“You’re just so magical. How do you find the energy, time, ideas, thoughtfulness, not sure I can find the right word here…”
Someone said that about me today. Me!? It’s a really lovely compliment of course but it compelled me to write this post, one that I’ve been thinking about for months, years maybe. Because the truth is, in my mind I’m none of those things.
Instagram grids, Facebook posts and blogs only show what we choose to share. I’m sure there are people who purposely create a false image of themselves but I think most of us are just choosing to share the things we’re proud of, the stuff that makes us happy, the moments that make us smile. We share the image, but not what’s going on behind the lense. And in doing so we create a picture that’s likely a bit more perfect, more magical than the whole truth.
A few months ago I was looking for a particular picture of all four of us from when Dorothy was a baby. I couldn’t find the original so I scrolled through Instagram to see if I’d shared it. Years of my life rushed by in a blur. Pinks blossoms, the green of Summertime, snow, selfies, tidy work surfaces and carefully chosen angles. I looked at the squares and wished I could live HER life. But she was me.
There’s nothing dishonest about the things I share. I don’t edit out blemishes or adjust waistlines, I don’t pretend to love things that I don’t. But I also don’t post pictures of tears, of messy bedrooms or arguments with my Husband. I post things that bring me joy.
With that said, let me tell you about a row I had with Phill last September 🤣
Phill had taken a day off work. Following months of lockdown, our house was in a state of complete disarray. My mood was very low, I was exhausted and I hadn’t been able to see a physio or get any support for my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Dorothy was at school but other classes had been sent home because of Covid cases and I was worried that she too would soon be required to home school. As I saw it, I had a small window in which to try and take control of the house.
I looked at the squares and wished I could live HER life
So imagine my reaction when I looked into the Pavillion (posh name for the man shed) and found Phill asleep! He’d had a leisurely shower, enjoyed a bite to eat and gone for a nap. I was livid. But his response stopped me in my tracks. He said he’d taken a day off, because he needed a day off and quote “it’s not my fault that you don’t prioritise your wellbeing – you should”.
Well frustratingly, I couldn’t argue with that.
There’s a to-do list in my mind of everything I need get done. For a long time, joyful things, self care and rest languished at the bottom of that list beneath work, housework and everybody else’s needs. In times of stress, I return to living by that list and on that stressful day I’d expected Phill to shorten it, to reduce the number of jobs that I’d placed above my own wellbeing. What he was saying was that the house didn’t matter as much as self care. That my wellbeing should always be at the top of the list, but only I could put it there.
This was hardly news to me but I needed the reminder. Before Dorothy was born I had a stressful job and sometimes worked until midnight from my laptop before getting up at 5am to commute to the office. I seldom took or shared pretty pictures. I didn’t bake, craft or do anything creative. I didn’t write a blog post for months at a time (and I love to write) and I was always too busy, too tired to stop and enjoy a beautiful moment. Sometimes I’d be so distracted by work, by chores, by worry that I would miss whole seasons. I’d blink and the blossoms were gone, again and it was Christmas. I was miserable.
If I’d carried on that way then my life would have been a blur of years spent always tired, always unfulfilled, always ungrounded.
I choose to measure life by these beautiful moments
In answer to the question, how do you find the time, energy, thoughtfulness, ideas to be magical – the answer is I don’t. I’m not magical but I do have magical moments. Moments that I carve out for myself, moments that I prioritise over the neverending work and chores and worry that would otherwise be my life. I measure life from one mindful moment to the next.
Like Sunday, when both my grown up daughter and my littlest daughter were blowing bubbles in the twilight on the patio, or when I woke up to find Phill’s hand holding mine, even as he slept. The smell of the roses in our front garden, warmed by the afternoon sun or the sound of little paws padding along the garden path behind me. A cup of tea, piping hot but cooled just enough to drink or the words in an old book, sent from another soul, another place, another time. Crowns made out of flowers or the crunch of crisp Autumn leaves underfoot. Freshly baked cakes, Fleetwood Mack on vinyl or the purr of a sewing machine.
Whether I make time for these things or not won’t have a lasting influence on how many emails are in my inbox or whether the laundry basket is empty or whether the grass is cut. Realistically I’m always going to be playing catch up with those things and taking 10 minutes out here and there isn’t going to make a difference. So instead of measuring my worth by how many items I tick off my to-do list, I choose to measure life by these beautiful moments and I prioritise them, every day. I place them and my wellbeing at the top of my to-do list instead of the bottom and I share them with you. And that my friends is how I have time to be magical.
Love Rachel ❤