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Giving up, but in a good way

I may be finally giving up on my productivity ideals, after four years of living with the time hoovers that are children. It’s just not working – the weekly review and preview rituals I have are so long and arduous that most weeks I’m not doing them start to finish, or at all. My latest word of the season is rationality and it’s forcing me to admit that I can’t sustain the kind of personal productivity routines that I would like.

He climbed into my bed one morning and pretended to go to sleep – great joke

It’s both depressing and hopeful. It’s depressing that I have to give up on a way of living – sounds grandiose, but I’m struggling to come up with a better term. I mean the kind of cadence of life that you come up with when you become independent – for example, being a night owl who likes to skip breakfast in favour of a lie-in and spending all your time hanging out with friends, or going to the gym most days and being a frequent traveller with your partner, or – my choice – liking a regimented existence of having set days when you do certain things, enjoying spending a lot of time at home doing homely tasks and having tea breaks.

This is the sort of life I want to lead, and which is not possible (right now). The children’s needs naturally dictate what happens on a daily basis, and tea breaks, while possible, are not enjoyable. I’m too tired to follow regimens of any kind.

I don’t say all this to whinge. I certainly have whinged about it before, but now I’m just sort of facing the facts. And the hopeful element in this is that relaxing your standards can be liberating. I’m considering freeing up 100% of post-kid time in the evening to leisure pursuits (unless there is something really urgent to deal with). My average mood is in the Little Miss Annoyed range, and a lot of it comes from the internal conflict of not being able to live up to my own standards, and it’s a little unfair on the rest of the family. If I stop trying to do so much, then hopefully it will make me feel a bit more light-hearted too.

I’ve pondered this not-the-kind-of-life-I-want issue before. Its always made me feel resentful – as if someone surely is oppressing me (Cal? The children? The patriarchy? Society?). Now I seem to have burnt through it and feel (almost) at peace about trying to live differently. I’m even considering the possibility that no one has been oppressing me, I have just picked up a set of ideals that are pretty incompatible with any life configuration other than living totally alone, with no one depending on you or expecting anything of you.

I started listening to the podcast The Witch Trials of J. K. Rowling, and it immediately made me want to re-read Harry Potter. I’ve just got to the point in the first book where Harry meets Ron on the Hogwarts Express. It’s so wonderful. LibraryThing informs me it’s my fifth time reading it – I first read it in paperback in 2007, then in 2012, then as an ebook in 2015 and then I listened to the audio version in 2018.


Other things I’m into / doing at the moment:

  • Formula 1 – Cal’s doing. We watched the end of the last season and since then have been watching the Netflix series Drive to Win (excellent!) and another documentary, Brawn, which is produced by Keanu Reeves and has a load of strange and unnecessary self-insertion by him. But the story is fairly interesting.
  • The upcoming Finnish presidential election. There’s a fairly wide spread of candidates in terms of political alignment. This matrix was helpful. It has left–right on the x axis and national conservative–green liberal on the y axis. So far I’m favouring some of the centre-left faces, but I also watched some of the first debate and was impressed by Jutta Urpilainen’s (circled in red) rhetoric skills.

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