We all do some reflection from time to time right? We think back to what we were doing this time last week, last month, last season or maybe last year. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can shrug off the results of that reflection: “meh, same ol’, same ol’,”. But there have been a few times in life when my response to my reflective thoughts has been a lot more along the line of “Holy cow, stop the rollercoaster, the merry go round, the run away train.”
Do you know what I mean? We’re meandering along in a lovely season of life, and the road ahead looks partly cloudy with a scatter of showers. And then before you know it: DELUGE RAINSTORM. And we’re all, “Where the heck did that come from?” Tell me you’ve been there.
Our family is wading through, fighting through, such a rainstorm right now. Although a realist, I can also find the bright side of almost anything, or at least find the strength to be grateful for the hard stuff, so my response to this is, of course, “All is good!”
I jotted down a few observations, thoughts, and lessons about what I’ve learned over the past few weeks–lessons from a harder season–and wanted to share them with you.
- Mental health is a real issue. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for about two years. The appointments are quick, easy, and painless. I tell her how I’m doing, and she tells me what my brain is doing. She knows I’m not a huge fan of medication, but she also is wise, and she tells me that there is no shame in asking for help when I need it. So I’m back on a very low dose of stuff to help me deal with ADHD and mild depression, and she’s a saint. Lesson: when life gets hard, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
- If you love something, hold it loosely. Last year, Day Designer dove into a deeper partnership with my friends over at Blue Sky. After working together on the Target projects for several years, we saw a great alignment in their expertise and my desire to spend more time with our family. We’ve spent the past several months getting to know them even better, synchronizing our teams and product development calendars, dreaming up lots of big stuff that is way bigger than anything I’d ever be able to execute on my own. This transition has had it’s own share of fresh discoveries, but as we’re starting to lay down plans for 2019 and beyond, what’s unfolding is truly beautiful. To me, it’s a testament to the fact that if you roll with life’s changes, the results may surprise you. Lesson: we were not meant to stay in the same place for the rest of our lives.
- “I don’t know how you do it all!” Let’s get this one out of the way: I am not one of those people who can “do it all”. I cannot multitask. Wherever I am, I’m all in, until I’m not, and then I reenergize by hopping to another project. My daily creative life is a series of half-finished projects, all of them glorious in the middle of their own messy process. I don’t know why I love this mess; I don’t know why this delights me. I wish I could organize, clean, and tidy. I wish I could simplify, minimize, and eliminate. But for me, friends, those things are BATTLES. I mean, it’s really, really hard stuff. I recognize the value of the disciplines, though, and disciplines they are, so the disciplines I will try to practice. And as I fail, I will try again tomorrow. Ultimately, I “do it all” the same way you “do it all”: to the best of my ability, never perfect, and always in process. Lesson: be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.
- The joy is in the journey. In the spirit of rolling with whatever life throws at you, our family has once again found ourselves in a season of stewardship, restraint, and creativity. You could call it a budget, if you want to, but that doesn’t sound as sexy as stewardship, restraint, and creativity. At any rate, we are, for better or worse, challenging ourselves to be resourceful, to use what we have, to sell what we don’t need, and to let go of anything that is weighing us down. We are choosing to intentionally shift, instead of unintentionally drift, and we are taking some big steps of blind faith into a life that feels unknown. I love looking at this “budget season” as one of adventure and cleansing, instead of drudgery and hostage. Lesson: it’s all about how you look at it.
- You’re allowed to scratch any creative itch you want to scratch. I mentioned in the past couple of weeks that I am planning on relaunching my online course later this year, under the new name The Joyful Brand. I’m still working on this. I gave myself a deadline, but I’ve seen a few curveballs since then. In the spirit of above mentioned resourcefulness, I’ve been running a pop-up shop on weekends, learning about being a brick-and-mortar retailer. Last weekend, I sold a painting! I never considered myself that type of artist, but I’m learning that I label myself far more than others do. This weekend, the plan is to do the pop-up as a floral shop, but like all plans, I’m learning that they’re often written in pencil and sand, not ink and concrete. I hope to use what I learn as fresh content for the online course, so I’m taking all kinds of notes as I go. Those two journeys are currently only on Instagram, if you want to follow along on the road to launching The Joyful Brand online course, or the retail pop-up at Gingham Home. Lesson: you do you, to the best of your ability, and leave the shame and guilt at home.
This is our season. So tell me, have you ever found yourself in a “sudden thunderstorm” type of season? Did you have any takeaways or lessons that might be an encouragement to others? Share in the comments, if you like.