I'd meant to write a post in anticipation of my birthday, but May 3rd came and went. I questioned whether I should even share a general update/check-in because when my posts aren't as consistent as they once were, I feel like they have to be more impactful and meaningful. I go through this cycle in life quite frequently, second-guessing myself and then doing nothing at all. But I've come to understand the importance of showing up, even when it's not the way I initially intended. Which leads me here. I set some goals around my birthday and wanted to share them in case they end up resonating with anyone else.
As I approached 39, things felt like they were starting to unravel a bit and I realized I needed to make some changes. My work/life balance was nonexistent, my chronic neck pain had intensified and I was in a bit of a creative rut. It's difficult to admit to myself that I was (and still am occasionally) burnt out, but even more frightening to admit that publicly. But I've been at the same job for nearly 15 years, so I suppose I shouldn't be either shocked or disappointed that at times I feel exhausted and uninspired. I find the balancing act on social media so much harder than before - running a business (which requires promoting brands I love as well as our own shop) and talking about fun, frivolous things while simultaneously navigating a world that feels really heavy. And giving voice to my personal frustrations also doesn't feel right, given how fortunate I am, so I remain quiet and subsequently distant. I'm hoping that by giving voice to it I'll have an easier time granting myself the permission to take breaks. We talk a lot with Sloan about not being so hard on herself, that she doesn't have to do things perfectly. I've been so focused on giving her the tools, that I'd failed to realize I wasn't allowing myself the same grace. So I made some mid-year shifts.
I started going back to therapy. I'd written it off during the pandemic since I didn't find Zoom as beneficial a medium, but basically stopped all mental health practices in doing so. While meditation always sounded like something my best self would do, under the shade of the giant Eucalyptus on our balcony, I usually preferred doom-scrolling on my phone inside instead (not something I'd recommend). It's no surprise that given the enormity of the last couple of years, my anxiety has been higher than ever. So I started going back to therapy. It's not every week like it once was, but it's a start. I'm beginning to learn that small steps are more important than staying stagnant.
I also found a physical therapist to finally address the neck issues that have been plaguing me for over a decade. And I make it a point to move most days of the week, either in the form of an hour-long hike or a 20-minute session of weights. And I stretch and ice regularly, even though it's one of my least favorite things to do. My mental health is so closely tied to my physical activity (or lack thereof), so I've been attempting to stick to a routine that doesn't feel intimidating.
And perhaps the most exciting thing to report is that I've found a new hobby I adore. I'd wanted to take ceramics for years (nbd I wrote about it here in 2014) and finally signed up for classes at a local studio. It's something I do just for myself, without the added pressure of capturing it for content, and there's something so grounding about the whole process of working on a wheel. Sitting still, being focused entirely on one thing, using my hands, getting dirty, and learning a skill has been enormously gratifying and the studio is such a lovely escape. I had forgotten how good it feels to do something new, to go through the process of trying and failing, asking others for help, and even being pleasantly surprised with the results.