Life is not a To Do List

Domi (my hubs) has been studying late into the night for his CPA exam and working almost around the clock. I have found myself, especially, in the last few days creating things for myself to do so that I can be just as exhausted, stressed, and busy as him. While he studies I do laundry. If there is a chore that hasn’t been handled at the end of the day I do it–even if it’s not urgent. Like wrestling with the slipcovers to our outdoor furniture…as if that has to be done at 11pm. I swear I almost pinned myself to the ground with a large cushion…not cute.

I know in my heart, in these moments, I just want to pick up a cup of tea, sit on the sofa, and watch some TV or read a book.

Domi and I used to have the same job—so it was easy to measure my productivity and never feel that one of us worked “more” or “harder” than the other. Then I started a new career path where it’s not so easy to check boxes of things done in a day. Where sometimes I need to take time to get inspired, however, problematically, I was still comparing my work schedule to Domi’s. I was watching him study late into the night thinking—even though he would never agree with this—Domi is going to think I’m lazy if I am not being productive when he’s studying. I need to show him I am still working hard.

So, question. Well, actually several questions.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we focus on all of the things we aren’t able to get done in a day instead of all of the things we do accomplish? Why is it our goal to put ourselves down and make ourselves small when we give our mind time to recover and when we do an activity that brings us joy?

Our productivity is not a measure of our self-worth. We get to define our worth, remember?

I way too often beat myself up for not being superwoman, or for trying and failing, or for trying and succeeding and then being exhausted. This is a lose, lose, lose situation. I beat myself up for taking time to talk to my friends and color in my coloring book and doing things that my brain tells me “aren’t necessary,” but things my heart knows are what will lead to me reaching my highest potential in joy and ultimately will make me a lot better at what I do.

So, here are some things that I have now decided aren’t only fun, but also totally necessary for my mental survival. When times are easy, when times are hard, no matter what times—taking moments to really engage without guilt in joy activities is what I am focusing on. What silly little fun thing do you do to bring you joy? I want a never-ending list, so please, share away!!

1)         Dancing around to an amazing song (Currently, this is Leslie Odom Jr.’s album “Mr.”)

2)         Going for a drive

3)         Calling a friend

4)         Writing a letter to a friend

5)         Coloring in a coloring book—no, Domi, I don’t care how nerdy you think this is…

6)         Journaling

7)         Watching TV

8)         Reading

9)         Taking a bath

10)       Going for a hike (mask on—promise)

11)       Going for a walk (mask also on here)

12)       Making a super special coffee or tea drink that takes way more time than it should

13)       Watching videos of puppies on social media—I mean legitimately, how can you not smile? Yes, Juliette, my entire TikTok feed is puppies, thank you for asking

14)       Giving myself a facial or mani-pedi—I am absolute s?*& at painting my nails, but it’s still so fun

I am going to work on not having guilt about taking time for myself. I will stop constantly comparing my productivity to those around me. SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS: MY PRODUCTIVITY AND MY SELF-WORTH ARE TWO DIFFERENT, UNRELATED THINGS. You are an incredible human no matter how much you get done in one day. You are a fantastic mom, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, partner, father, anything person regardless of how much you get done. Just because your partner is working late into the night doesn’t mean you need to keep working or finding ways to make yourself busy so that you keep the same hours as they do. Newsflash—you probably work two totally different jobs where the requirements are different, and where the expectations are different.

I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” He was totally right. So catch yourself as you start to compare yourself. No one is living the same life you are. No one knows you better than you do. You know what you need. Take care of yourself. Please. For me. We need lots of wonderful, compassionate, loving humans on this planet. Don’t deplete yourself until there is nothing left.

Have an amazing weekend friends. I love you. XOXO, CAMDW

  • Even though I work hard I still find myself wanting others to see how hard and long I work…. It is really bizarre, even the person that “LOOKS LIKE” he or she might be working so much more or harder is probably thinking the same thing!!! Feeling that one needs to earn that respect or admiration or whatever to show others…… wow… we all have it. I am taking the afternoon off and announcing it….
    Maybe….
    thanks for putting into words something that has always been there!

  • OK! Things that bring me joy…reading your blog… staying in touch with friends whether it be a phone call or zoom meeting or cocktailing on our patio with neighbors…reading…painting rocks…need to get back to my coloring books…sitting with Ron on our deck enjoying our bay AND being with my kids and grandkids.

  • Love the Theodore Roosevelt quote…..I am gonna have to remember that one! I always enjoy your writing and videos Chelsea. Can’t wait to see you♡