I recently read Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck. It should be noted that this is the first non-fiction book that I have ever completed. When I eventually get around to typing up all of my book reviews, this one will be a good’un; until then though, I want to focus on one of the principles that really resonated with me.
The do something principle.
Before I dive headfirst into this post, there are a selection of quotes from the book about this principle:
“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”
“Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivation only when we feel enough emotional inspiration.”
“Inspiration > Motivation > Action > Inspiration > Motivation > etc.”
“Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions.”
“If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to motivate yourself.”
“You can become your own source of inspiration. You can become your own source of motivation. Action is alway within reach. And with simply doing something as your only metric for success – well, then even failure pushes you forward.”
As a writer, I have always used the excuse, “I didn’t/can’t/won’t write today because I’m not inspired/motivated/in the right frame of mind.” I cannot tell you how many days (years) have passed me by, my page remaining blank, my heart riddled with shame and guilt. Over the past couple of weeks I have written several blog posts, none of which have made it onto the website. Some of them I completed writing, only to have them lay dormant in my notebook; others I didn’t even bother finishing because I thought they were utter rubbish.
Right now however, I am breaking that pattern. Instead of handwriting my post first (I always handwrite everything first) and then judging my work and then curling up and crying in the corner, I am choosing to simply DO SOMETHING. For me, that something is to simply type. I am going to finish this blog post and press publish even if I could have written something far superior, something far more meaningful, something far deeper.
As much as I don’t like the term (nor the connotations that come with it) the fact of the matter is, is that I am a stay-at-home-mum. I have the absolute privilege to be able to devote all of my time to Pete’s and my beautiful son; while, on the flip side, all of my time goes to Pete’s and my beautiful son. When I was at work, I was able to see the results of my hard work in a very literal way. Now, I have to remind myself that I am doing one of the most important things a human is able to do – raise a child. Even when my day seems mundane and all I have done is clean the house and entertain Hunter, I need to remember that there are the results of that, even if I don’t realise it. Hunter has learned how to grab, how to roll, how to put himself to sleep, how to bounce in his bouncer. His two front teeth have already erupted, he can almost sit up unassisted, he can stand extremely well (while I hold his hands) and he is eating solids like an absolute champion. For the most part, I taught him that. And that is pretty special. That is me doing something.
What else have I been doing, I hear you ask?
Well today, for instance I baked a batch of pistachio, oat and white chocolate biscuits from the Wholesome Pattiserie. A couple of days ago I baked a big batch of cookies for a beautiful friend of mine, packaged them and sent them to her office. I also practised baking and decorating Madeline cookies for a friends’ daughter’s first birthday that is coming up. Not only that but I also have another first birthday that I am catering, as well as a baby shower. So, I mean, that’s super exciting!
I have also been doing all of the laundry to have ever existed ever. No one tells you that when you have a kid you will go from doing 1-2 loads a week to like, 57 loads of washing a day. So, yeah, that takes up about 45 days of my week, every week.
My ‘To Be Read’ pile is looking healthier than it ever has – which is exceptionally exciting. At the moment I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls. If there was any book that was going to be able to follow up with how I felt when I read The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck, it is this one. It has been a very, very long time since I read her debut book Eat, Pray, Love, but the voice behind City of Girls is one of a different writer (I mean that metaphorically, of course). I liked Eat, Pray, Love don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t have the lingering affect on me that in had on so many others. But it was her non-fiction book Big Magic (okay, I just realised that THAT was the first non-fiction book that I completed. My bad.) that really got me paying attention to Elizabeth Gilbert as so much more than an author. She is just fucking spectacular and remarkable and wonderful and all different kinds of intelligent. City of Girls is in a league of its own. I am about halfway through it and I am happy to report that it is one of those books that stays with you even when you aren’t reading it.
See, right now, in my head I am saying, “that whole paragraph was useless, no one cares what book you are reading or what you think about Elizabeth Gilbert.” But, I AM PERSEVERING ANYWAY.
My son is a chatterbox who has learned how to repeat his actions when they make us laugh – he’s a regular comedian. It took him two days how to self-settle without his dummy in his own bed (yes, I am bragging about that because he is obviously a genius). I got up early to watch the Matildas play their matches in the FIFA World Cup which is the first time I have watched women’s sport – something that I am very upset about. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it nor how much of my identity it formed; sitting on the lounge in the wee hours of the morning with my gigantic mug of coffee and my snoring baby boy lying next to me – well, I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. It was nice to rediscover that part of me. I was looking at old photos when I came across one of me in New York. I was slim, I remember feeling really confident in my body and I was on the other side of the world with my best friend. It has taken me a while to be comfortable with the fact that my body will never be the same as it was before I gave birth. It wasn’t until today, however, that I really started to appreciate my new body. I’m still getting used to it, don’t get me wrong; but there is something that I love about the skin on my belly that is still stretchy. I jiggle in places that I have never jiggled before. I choose to look at those parts of me as a reminder that my body is capable of. Whenever I see a woman’s body that is curvaceous and wobbly and uber feminine, I swoon. I think female’s bodies are absolute works of art. Why then, I wondered to myself, is it so hard for me to turn that very same gaze and feelings towards myself?
Anyway – this post has taken me about five hours to write. Not even kidding. I have had my laptop open since midday and have been typing in between feeding Hunter, bathing Hunter, folding washing, dealing with the fucking cat, receiving a delivery, feeding Hunter again, getting him to sleep, preparing dinner, making biscuits, putting more washing on.
So here we have it, me simply doing something.