I kept track of my time on a recent day, just as I would if I were billing a client. I wrote detailed entries about what I accomplished (or attempted to) down to each fifteen-minute interval. It was a pain. But it made me see that I’m not idle in this stay-at-home time and have no cause for guilt, as my over-bearing ego would have me believe.
It also made me see that time quite literally flies by when I’m taking care of my baby. Feeding, changing, playing with and loving him in general simply eats up the time. Forty-five minutes will be gone in the blink of an eye and I’ll still be snuggled in looking at little earlobes and such. Mom-guilt starts early and like all guilt, is a wasted emotion.
Releasing guilt is hard, but it would be a hard thing worth doing.
Mid-January, I decided that Doing Hard Things would be my theme for this year, as opposed to any sort of resolution.
Along that vein flow many more desires.
Hard Thing #2: I want to grow out my natural hair color and quit using blonde from a bottle. I’ve been highlighting my hair for two decades and as its structure changes with age, it’s actually starting to break off. Full stop. At 43, I have quite a lot of gray and a distressing amount of vanity still. As many women do, I’ve erroneously tied a piece of my identity to my hair. But we are not our hair, even though that’s hard to self-actualize. Our men go gray with grace and style, becoming more handsome and “distinguished”, while we women use crazy chemicals and spend insane amounts of money and time on our hair in the name of staying young looking. If we buck that trend, we are judged harshly by some and pitied by others. But, it’s not my job to look a certain way so that others approve. I want to feel and look healthy for my own sake. This year I aim to join the ranks of the silver-streaked queens in training.
Hard Thing #3: Last year I declined news feature writing work in order to have more time for personal writing goals. But did I avidly pursue those goals? Nope. Not even close. Now with an infant in tow, it will be even harder in this and the coming years, and yet I’m getting no younger. If I want to write the stories that have been buzzing in my brain for the better part of a decade, there’s no time like the present. In fact, there’s NO time other than Now. My book isn’t going to write itself in some future that doesn’t exist. This year, I aim to sit down and put words on paper regardless of how terribly they may be arranged.
Hard Thing #4: Northerly Park is calling my name. It’s fallen to the back burner, and the more time that passes the less likely we are to secure funding. The NW Angle has no public areas, no public restrooms, trails, viewpoints, picnic spots, boat launches, docks to fish from, not even a public bench to sit on. There’s one small historical marker on how The Angle geographically came to be, but nothing else. When day-trip visitors arrive, they often drive around aimlessly, find random people to ask questions of, and miss whole sections of this beautiful place. I want to change that. I want The Angle to be accessible to the next generation of resort-goers, not just those who have reservations today. How to build a park lands far above my volunteer pay-grade, but this year, I aim to work with county officials and Angle neighbors to get Northerly Park planning restarted.
Hard Thing #5: My sister got me interested in barn quilts – large wooden geometrically-painted “quilt blocks” displayed on sheds or barns throughout the countryside. In other parts of Minnesota and the country, many of these art pieces form Barn Quilt Trails and geocache points. In my self-appointed role as a make-believe ambassador for the area (aren’t we all such?), I’d love to help form a trail leading through our northern towns, Canada and up to the NW Angle, bringing treasure hunters and outdoor art viewers to the area. In fact, there’s already a barn quilt on a large shed near the US/Canadian border north of Warroad. Who made it? When? And, why? This year, I want to help organize barn quilt building parties in Warroad, Roseau and here at The Angle. We could set up online information that would help visitors find them, as well as tell the stories behind the barn quilts and their creators. Has anyone already done this? Does anyone want to help?
These are all Hard Things to do if I look at the end result only. But doing one small piece at a time will make it more manageable. Yes, this will be the year to do hard things!
Published Feb 19th, 2019 in the Warroad Pioneer