To quote my mother, a.k.a. Lady Jane, I am on a journey of self-discovery.
And what do I need to know about myself? I need to know the areas where I tend to struggle, fall short, and get stuck. Equipped with that self-awareness, I can practice better strategies for coping when I find myself in those positions.
In mid-August, I was definitely in a rough patch. My anxiety and stress were through the roof, and when I am stressed I become cranky and angry. At everything. All the time. Which in turn, makes it miserable for everyone in my robust family of 5.
It took about a week for me to stop and figure out what it was, which tells me two things. One, I am out of practice (likely due to the chaos that comes with raising toddlers). Two, the level of stress was so high it was very difficult to calm down long enough to get clarity on what was actually going on below the surface.
But when I finally touched on the answer, it all made sense to me.
#1 Trouble Spot – I HATE Making Decisions
Not sure exactly where this comes from, but when I am faced with a lot of decisions to make or a single hard decision to make, I fall apart. The act of making a decision is arduous for me. I toss and turn and toil and rethink and second guess, and by the time it’s over I’ve exhausted myself and anyone who took pity on me to listen. At the core, I’m scared I will make the wrong decision.
In August, I was faced with several serious decisions. The first one was that we were losing our summer childcare help, and needed to hire someone new. In particular, I needed to decide if we were going to continue sending our 3 ½ year old daughter to daycare, while also pursuing in home care for the 20 month old. The idea of the double expense was killing me, but our daughter has gotten so much socialization out of school that it seemed necessary. And then, there was the whole interview process and trying to decide what traits I wanted in a new nanny, etc. Hello decision overload.
The next biggie was my rental property. Purchasing this condo was one of the worst decisions I have made in my life (will definitely cover in a full post), and it continues to be a drain on our resources but we are too far underwater to sell it. My previous tenant moved out, leaving us with ruined floors, urine damage, and a disgusting mess. Being that it is my property prior to our marriage (and I’m a tad picky about how things get done), my husband defers to me for how I want to handle it. Hello decision overload.
The last major one was my choice, but still required a ton of decisions. It was starting this blog. I am not sure I would have even started the blog if I had known how much work and learning goes into it. And decisions! Technical decisions, design decisions, content decisions, marketing decisions, etc. All for good, but for someone like me who toils over each and every decision, it was extremely stressful.
#2 Trouble Spot – I Have Major Money Buttons
I was raised in a very cost conscious family. The pressure to conserve money was so great in my childhood that I have an extremely hard time breaking free of those chains today. I struggle to spend money even on items that one would consider a necessity. Whenever money is involved, it adds another layer that further complicates my decision making process.
In each of the examples above, there is a money component. The cost of daycare, and the cost of a nanny. For my condo, because the apartment was in such disrepair, it could not even be shown until after the tenant vacated. Which meant I couldn’t even list it until it was acceptable to show to prospective tenants. Each day that ticked by had a dollar figure attached. And the blog, while in total it wasn’t super expensive to launch, I was still stressed because it was an investment that may not ever be returned. Heaven forbid I waste money doing something fun!
#3 Trouble Spot – I Struggle When Learning Something New
In general, I love new experiences. But when it comes to learning a new process or a heavily technical process, I really stall out. I have very little patience for those early periods of “not getting it” or when a supposedly simple process takes a long time. It’s as if I want to be an instant expert at everything, even if I’ve never even tried it before. Yes, you can laugh now at how ridiculous that sounds – but I bet lots of people feel this way. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the fact that most things have come very easily to me so I never developed the perseverance needed to tackle hard tasks.
Starting thesanityplan.com was the perfect storm of learning something new, spending money, and making tons of decisions. I wouldn’t go back and change it, however, when I keep my particular trouble spots at the forefront, I can tackle them faster. And once I’ve identified the issue that’s coming up, it brings the whole situation into better perspective. I can remind myself that these struggles come from my childhood, they are old habits, and I do get through them every time.