b a l a n c e
I remember in May, my word of the month was simplicity. I think that was a good word for me at that time to really dig down and figure out what the really key things in my life were. What was best for myself and my family to figure out the balance. I won't repeat how my life was out of balance but you can read about it in my previous posts. It has taken me a few months of stepping back to really dial down and figure out where I was out of balance.
The first thing I needed to do was get all my ties to the MCC store buttoned up and checked off. This took a while. Moving out, moving merchandise to various locations and financially going down the list to cancel accounts associated with the store. There was actually a lot to this.
The next thing I needed to do was to spend more time with my kids this summer. I tried to push everything else that was out of balance in my life and focus on my kids. I didn't paint much this summer. I didn't really even need to, I had so much inventory left from my store closing.
Once the kids went back to school I wanted to spend a good month going through my furniture back stock, assess where I was in my business, paint through some things, get my studio organized and fixed up, get my bookkeeping sorted out with my bookkeeper. I am almost there.
I got several big road blocks out of the way towards balance but I still was unsettled and uneasy and I now that some big things are buttoned up I can start to dig deep and try to figure out this balance thing.
Honestly the first thing I started to do last month was pray hard and diligently really for peace in my heart. I am not exactly sure how to manage this balance thing so I need to pray for major guidance on it. The interesting thing about being quiet and diligent in prayer is I started to see small puzzle pieces come together that I know weren't coming from me. I would literally tear up when I noticed these small things.I also started to notice negativity coming from other people. Some people don't like it when you start figuring things out and getting your happy back. It is weird how this happens. Let me give you an example. Last Tuesday I woke up to really hateful DM on my MCC account, from a fake Instagram account. I won't go into it much further than the last sentence was "You are pathetic". That was actually not the worse thing in the email. The thing is I know who wrote it. That might even be worse that some random internet troll. At first it hurt and then I thought about how this person was trying to throw me off balance. The email was a mirror of how they saw themselves, it didn't really have anything to do with me. And this person doesn't even know me, never met me. And it didn't work. I spent the entire day in my studio painting a beautiful buffet, I knocked it out of the park. And then later that afternoon I got a call from someone in the business I admire so much and never met. Out of the blue. It was an interesting day and a spotlight on focusing in prayer for guidance.
The next thing I did, starting yesterday was to sit down and write a list about the things that bring me joy. The things that balance out the things that happen to me in life that I can't control and distract me from my happy. This is my list and it is really incomplete but it is a starting point. Some things might be superficial and I try to be deeper than this, but sometimes a clean house makes you happy.
*my list for my balance*
-Happy kids. When I really go back and figure out when I started to feel out of balance it is around the time we found out my son has autism 3 years ago. Ask anyone that has gone through this. There is a period of mourning for both parents and child. And a lot questions. Life the way you knew it changes. I could write a book about this. All I wanted to do was work so hard I could help provide financially for my children but be around as much as I can. I actually started to worked so hard that this backfired on me (hence closing my store).
Time with Saint- We very rarely get much time alone. In the beginning of the summer we would take nightly walks alone in the neighborhood and I love this! But starting mid summer we didn't feel like we could leave the kids alone for 45 minutes because they bicker so much. Yes, this is normal. Yes, it is different when you have a child on the autism spectrum with sensory issues. So we spend a lot of time with our kids and not alone. We are hoping for a trip to New York later this fall and we should probably find a better babysitter so we can do things like going to the movies together more.
Clean house- Ugh. My house is a mess. Ever wonder why I don't show my upstairs? I do not currently have my home organized the way that would help me feel good about it. My basement is a dumping ground of stuff and has been for years, same as our attic. I worked 7 days a week for years. Even when I was not at a store. I was buying, picking stuff up, going to the hardware store, painting and bringing things into a shop. There was no way working 7 days a week gave me balance for an organized house! I would love to spend more time cleaning out clutter and finishing painting half painted walls all over my home.
Finances- When you start a business and you want to grow it, you reinvest your profit right back into your business (after you pay expenses). If you really want to grow, you don't really pay yourself for a long time. Well, I pay myself here and there but not nearly enough for how much time I was spending away from my family and not nearly enough for my effort. And not enough to really help my family financially as needed. Again, another reason I closed my store. I am not in "building" mode anymore, just maintenance and I can slow down and pay myself more. But still, retail is up and down during different seasons and I need to have a job. This is where I struggled a lot with last year. Figuring out how to keep my business (not necessarily selling at a store but my business) and doing other things to make money. I really diversified my business services this year and this helped a lot (custom, staging, design). I also knew I should get a job to go along with my business. This is something I have prayed and prayed about. And I have decided to get my real estate license this fall. I am SO excited about it. It marries well with my business, I was a loan consultant in my early 20s and I love real estate. And I think I will be good at it. I know going into it I will be working 7 days a week again but there will still be flexibility.
Exercise- Oh, I lost myself the last two years. Mostly I was working so much, and trying to balance it all, that exercise completely fell off my schedule. I was an athlete and dancer my whole life so taking this off the schedule has led to weight gain, mild depression, and not feeling good about myself. I have to get this back. I would love a running buddy in the morning. I need someone to get me up at 6am and run stairs. Or I need to go right after I drop the kids off at school. If I wait until later in the day I start working and it doesn't happen.
Spirituality- I grew up going to church every week. It was a huge part of my life. After I had my kids we stopped going to church. When my daughter was little she was a biter, wouldn't sit still, and Cooper (now knowing is autism, it makes sense) could not behave in church. I got very frustrated every week and we just stopped going. Then I worked on the weekends and we couldn't go. I miss it. I need grounding in it. It helps me. I am working on it.
Looking at my list no wonder I felt so off balance the last few years. I put my business first without realizing it and even with good intentions. I did it so I could help provide for my family but really I think it ultimately hurt us. So I printed out my list and I need to look at it everyday. It feels good to have things on the right path to balance. For the first time in a long time I am excited about things to come.
XO - Alison