. My soul is tired. You almost didn't get to read that sentence. I absolutely hate admitting this and really struggle with the notion that fatigue is a sign of weakness. I guess I'm weak...
I'd love to blame this existential fatigue on external factors such as parenting young children, having a busy schedule, my age, etc. Unfortunately, that would be bullshit and I know it. Closer to the truth, I make choices inconsistent with creating the life I want. Fuuuuuuuucccccckkkkk!!!!
As I write this, I am pissed with myself for having just missed an online appointment due to an error calculating time differences between Colorado and New Jersey. On some level, this was an innocent mistake that could happen to anyone, and probably does happen to many. Yet, I know in my gut that this "innocent mistake" was the product of too many plates spinning. I have overbooked my life again, and something important fell through the cracks...again.
The solution seems simple. "Just stop booking so many things into your life, Jackass!" Believe me, I have had this conversation with myself so many fucking times that if were that simple, even my dumb ass would have made the correction by now. Alas, this scenario is far more nuanced and unconscious. It looks something like this:
Several months ago, I quit my regular job in order to be more available for my kids. Easy. They needed me around, so there was no decision. I made myself available. As someone who has not been without a job since he was 12-years-old (no shit, at 12, I washed dishes at a Chinese restaurant for a dollar an hour), being unemployed for the summer felt alien and irresponsible. Still, my kids needed me, so fuck alien and irresponsible. I stayed home with them.
As the summer ended, my kids were returning to school and other areas of their lives were normalizing. Seemingly, they did not need me at home full-time anymore. I began looking for work. It turns out, even though things were improving for my boys, they still did not want me to return to work full-time. They said that they did not want another nanny and that they liked having me drop them off at school in the morning, picking them up in the afternoon, and being available for their sporting events and school activities.
I probably have like fifteen more minutes before my kids want nothing to do with me. So, if they want me around, I'm going to be around. I halted the job search and started considering how I might make some money while still being available for my boys. Thankfully, my time in the military fucked me up enough that I get a few dollars in VA disability each month. It's a good start, but not enough to support a family.
To supplement the VA money that I get each month, I decided to set up a coaching practice. This would allow me to schedule clients around my kids' schedules, and while I might not reproduce the salary I used to earn, with some budgeting, we could live on it. I figured that with a PhD in psychology, marketing and management experience in both the military and civilian sectors, a personal fitness training certification, and education in financial coaching, I could provide wide-ranging, holistic coaching services to a diverse client base.
In order to promote my coaching practice, I started three different Facebook communities, a fucking podcast and this blog. All of my marketing efforts seemed well-received, yet my practice still grew slowly (to be fair, I was only working on it part-time).
In the fall, my partner and I hosted a Halloween party. A self-proclaimed amateur chef, I catered the party and received rave reviews on my spread. This had me considering a fucking food truck for a while. It seemed like fun. I was excited about the idea - wrote a business plan and everything, but any way I sliced it, opening a food truck meant investing a bunch of money up front, before earning anything. Kicking around the food truck idea gave rise to another brain child, though. I have always wanted to really learn to cook. I have a fucking G. I. Bill going to waste.
If I return to school full-time, the VA would pay me a monthly housing allowance. So, I enrolled in an Associate's program for a culinary arts degree. Now, I have two classes on-campus, two classes online and one motherfucker that is half online and half on-campus. Turns out, it's a lot to track. In fact, I keep fucking it up, missing due dates for shit in my online classes because I suck at using the school's platform.
No sooner did I start my classes, my coaching practice started to pick up a bit. I'm grateful, but most of my clients are on the east coast, two fucking hours ahead of us here in Colorado. So, now I h ave the following: two online college courses, two in-person college courses, one hybrid online/in-person college course, this blog, a podcast, three Facebook communities (one on thriving after trauma https://www.facebook.com/groups/512338896667918, one on parenting after trauma https://www.facebook.com/groups/570647737271491, and on on leadership https://www.facebook.com/groups/304184104513918), a few coaching clients in Colorado, a handful of coaching clients on the east coast for whom I have to make time zone adjustments, a home with my partner and her four children (one of whom has special needs), two dogs, my ongoing involvement as road captain and court liaison for B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse; https://bacaworld.org/), and my own two children who need to be taken to and from school and to extra-curricular activities each day.
I know. I know. I am about as blessed as a motherfucker can be. Every one of the things I listed is a privilege and enriches my life in meaningful ways. It's also true that many people are so much busier than I am and still manage themselves just fine. I am terrible at keeping my shit straight. I thrive when things are simpler. As a guy who's not really working, you'd think that things would be simple, but I have systematically added, thing by thing, until I am at this point, having just missed a meeting that I was planning to attend virtually from the college student center so that I could run straight to class after the meeting, before racing from class to get my kids from school.
My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu professor just posted a meme that said, "Progress over Perfection, Consistency over Perfection, Balance over Perfection." I commented that my complete failure with the third keeps fucking up the other two for me. My fear is this: I subconsciously create busyness and chaos in my life because I would not know what to do with peace. Most of my life, starting from very early childhood was so chaotic, so violent, so unmanageable that I can only function in the midst of chaos such that I keep creating chaos for myself. FUCK!!!! "Jane, get me off this crazy thing...!!!"
There have been brief episodes of peace and simplicity in my adult life. I have been happiest in those times, but then systematically fuck them up by adding responsibilities that seem like good ideas (even necessities) at the time. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. I journal about it. I talk to my therapist about it. Now, I am even writing a fucking blog post about it. Any thoughts or ideas would be welcomed. Please feel invited to comment below.
As always, thank you for reading. Please subscribe, share and comment. I appreciate you.