Midlife Musing Kuel Life Contributor: Amy Schmidt
Okay, let’s be honest. Our circuits are disrupted and overloaded. We are working hard to identify our power source, and for our family, finding a way to recharge has simply been taking some time to just ‘be’.
We cannot control what’s happening in the world, but we can control how we react to it. And we’ve been staying home, and not seeing our friends and family. Our calendars look different, and those coffee dates, and happy hours with friends have become virtual….and I don’t know about you….but it’s tiring. Zoom and virtual chats are exhausting in so many ways.
An At Home Challenge:
I’ve decided to put forth a challenge in our home. Our new normal of life under one roof includes a daughter, usually living in NYC and now working remotely from ‘home’. My son, a college student figuring out online classes and desperately missing his independence, and my 17 year old, figuring out online school, and missing social events and sports with friends.
Now this challenge doesn’t involve inventing something, or push ups, or creating a TikTok video.
Find Silver Linings Moment By Moment:
“The challenge is giving everyone permission in our household to ‘be’ and take their moment”
The challenge is giving everyone permission in our household to ‘be’ and take their moment…..or moments. There is no explanation necessary when you need your moment….just take it….however that looks to you…and how it feeds your soul in a way YOU need.
I recently needed a moment. I needed to get in the car and drive 45 minutes into NYC to see the tree, and walk 5th avenue. That is a holiday tradition for me, and something I loved to do with friends every year. We would dress up, spend the day shopping, walking through the Christmas markets, and splurge on a festive dinner. I knew that couldn’t happen this year, and I was feeling sad about it. So….I said to my husband, “I need you. Would you drive with me into the city, take a picture in front of the tree, and share my moment with me.” So as you can see from the photo, that’s just what we did. It was different than previous years. It wasn’t the normal hustle and bustle, but it was just what I needed. Another silver lining to an unprecedented year.
A Brilliant NY Times Article:
I read a fascinating article in the NY Times recently, and it really resonated with me. “Why are people trying to be overachievers and accomplish something absolutely great and revolutionary during a global pandemic?” There are some people spending hours trying to ace a TikTok video….and wait on pins and needles to see how many likes they get…just waiting to go viral.
Let’s be honest, huge kudos to anyone that is managing it all: creating some incredible business, while writing a book, and keeping their houses not only tidy, but decorated for the holidays, vacuumed and dusted, and holiday cards and shopping done and checked off the list….and to top it off…. all the while working out and eating healthy.
The Week I Paused:
“I can only take so many walks, and escape to a bath until I shrivel like a prune”
This last week was my week. I hit pause. I had my moment, or should I say, moments. Life under one roof comes with challenges, and I can only take so many walks, and escape to a bath until I shrivel like a prune. These days every time I scrolled through my social media, or opened my email, I was sucked into live videos, how to make your next million, or how to land the perfect side hustle, or being tagged in some sort of challenge.
To be honest, this last week I had a hard time getting things done. I had Dr. John Duffy as my guest on the Fearlessly Facing Fifty podcast recently, and he mentioned something that resonated with me. We have gone from an acute pandemic to chronic, and we are working hard to make the best decisions for ourselves and for our families, and at times it can be challenging. In March, the virus felt worlds away, as I watched COVID numbers rise around the world, and now it’s reached my inner circle of friends and family, and every week I hear of someone I know contracting it. We have lost many in our own communities, and the stories are heartbreaking.
Many are filing for unemployment, and it seems that people now that they are working remotely, are working longer hours and harder than ever. My daughter is planning watch parties as they binge shows, and at the same time chatting with friends as they figure out how to make their next rent payment, as many are losing their jobs. And as young adults, ready to set the world on fire, this is a time when words don’t necessarily make sense. Everyone just needs a moment.
The “Always-On” Work Culture Thrives Even Now:
The urge to overachieve, even in times of crisis, is reflective of American’s always-on work culture.
I’m not an expert, but I am a mom of three, trying my best to navigate the uncertainty that starts each day, and I encourage you to take this time, and use it in a way that’s best for you.
Turn the lens inward and take your moment or moments. If you have to pull the covers back over your head in the morning, do it. Don’t stay there all day. As a matter of fact after a minute or two, get up and get going.
The Power Of Six Words:
and….. GET GOING!
“kick that perfectionism and overachiever in you to the curb”
We are all navigating this time of uncertainty in different ways. We all have different stories, and different set of circumstances; and most importantly we are just trying to do our best, and get through the day. It doesn’t mean we have to get everything done, but more importantly it’s about forward momentum.
Most of us are ‘average’ people, and have to kick that perfectionism and overachiever in you to the curb. We don’t have to be productive every minute of every day. We need our moments.
This is the first year I contemplated not sending Christmas cards, until the day my husband brought box after box of holiday decorations into the living room, and the first one I opened was filled with my Christmas card holder from last year. As I glanced through the photos, I found myself smiling and enjoying looking at the beautiful photos, or handwritten notes. That very night I looked through some pictures I had taken over the summer, and voila….a silver lining. I ordered some cards later that day.
Just remember, it’s unrealistic to expect that in a time of unprecedented stress and uncertainty that you will be able to keep up with 100% productivity, and give yourself the gift of grace and forgiveness and realize that there are days, there are moments, that things just won’t get done.
Give Yourself Permission To Slow Down And Let Things Go:
Several studies have shown the connection between low work productivity and mild forms of depression. It has been shown that a normal brain things about 70,000 thoughts a day; and an anxious brain processes two to three times that amount of thoughts. How crazy is that?
“don’t forget to find moments of joy every day”
If you find that tasks that normally get done, aren’t getting done, find some ways to eliminate some of them. My house is at maximum capacity at the moment. My ‘big kids’ are home, and to ease the stress of dinner cleanup – I have incorporated paper plates for dinner two times a week. Sounds crazy…..but it works. It allows me to take a task off my to do list.
And don’t forget to find moments of joy every day. Maybe it’s something as easy as looking through old holiday cards, and choosing someone to reach out to with a text or phone call. Maybe it’s turning off your social media at a certain time each day, and instead of scrolling….draw yourself a bath and splurge on a great read, or pick up a pop culture magazine, or lose yourself in one of those beautiful overly priced decorating magazines you always see at the grocery checkout line.
The decorations don’t need to be perfect this year. Instead, hunt for those candlesticks or champagne glasses you got for your wedding, or a special occasion and use them. Take out a crystal bowl that is tucked away, and fill it to the brim with potato chips. Eat a meal with candlelight, or eat a frozen pizza on your good china….whatever it looks like for you….. celebrate little bits of joy.
- Just keep moving forward.
- Take a walk when you can.
- Text a friend.
- Call your mom.
- Write a note to someone you admire.
- Give yourself some moments, and with those moments be patient with yourself and give yourself the gift of grace. We got this. One day at a time.
Bring on 2021
About the Author:
Amy Schmidt is a podcaster, author, public speaker, blogger and founder of the brand, Fearlessly Facing Fifty™. She launched her business and brand six months before turning 50. Her mission is to encourage women over forty to push fear aside and find that hidden treasure of confidence, that may have been pushed aside for awhile and not let this time of life allow them to lose their identity.
Her work has been published in Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, and many others. You can follow her on social media. Her instagram handle is: https://www.instagram.com/amy.k.schmidt/. Join her Face Book community: https://www.facebook.com/fearlesslyfacingfifty.net/. You can subscribe to her website and read her blog and find links to her podcast. https://fearlesslyfacingfifty.com/ Her podcasts are available on Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, or simple Google the Fearlessly Facing Fifty Podcast. Amy loves to connect with her followers and encourages emails to [email protected]