Growth & Inspiration

My Blogging Break: Busy is Not Successful

Busy is Not SuccessfulI’m baaaack. If you are on the go and don’t have time to read this podcast, check our the audio file on below.

No life can be predicted or planned to a T. You move new places, fall in love, hate love, meet new people, fall back in love, travel and catch the trains of opportunities as they fly by in varying routes. Everyone’s path is distinctively their own. I’ve thought about this a lot as I try to find my own train. I get easy distracted, spill my coffee on my map, get lost, and ask all of the bystanders around me which train I’m supposed to catch—as if they know where I belong. In the grand scheme of things, I missed a lot of trains.

At the station of our lives everything seems abounding and almost overwhelming, but was it always like that? Adolescence has a familiar workflow, a rather calculated trajectory that directs us from point A to point B. You’re taught to get good grades to get accepted into best colleges. Go to the best college to earn the best internships. Do your best at those internships to get the best job. Find a good husband so you can start a great family. It makes sense. I get adolescence.

If you must ask, what I don’t get is adulthood. We find our space in society to function and that’s it? You’re content and loved. You have a fantastic job, an amazing partner who understands you and you make enough to afford the clothes from Anthropologie’s fall collection. I have all of these things. I feel like the natural wiring of my brain’s itinerary would be expected to skip to the next chapter: marry your boyfriend, buy a house together, have a baby, climb the corporate ladder, retire. If that is the way I was raised to think then my brain wiring, well, malfunctioned somewhere down the line—figuratively and literally.

Let’s start with the figurative malfunction…

Malfunctioning isn’t a bad thing. (Remember when Eleven breaks out of the creepy prison in Stranger Things when she would have been expected to function as piece in the US Department of Energy’s sadistic puzzle? Or when the giant furnace garbage compactor stops right before that TERRIBLE scene in Toy Story 3 where every millennial in the theater cried their eyes out as our favorite cartoon toys held hands waiting to die? Malfunctions can save people, well, fictional toys and people.) I, like many of you, am wired to want a lot of unexpected, scary, big things… more than I thought I could handle.

I want the fantastic job I already have, the boyfriend I have, the future we may possibly have, the promotion I hope to have—all of it. What I also want is confounding; it spins me in my place and makes dizzy when I try to catch the non-stop train to that comfortable future picket fence and retirement plan.

I want my creativity to live here on this blog, in newspapers, in magazines, and at my office job. I want my thoughts and writing to be seen. I want to say things and do things that help change the course of the lives of others. I want to read your comments and e-mails while feeling like this little project that started in my bedroom at 2 a.m. has a purpose. More importantly, I want to find and feel confident in a purpose.

I think we all have more than one purpose in life. We can be chef/engineer, a writer/scientist, or a social media manager/journalist/blogger like me. It’s possible, but the important thing is to not only believe in yourself, but BE KIND to yourself.

The literal malfunction…

You all may know but I work a full-time job, write for publications, and write at this blog. Cup of Charisma started as a way to get writing jobs, and ta-da—I got a few. It also helped catapult my career in social media, a side of communications I didn’t know I’d love so much.

It all sounds wonderful—I get it. I know you’re cringing reading this and are about to deem me moronic, privileged. I LOVE these things in my life and wouldn’t ever want to change them, what I don’t love is how I treat myself to pursue them.

Earlier in September, I had a strange bout of migraines and nausea that I didn’t really calculate to be much. The worst bout of sickness came after a high-stress conversation with my family and boyfriend about life in general. (Everyone who knows me knows that I will spew my ambitions and deep life questions like a faucet when asked how my day was.)

The following day I woke up and my face completely fell asleep on one side. I kid you not, I thought I was a 27-year-old stroke victim. Of course, I resorted to WebMD instead of a doctor. There’s a Rilo Kiley lyric that says, “I do this thing when I think I’m real sick, but I won’t go to the doctor to find out about it because they make you stand real still in a real small space as they chart up your insides and put you on display. They’d see all of it, all of me, all of it. All of the good that won’t come out of me.”

I think of this lyric every damn time I go see her. Despite all of these jobs and what life looks like on the outside, my internal instincts tell me I’m not good enough to be more than decent. This time, I ditched Jenny Lewis’ song and I actually called a doctor; she told me to come in immediately. To make this long long story short, I damaged my trigeminal nerve—this typically happens to women in their 50s. It’s a nerve that controls the whole left side of your face and if damaged enough it can cause permanent pains that the internet calls “excruciating.” I just irritated the nerve endings, but it was a reality check.

No, I don’t have multiple sclerosis and I’m not an aging women over 50. What causes MOST health problems in this country? Stress. My doctor clued me in: I have one body and if I don’t calm down and stop judging myself so hard I’m going to permanently ruin it.

The Resolution?

While I enjoy taking my passions to the next level at full speed, I am making a promise to stop killing my body in an effort to maintain it. I’m still going to be a dreamer and a doer, but I’m adding self-care to my growing to-do list. This blog will undoubtedly exist, but so will Saturdays and Sundays of mental rest.

Being “busy” is not the equivalent of being “successful” and it’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

I’m back, rejuvenated and excited to take on this journey of making my goals become realities, but they keyword is “reality.” We are not superhuman and we need to make the time to enjoy the quiet spaces between one dream to the next. When you do hop on the train you’re meant to be on, with all its many stops, are you going to stare stressed at your screen while the world’s scenery just meets your peripherals? The world needs your full attention; YOU need your full attention.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Jillian – I absolutely adore this post and can relate to it more than I can
    put into words. I’ve always been an overachiever and want to be the best I set my mind to. I love my blog and want it to be successful, but, I’ve had to cut back to save both my mental and physical health. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding me that it’s ok to say no and to take time to stop and smell the roses! I hope you continue to feel better and are able to find the balance you need in your life!!

    – Emily