Last night my husband asked me how my day was. After filling him in on what my toddler and I had done that day, nothing too different from what we’ve done every other day this summer, I admitted that I was already getting kind of bored. Not because I am already tired of not going to work. Oh no, not at all. But the things that are fun for my toddler aren’t necessarily all that fun for me. For example, yesterday he wanted to play Boo. It was sooooo cute and sooooo much fun … for about three minutes. But he kept playing for seventeen minutes longer. And heaven forbid I pull out my book and start reading while I play with him. He will have none of that.
Anyway, I felt (and still feel) kind of guilty admitting this. I love my son, and I enjoy playing with him, but … I don’t know. Not as much as I think I’m supposed to.
Later we watched John Green’s Vlogbrothers video from yesterday, and it really struck a chord with me.
John talks about a phrase he heard in a movie he really likes called Rushmore, where a character says “I ain’t even here, Sergeant. I’m in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” John talks about how ever since then, he has used the phrase “Cheyenne, Wyoming” to describe when he is really immersed in a project. He often seems to be not there, even when he is, because his brain is so totally focused on his project.
This is something I can completely relate to. I get more than a little obsessive, and have been known to stay up until one or two in the morning (more shocking when you consider I usually go to bed at nine…) because I can’t sleep because I just HAVE to get started on a project.
And I realized, that’s why I’m feeling a little frustrated with my obligations as a mommy this summer. I’m currently in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
This blog is pretty new for me. At most I’ve been working on it for about a month, which for a blog is really still the baby stage. And I’m so preoccupied with it all the time! All I want to do is sit on the couch and either a) read b) browse Twitter and Instagram or c) write. Instagram has been especially captivating for me because it’s so easy to consume, and because you gain followers so much more quickly (probably because it’s so easy to consume, lol). I constantly find myself planning what pictures I am going to take on what day, which of my already written book reviews should get posted next, what books I am going to read and in what order, how I am going to get said books, etc. I’m still so excited about this blog, the possibilities it offers, and, dare I admit it?, the promise of potential internet fame. What if I *gasp* went viral?
I’ve had projects before. I’ve made two scrapbooks; I’ve cross-stitched; I’ve had a couple of blogs; I’ve written fanfiction; I’ve started a novel; I’ve tried to learn to draw (THAT was the biggest failure OF ALL TIME); I was extremely involved in the Pottermore community for about two years; I’ve tried my hand at photography; I, very briefly, had a YouTube channel; I was fund raising to adopt this time last summer; I’ve made costumes. I mean, you name it, I’ve probably had a project at some point. Usually I get really excited about them, and when the excitement dies down they eventually fizzle out, often unfinished. And I don’t mind that. It’s not like I really wanted to spend the rest of my life becoming a scrapbooking expert!
The reason I really like projects is because they give me focus.
I have an overactive brain. In my head it is constantly go go go go go. There are, at any given time, probably a half dozen things going on in my head, and I don’t really know how to make it stop. And it’s not fun. It keeps me awake at night, it causes me to worry about EVERYTHING, it makes it hard for me to have conversations with human beings, it makes me distracted when I’m spending time with my son. For crying out loud, I can’t even sit and watch TV because I get fidgety and twitchy until I pull out some kind of craft and get my hands busy.
But when I have a project, all of the other stuff goes away.
Here is a list of things I was worrying about constantly before I started this blog, and have barely thought about since:
- My new job next year. Am I going to fit in? Am I going to like it? What if the kids are terrible? What if I get let go again?
- Am I depressed? Do I have anxiety? Should I be in counseling?
- Lesson plans for next year.
- Missing my former best-friend. Wanting to call her, convincing myself it’s a bad idea. This one was almost daily.
- Am I a terrible sister?
- Am I a terrible friend?
- What on earth am I going to cook for dinner for the rest of our lives?
- What if my kid never stops refusing to eat meat and vegetables?
- Should I sign up to teach Sunday School again next year?
- The bushes in the garden still aren’t growing…
- I need to get my son’s Halloween costume done TODAY.
I could probably think of more, but honestly this is making me a little anxious.
As you can imagine, I was not loving life a month ago. Most of these things aren’t even really things to worry about, my brain will just not shut up. Since I’ve started this blog, my brain has been focusing on THAT instead. Focusing on things I can control and influence. A lot of my worrying and anxiety has gone away. And even though I often feel lethargic in the middle of play time or during the fourth toddler tantrum of the day, wishing I was blogging instead, in general I’m feeling a lot happier, and more positive.
I hope that, unlike so many of my other projects, this one doesn’t fizzle out. I’ve always loved to read, that is something that has been true literally my entire life, and I’ve never given up on that. I feel like the rest of this is really just an extension of it. And I am still so hopeful that I might build some real friendships with people who love books as much as I do, because goodness knows none of my friends or family understands!
So, John, I feel you. I understand exactly what you’re going through, and all the good and bad things you mentioned in your video. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me understand it better. I hope you get to come home soon.