So, my birthday challenge to myself this year was to spend 90 minutes on each of the following activities: running, painting, writing, and quilting.
And survey says... Nope. Nada. Not one.
And that was fine.
I have no real goals around my writing other than to post on my blog more consistently (I'm shooting for five times a month). And to be willing to take more risks in what I share - that is, to write more about passions other than running.
And quilting can be done when the kids are around; in fact, Buddy is very interested in the process and wants to be more a part of it.
(I did train for 90 minutes, but a combination of running and boxing. Originally I'd planned this day for the week before and doing a long run fit into my training schedule. It didn't then work out to do another long run so soon after that one.)
But this year, more so than any other, I have precious little time for myself. Not so much in the daily routine - that has changed some, as I've written about before, but I've gotten used to those changes. No, what I'm missing now are days off to myself.
I've been at my place of work now a long time, and one of the many benefits of that is lovely amounts of paid time off. I am truly grateful for this.
In the past I've used some of the time off to take a day for myself now and again. As recovery from a particularly busy time at work, for example, or if the kids have been sick for a while, or if there's been rough weather. Or just to catch up around the house some.
But in the past half year a couple of things have changed. One is that my eldest has started public school, with all the holidays and teacher development days and snow days that go along with it that we didn't have to worry about before. But my youngest is still in daycare, with all those attendant sick days (daycare policies often require keeping a child home for 24 hours after a symptom has receded, so something that would only keep Buddy home one day - if at all - may keep Goo out for two). That's a lot of days when someone has to be home with them.
The second issue is that The Dude's work situation has changed, so that he is no longer comfortable taking time off, despite having the same kind of days available to him as I do. So all those days off from school? On me.
All that is to say that when I got my day off... my precious, lovely day off... after I had done my run and attended to some business, I did not want to "challenge" myself any more than I needed to in order to feel that I had used my time well.
(I've also actively been working on personal development stuff since going through a 30-day program last November: setting a program of study, checking in each week with another person around goals, establishing one new habit a month. So I feel pretty on top of "challenging" myself right now.)
So how did that change things for me?
I slowed down and allowed myself to have more time to just relax (ie., read!). And also to do some household activities that would allow me to have more breathing space in the week. I cut the writing time back in half - I know I'll keep moving on these essays I have started. I dropped the quilting piece altogether - I hadn't gotten all my prep work done anyway, and the work I have next can just as easily be done with the kids around.
And I cut down the painting time too. Maybe with time I'll again have the marathon painting sessions I used to when I was single and alone. But for right now it's enough to just keep moving forward and aiming for consistency - painting or drawing something every day and now once a week spending a little more time working on the established paintings. One of my birthday presents was a dedicated work table - hooray! - so now I can leave things set up, paintings and paint alike, which should make it easier to keep moving on them. (At least until my house guests come later this week.)
Once I allowed myself to let go and not "challenge" myself, it was a lovely day.
I may even do another one, next quarter.