I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
March 4, 2011
In lieu of a long list of soon-to-be forgotten New Year’s resolutions, I decided last year to come up with a word or phrase that I hoped would define the year for me personally.
Last year, the word was ‘discipline.’ There were so many things I wanted to do with my life, as a mom, as a wife, as a writer, even as a housekeeper… and I felt if I worked at having more discipline, I’d have a better chance of accomplishing my goals.
All year long, I kept that one my word in the back of my mind. Discipline, I’d think to myself each time I was faced with a job I didn’t really want to complete. Discipline, I’d say quietly when I had a fantastic idea and didn’t know if I had the energy to carry it out. Discipline, I’d whisper through gritted teeth when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task.
And it worked. By the end of the year, discipline had become a way of life. I still backslide, of course– who doesn’t? But I find it much easier to get back on track and in my “zone” of getting things done. And I’ve grown addicted to that feeling of accomplishment after finishing a difficult or time-consuming task.
This year, my phrase has been “find yourself.” And I don’t mean finding myself in any New Age-y sense. Thanks largely to this blog and your responses, I am all too well acquainted with myself and most of my strengths and shortcomings. I am pretty much sick of myself, if the truth be known.
What I mean by the term is that it’s time for me to stop flitting from one fun-looking project to the next and figure out what I want to do with my life. I know I want to be a writer for the rest of my life- I joke to my husband that writing has sort of become my fifth child- the one that will never leave me. Writing is emotionally fulfilling, it meets my personal wish to do something with my life that will outlast me, it’s a sort of continuing love letter to my children, my children’s children, and so on, and it has within it the potential to make a difference in others’ lives as well.
But I’m 35 now, and it’s time to stop moving aimlessly from one random idea to the next. This is the year that I want to set a serious long term writing goal and stick with it. And first, I need to figure out what that goal is. Where do I see myself in five years? Do I want to have written a memoir? A screenplay? A novel? Do I want to focus on spirituality? Family? Fashion?
I’m happy with how far I’ve come in the last five years as a writer. But I realized at the end of last year that I had never really set any specific goals. What was I doing? Where was I going?
I had no idea.
I tell you this now because I’m guessing that many of you can identify with what I’m going through. Motherhood has a way of causing us to set aside our own personal goals in favor of helping our children reach theirs. And while many of us have careers, it’s all too easy for our jobs to become nothing more than hoops that we jump through each day in order to put food on the table.
If you don’t have a clear picture of where you’d personally like to be in five years, there’s a problem. At the beginning of this year, I didn’t have that mental image. Now, I’m in the process of forming it.
That process already has led me to make some major changes. After much deliberation, I put Bruiser in preschool three days a week at the beginning of this year. This was a big step for me- Punky, as many of you know, didn’t go to preschool at all. But Bruiser is a different child, and I’m at a slightly different stage in my life. He is loving the preschool experience and I am loving having the time to get my work done in peace, to have a little space to dream and plan for the future, and to be done with all of my tasks each day when I pick up the kids from school.
You can read about the second big change I’ve made here. After five years of writing a weekly newspaper column, I’ve decided to use that time instead to work on longer-term projects. I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, wondering what I could do if I had a month to work on an essay rather than a week. Now, I’m finally going to find out.
Third, I’m working on myself personally, if you haven’t already figured that out. As most of you know, my spiritual life is very important to me. I’ve discovered that I’m a better, happier, more fulfilled wife, mother and woman when I have a structured spiritual life, and so I make time to go to church every week. I’m part of a weekly women’s Bible study group. And my husband and I meet every other week with a small community group of couples from my church.
By the end of this year, I’m hoping to have a clear picture in my mind of where I’m going, and what I want to do with my life. I’m 35. It’s time to get my act together and get this show on the road.
I’d love to know if you can empathize. Do you have a clear image of your own long-term personal goals, or has your role as a wife and mother made everything else a blur? How do you make room for yourself and your own needs and wants?