When You Just Can't Do It All

Lately, I've been getting that too-familiar "overwhelmed" feeling.

Okay, not exactly. Not in the way I used to get it when I was homeschooling and running three businesses and trying to garden and raise chickens and volunteer at church and fundraise for an orphanage and have some energy to connect with my husband at the end of it all.

More like in the way of "I've cut way back on stuff and my life still feels too full and unless I want to go back to living on the edge of a nervous breakdown all the time I have to cut more out."

And a bit like, "Why am I still so tired all the time?"

You see, earlier this year I had a plan to cut back so I could rest and heal. And I did, some. But for me, I thought "cutting back" meant that I could still write books, write for a magazine, and write knitting patterns, plus manage to market the writing and the knitting patterns and do all the accounting required, plus teach piano, not to mention blog, and still manage to confine all of those activities to normal business hours so that I could spend time with my family on most evenings and weekends.

Well, looking back over the first six months of this year, I am coming to a difficult conclusion:

I still can't do it all. Or rather, I'm not doing it all, and feeling like I should be able to do all of that is what's giving me this feeling of overwhelm.

Photo copyright: sifotography/123rf.com

Photo copyright: sifotography/123rf.com

And the thing is, my passions are changing. Writing is becoming a driving focus of my life. I love it way more than I ever thought I would. Even the hard parts. A bad day writing is still better than my best day selling saddle pads ever was.

But here's the scary (to me) thing: I love it more than knitting. To the point that, on my recent week-long holiday, I only brought a single knitting project (the low number is alarming in itself) and didn't knit a single stitch.

Maybe my interests have shifted because I find that working with numbers kills my creativity (the reason why I have historically been perpetually late on my taxes, and why I finally started hiring an accountant to do them for me). I love the creative and design aspects of knitting. I hate writing the patterns out, because it requires a lot of math, and test-knitting the same project over and over again. I have a very simple pattern that truly requires only a little bit more work before it can go live. And it's been sitting on my desk for a year.

Maybe it's because I don't think anyone has ever asked me when my next pattern is coming out--but people ask me when my book is going to be released all the time. When my writing makes enough of an impact on people's lives that they are excited to see my next project, that is exciting to me. Because I'm all about making a positive impact. That's what I feel God put me here to do, and my writing seems to be the way I can do that best.

Seasons Change

Knitting is awesome, and I do love it. I know that my current "dry spell" probably has a lot to do with summer and tax deadlines (yes, they are already submitted and done! Record-breaking year for me!) and book deadlines (as I edit and tweak and edit Finding Heaven some more, due to several hiccups along the way--but that's another post). I know I'll be coming back to knitting when it doesn't feel like a chore--probably when I'm well entrenched into my next writing project and writer's block and winter have both set in.

But I'm starting to feel like, with the limited amount of energy I have, I have to decide, again, which things are worth spending my time on. What are my priorities?

My passions are changing. Writing is becoming a driving focus.

Here's where I'm at right now, in this order:

  1. Investing in my family
  2. Writing for Move Up
  3. Writing books
  4. Marketing for my books (including networking with others)
  5. Teaching piano--"my" kids are awesome!
  6. Spending time with friends
  7. Volunteering at church and community activities
  8. Knitting for fun, including designing
  9. Writing knitting patterns

Fortunately, as much as I hate accounting, my current ventures don't require a lot of it on a monthly business. One evening every couple of months pretty much covers it. (Whoo-HOO! One more reason I'm so glad I don't sell saddle pads anymore, with it's labour-intensive accounting requirements.)

As you can see, this implies that the current dearth of new designs my customers may or may not have noticed (as I said, no one's been asking) is likely to continue. For a short time, I made promotion of My Secret Wish a priority, with the grand notion that I could somehow produce two new designs a year while maintaining those other activities.

But, as I've discovered, I really can't do it all. Not even with copious amounts of tea.

As a multipotentialite, I've often pined for the single-minded focus others seem to have for their few passions. Now, I'm discovering that as my passions becomes more focused, I am actually grieving for those that I must let go.

Not that I'm letting knitting go. I'm thinking of this as more of a temporary separation. I don't want knitting to feel like a chore, and I want to give myself permission not to force myself to do it because I think I ought to. It's meant to be a relaxing outlet, and if it's not that for me, why make myself do it?

So, I'm going to ignore the bins of yarn in my bedroom that mock me with their coat of dust. I'm going to choose to focus on the activities that bring me joy (and income!) at the moment. And when knitting comes back around, I'll embrace it with open arms.

Or maybe I'll figure out how to feasibly hire someone to create the sized patterns from my designs, thus removing the aspects of the job that drag me down.

I'm sure there are creative solutions to that problem. This summer, I intend to let myself off the hook--or the needle, as the case may be--so my subconscious mind can find them.

And read lots and lots of fictions books. (If I can squeeze it in! Lol.)

What about you, friend? Do you find that you grieve when your passions and interests change? Do you have a difficult time letting something go because you feel you ought to want to do it? What solutions have you found to help you keep doing the things you love while letting go of the parts you find distasteful?

Happy Monday!

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