Making Space

making spaceDo I have room in my life for this?

A helluva question. Once I’ve been asking myself lately — a lot. (Not alot.)

I mean, I’m sitting over here like a Southern Baptist at a Pride parade, scared out of my gourd and wondering where I should begin. So many things excite me, terrify me, excite me in the most terrifying way…

It’s actually pretty splendid.

But it makes me ask — repeatedly — do I have room in my life for this? when new shiny objects come along.

Maybe you know the feeling.

I wish I could always be the beacon of sanity for you, but the truth is closer to a certain level of madness — one that balances ever-so-precariously between brilliance and batshit crazy that not even I know which way the needle will tip on Tuesday at 2:43PM (MT, of course).

And I’ve come to a bit of a conclusion about where my life is at right now: I’m a whole lot self-centric, a little bit of an inflexible asshole, and that’s all just fine and dandy with me.

It’s about making space. And there are just some things that I’m not willing to make space for right now. 

That’s about the most adult confession I’ve made in the past 10 days. I mean, aside from when I vomited a 12-page “manifesto” on my mentor and speaking coach last Sunday, admitting things that are none of your business but you’ll probably end up hearing about in some way. I spent the rest of last Sunday with a delusion-inducing headache that led me to see The Internship. It’s Wedding Crashers at Google — save your $11. It also would have been funnier about five years ago. I did, however, enjoy the person behind me’s foot firmly planted on my right footrest for the duration of the film. Who the fuck does that? This dude was probably the same asshole on the plane who thinks that the armrest in front of him is a footrest, thinking nothing of bestowing upon me his sock-clad eau-du-pied for the duration of a Denver-to-La Guardia jaunt.

But I digress. Also, this picture is fucking hilarious.

Maybe you know what it feels like to be excited about getting shit done.

I wake up every day, completely stoked about what’s on my calendar. Completely stoked about who is on my calendar. Basically, I’m burning in a constant state of stoked and the coolest part is that the fire is burning — and goddamn, is it burning big, bright, and hot (I said godDAMN).

And none of this would be possible if I weren’t in a state of exclusionary self-care.

Over the weekend, I had an acquaintance remind me that (when I mentioned that dating doesn’t really interest me at present) with every breath I take, my ovaries are shriveling and nearing a prune-like state, soon to be devoid of reproductive capability.**

**The exact quote was more along the lines of, “Oh, I thought you wanted to have a family. Didn’t you just turn 40?”

But in my current state of exclusionary self-care, dating is the last thing on my list of priorities. I believe that successful relationships come along when two people are willing to make room for one another. I’m just not that person right now. And while a colleague and friend of mine did offer to be my wingman, how can I start something when I’m pouring my energy into that fire I have burning?

The bottom line is that I wrote the book (literally) on reproductive timelines. The Smithsonian hasn’t yet called to bring my ovaries into their collection, so I’m going to keep on keeping on.

I used to be so completely dishonest with myself about what I had room for in my life at any particular juncture that I was the one who ended up shafted. I sold myself short, never making room for the things I loved and craved.

And now, I’m finally honoring those things without guilt. I have plenty of time for my friends and family, but I’ve been paring back on tasks that don’t align with taking care of myself.

Like certain speaking engagements that don’t fit with where I want my career trajectory to go.

Like certain types of work that pay like a motherfucker on rocket fuel, but leave me staring at my production schedule with a fuck you-flavored glare.

It’s funny — my path of exclusionary self-care is actually making room for getting the right shit done. I’m not worried about the things I’m excluding from my list right now. When it’s time to make space for them, I have full confidence that they’ll show up with a bouquet of daisies, ring the bell, and offer up a how-you-doin’? Panic doesn’t make room for anything. Desperation casts a dank pallor over everything. So isn’t it better to say, “I’m here to get the right shit done, and I’m doing this so that I can create space for the things I want later down the line. They deserve their own space and will never thrive when crowded — and I’d feel even more guilty of I were dishonest with the people who could bring me those things by saying I had space for them when I don’t.”

So, for a Monday I’ll ask this:

Are you getting shit done or are you getting the right shit done?

One moves you forward. The other’s just motion.

It’s perfectly okay to say, without guilt, what you have room for and what you don’t in your life. The worst thing we can do is delude ourselves into thinking we have room for everything.

We have a finite amount of heart. Of space. Of time. Of energy. We can either take care of ourselves, get on the squirrel, and ride that motherfucker into the sunset (bareback), or we can dick around.

My heart is hungry and full of energy — I’m making space for what needs space and making time for the things in that space. Soon, it’ll be time for other things. But for now, there’s no dicking around.

Dicking around…ah, why bother? Clicking a LIKE button on Facebook will only net us a finger cramp and is much less likely to change the world than getting the right shit done.

Monday — let’s do this thing.

23 comments
AliRandall
AliRandall

This is my favorite post yet -- it was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

beth4158
beth4158

Love your sass, woman! And while the "Didn't you just turn 40?" person is more than a bit of an ass, I smiled when I read that because, yup, sure enough, it's like a switch flips when the big 4-0 rolls around and perspectives shift and almost overnight, caring about what others will think pretty much goes right out the damn window.

knotbygranma
knotbygranma

Yes. I word mine differently though... more of a "will this throw me into a state of panic and despair when I realize that I should have said no?" Love hearing this reinforced by others. 


calebsimpson
calebsimpson

Boundaries and guidelines are good. I've set some for my business that helps us not step out of bounds and stay on track with our mission. In personal life I constantly have to remind myself and my wife that sometimes taking on extra things are not worth it. They usually just add to the level of stress and/or take away from quality. Quality of life is way more important than quantity.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

I know this isn't the point of your post but the year I decided to be OK with being a happy old maid with a cabin in the woods was the year I met the love of my life.

I firmly subscribe to your philosophy here. :)

megcarpen
megcarpen

I came to this conclusion about a month ago. I'm horrible about getting distracted by the next *shiny* thing, and I can't tell you how often I've started something but never finished. So at the beginning of the month I started to narrow my focus, and only do the things that really need to be done. Nice to see that I'm not the only one that it trying to get the right shit done in our ever more distracted world.

Trish Sammer
Trish Sammer

Yes, yes, yes!!! Exactly what I'm going through and exactly what I needed to hear today. 

DickCarlson
DickCarlson

So -- I guess this means you're not to speak at my "Aging Redheads And The Men Who Adore Them" Symposium this fall?

StraightUpTalk
StraightUpTalk

I love this! We can be busy productive and not actually accomplishing anything that WE want to accomplish. Or we can be productive getting the right shit done. It's all about setting our priorities and admitting them to ourselves. Fuck the "shoulds"! What do you really want in your life? Do that instead.

BlairGlaser
BlairGlaser

You ONLY PAY $11 for MOVIES??? I'm moving. Oh, and powerful fucking post. 

KellyTwigger
KellyTwigger

Amen, sister.  And, as for those ovaries, my sister just had her first baby at 46.  You've got YEARS!  


Walker Thornton
Walker Thornton

Kick in the ass!   "Are you getting the RIGHT thing done"-sigh! 

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