Permission Granted

It’s no secret that I’ve been exceptionally busy these past few months. Although, busy may have become an understatement. Somewhere along the lines of shuffling the kids (and myself) from activities, to work, to school, to whatever extra things come up (and they always do…parties, field trips, school projects, social commitments, the works), I fell astray. I became disoriented in that shuffle; I lost my focus on where I want to go, and what matters right now. I was in so deep on the hustle, that I failed to remember that I’m still currently on a journey, and I started to fall into old habits of people pleasing and being a “yes” woman.

I began to take on more (and more)- can you be there? Yes. Can you do this? Make that? Prepare this? Yes, yes, yes. Before I knew it, I had almost no hours of down time (maybe two a week?). I mean that literally. By the time I’d get the hustle of the day done, and kids in bed, I crash, too- and then it’s five in the morning, and I’m starting that sprint all over again. It was too much: too much for me, too much for my kids. Self-care fell totally to the wayside: I haven’t even snuck in one of my favorite things (epsom salt baths!), let alone get a pedicure or acupuncture or even just a few hours of time to sit. Last week, with my mom in town, I picked up a book (Braving the Wilderness, by Brene’ Brown). I haven’t gotten very far yet, but in one of the first chapters, the author finds herself “checking out” of a major life moment by running a laundry list of things she had to get done in her head (including filling out a permission slip for her daughter at school). Suddenly, she decided to sit down, and write herself a permission slip. She gave herself permission to be in the moment. To enjoy, and be silly, and not take life too seriously, and really experience this surreal event that was about to happen. 

This got me thinking; over the course of the first year of life after Kenny was gone, I’d given myself permission on a lot of things. To be selfish, to care only about my kids and I, to do whatever I had to do to get us set up, and our eyes focused forward. The last few months, as things started to “take off,” I did a classic “Megan” move: self-sabotage. I let myself get caught up in minute details, let myself get overwhelmed and shut down. I spent all of my time (once again) keeping my head above water, instead of swimming to my destination.

Yesterday morning, as I once again sensed that “overwhelmed” feeling come over me, I’d had enough, and knew something had to change. Remembering that little exercise Brene’ had written about, I turned my vision board into a “You have my permission,” board. I thought about all of the little things holding me back from my goals, from finding a good balance, and from furthering myself on my path. Just writing some of these things, acknowledging them “out loud,” made me feel like a weight was lifted. It helped me to reassess life as it is right now, and decide where I need to scale back. 

It also helped me realize that while I have big (enormous really) goals for myself and our family, at the end of the day, I need a life, too. I need to be Mom, I need to be Megan, I need to have time for them, I need to have time for me. There’s no point in getting to where I’m going if I missed all the good stuff along the way; so I’ve officially given myself permission to slow down. Whether I doggy paddle or freestyle, I’ll get there eventually, and it’ll be a lovely swim. 

Megan Courtney