A Moment in My Life – Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Jeannie Yee Davis
I’m not sure how it happened, but it did—my life took off without me, leaving me trailing behind—overwhelmed. The next thing I knew, I had way too much to handle and no idea what to do with it all. It turned out that back in early February, writing a “Dear Future Me” letter to read on my birthday in July was a grand idea. The premise for a “Dear Future Me” letter is a letter to oneself years in the future. I wrote one of those for 2026, but I want this project to be productive, so I composed one for six months later to assess my objectives. I remember a few items in this letter. It was an eye-opening revelation of the other things I forgot in a mere six months. As we gallop along through the months, who has time to think about where we were heading—especially when unexpected people and events pop into your life?
At the beginning of 2021, I listed projects I wanted to achieve this year. I did good in breaking them down into work-related, domestic, and personal plans with a timeline attached to each, more or less. I was excited and eager to hit the road hard and fast. During one of our phone chats, my friend Noreen and I shared what we planned on achieving in 2021, and the more we talked, the more excited we got. It felt like such a sure thing that we planned a celebratory trip together for the spring of 2022.
I knew that Shelter in Place was nearing the end, and once the world around me reopened, I would lose my freedom and have to incorporate the outside world into my day. Sure, I looked forward to hanging out with people and doing things with others, but something has to give when that happens. We exchange our time for something. During a video chat with my friend, Andrew, I suggested a creative project that I thought was right up his alley when he mentioned all the distractions that he faces. His words flipped on a lightbulb in my mind because that was the exact thing troubling me lately. I’ve been feeling like the days at the office where as soon as people showed up for work, people pulled me this way and that, and I spent my day putting out fires and never getting to the mounting pile of papers on my desk. How is that possible when I’m my own boss now? I’m still in hibernation, meaning I have all day to spend however I see fit. How is it that I have no time to even stay current in my planner? This is alarming, people! What’s to happen when we return to “normal” life?
My letter reminded me of the priorities I had at the beginning of the year. The good news—I accomplished a couple of my goals, but the majority—the important ones require way more fleshing out. Here it is July, more than half the year is over, and I barely touched what was most important to me when the year began. Why? What happened? It was such a sure thing six months ago. How did I fail? Life happened. I added more people and projects to my world that weren’t there when I wrote my letter—all distractions. Distractions don’t necessarily mean negative. Distractions can be positive. Bottom line, a distraction is a distraction, which can make or break best-made plans. I’m not going to mention what those distractions were because, like my sister would say, “it’s neither here nor there.” The important thing is how to get back on course with the amount of time I have left.
As long as I am constantly reassessing my goals, I stand a fighting chance of success. Once I identified my distractions, I began a plan to eliminate those that create no value in my life. For the distractions that add positivity and joy, I reduced the amount of stimulation from them to maintain a healthy balance.
Falling off course this far into the year is alarming. I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t lose sleep and didn’t have anxiety over this, but it is what it is. Freaking out doesn’t solve the problem. I prayed to God for direction and to fill my soul with His peace, and it’s incredible how quickly He answers our prayers. With a calm demeanor and a few good night’s sleep, everything looks hopeful again.
I’m a firm believer that timing is everything. And, I am a big believer in taking time off in the summer. When I was working in the office, I always took two weeks off in July, but I never remember to take vacay when I became my own boss. Last year, I took my birthday off, but it was such an overwhelmingly joyful but busy day that I decided to take two days off for my birthday moving forward. This year, I planned for the two days, but after July began, I suddenly remembered about vacay, so instead of taking two days off, I took two weeks off to get my act together and to enjoy my birthday. This year, I spent a few days celebrating with dear friends who helped make this a wonderful birthday considering all things. It turned out, the celebrations with different people were a pleasant and welcomed distraction that was just what God planned to help shake me out of my rut. However, without knowing it, all those previous months of distractions exhausted me beyond belief. I ended up needing a third week of vacay to overcome the burnout I was experiencing.
Once I corrected the distractions and executed my new plans and good habits into my daily routine, I am finally back on the main road. Hopefully, with the months remaining, I can achieve my goals this time. After all, what better time to reassess than after a birthday? This is the best time to get back on track.