2019 is upon us, and now is the time when we all humblebrag about our accomplishments in 2018, and impress our friends with our goals in 2019. I'm not here to break that trend; I have a lot of humblebragging I want to do, and I have an insane amount of goals in 2019. I'll tell you about them shortly, but first, I'd like to talk about productivity.
2018 was a defining year for me, not only because my life changed in so many ways, but because I learned a lot about myself as a person with ADHD. I went on maternity leave and haven't worked a proper job all year, and although I was often busy and tired from taking care of a newborn, the lack of structure from either a job or school meant that my brain took me to all kinds of interesting places in my own psyche. Even when I was in a band, we had a tour schedule, and when we weren't touring, we were tour prepping. This year was entirely different; my body was on rest mode in the early part of the year after I gave birth. Staying at home in the house most of the day gave me crazy cabin fever. Pregnancy hormones definitely combined with my ADHD to create some moments of overwhelming frustration, confusion, sadness or intense hyperactivity. Like almost all new moms, and like everyone with ADHD, when presented with "open time" (as in, time at home, time where I don't have anything else scheduled), I thought "wow, so much time for activities!"
<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/yrFrXTTTcHIY0" width="480" height="198" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/yrFrXTTTcHIY0">via GIPHY</a></p>
They say that we are not our productivity, but I think we can all agree that in today's world, especially on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook... productivity is definitely a social metric by which we evaluate ourselves and others. I have personally always felt envious of those who were productive, either qualitatively or quantitatively, or both, and with my need to always be busy and my constant FOMO, I'm usually right there on the productivity train.
So, here comes the humblebrag, but I promise there's a context: I did do a heck of a lot of stuff in 2018. I was VERY productive, in every sense of the word. I literally produced an entire other human from my body, for one that. That's really enough for the whole year, but did that stop me? Nope! Here's a comprehensive list of the things I spent my time doing in 2018:
- I helped found Girls Rock Camp Radio on 100.5 Vancouver Co-Op Radio
- I fundraised $1000 for the inaugural Girls Rock Camp La Paz Mexico
- I started a band called the Hillbettys
- I did two Alcohologist videos (my goal was to do more but as it turns out I'm not a strong editor and the postproduction really slowed me down) and 4 alcohol reviews
- I made one ADHD Crew YouTube video about pregnancy & ADHD
- I made a funny music video about donating breast milk
- I donated breast milk! To date, about 225 ml
-I donated blood for the first time! Then I passed out.
- I read 8 books
- I went back to school to get certified as an ADHD Coach and took online schooling
- I started my ADHD Coaching business
- I consistently went to the gym for 6 months (and then inconsistently for about another 3)
-I started this blog
-I helped organize & run Girls Rock Camp Vancouver summer camp
- I threw my friend a "Star Trek/D&D" themed baby shower (I LOVE to plan and throw themed parties!!!!)
- I moved into a new apartment and for the first time ever, kept it some semblance of clean throughout the year
...whew! that seems like a lot. On top of that, I crushed many, many Netflix series.
Here's the thing; I bit off more than I could chew. On top of doing all this, I had my share of meltdowns and fallings-out, organizational/political drama, regular drama-drama, and new mom overwhelm. What drove me to try and do so many things when I could have just kicked back, put my feet up and relaxed?
I'm proud of all the things I've accomplished this year, but I also have mixed feelings. I'm troubled that I prioritized things other than my daughter, my husband and my pets when this time in my life is so clearly demarcated for quality time with my newborn and my family. There were many times I could have put down what I was doing to walk my dog, and there were many moments I struggled to put down my phone while my child played nearby. Don't get me wrong, she's a super happy and well-adjusted baby, but what they say is true; this time goes so fast. Children develop ridiculously fast in their first year, and my need to stay productive had more to do with managing my unmedicated ADHD than it did with my need to be truly productive. Take a look again at the list above; is there a common theme to these projects or are they a random mishmash? Do they bring me closer to my life goals or are they just filling up my time? As I reflect on what I want to accomplish in 2019, these are questions I need to ask myself.
It's tough for a parent with ADHD to slow down, to move at their child's pace, and to focus. Boredom, and even the fear of boredom, spurs us ever onward to more stimulation. But what impact does that have on our children? My daughter is lucky to have more than just me - we have her Grandma nearby, other grandparents come by to visit regularly, her dad loves to play with her, and even our neighbours are friendly and involved in our day to day lives. I made sure to keep in touch with the other expectant mothers in my prenatal group and to link up early with a mom & tots meetup group, as well as registering for a few different community mom-baby classes. Getting out of the house with the baby each day helped me to stay engaged with her, but I want to do better in 2019. Yes, there are many things I want to accomplish, but most of all I want them to take a backseat to her. I want to always be ready to engage with my child when she wants my attention, to savour the moments with her, to enjoy her childhood and to be present. This doesn't mean I have to hang up all my other aspirations, but it does mean that I need to prioritize my ability to prioritize. I need to make difficult choices, to cut out the less meaningful things and people, and to be ready to S L O W D O W N. It means I need to be okay with being less productive.
That being said, I *do* have some goals for 2019. Here they are:
- Try something new physically each month (instead of one overall fitness goal, I want to make 12 smaller fitness goals: With ADHD, variety is DEFINITELY the spice of life and the only way to keep myself interested in being healthy is to keep switching it up!)
- Reduce my personal waste as much as possible: I doubt I'd be able to become one of those "zero-waste" people but I'm going to commit to doing better in terms of waste and environmental impact each month!
- Produce more ADHD-related content: It was fun to make the Alcohologist videos, it gave me something to do and made me feel like I was putting my Anthropology degree to work, but the farther I move away from the world of alcohol (I used to manage a liquor store), the less relevant it feels to me. I also have much less time for drinking and discovering awesome new kinds of alcohol, and the videos ended up being a lot bigger project than I originally anticipated. That energy could be better directed into personal vlogs and ADHD content in 2019.
- Blog more
- Read more books especially by POC, female, disabled and trans authors
- Listen to records: I have this record player I BARELY use. I jumped on the record player bandwagon and then quickly jumped off again when I realized how much records cost. It's funny, when I was young, buying music made up such a huge part of my budget, and then once digital music came along, I really felt like it was too much of a luxury to spend that kind of money on music (I know, I know, I'm a musician and it's ironic!). In 2019, I want to spend more quality money on myself by buying a new record each month
- Buy More Plants: I also want to buy myself a new plant each month, and (hopefully) keep it alive. I never realized what my life and my household decor was missing until I realized I didn't have any houseplants
-Spend more time with my bird: Professor got a bit neglected this year with our new arrival. Overall she's never been a very friendly or playful bird, and in 2019 I'd like to dedicate more time to trying to have fun with her and helping her to have the happiest bird life possible!
-Take better care of my hair, skin and outfits: I want to keep my whites white, wash clothes on the proper cycles, get regular haircuts and colors, and really stick to a skin routine. I'm worth it!
I also have other more personal goals related to debt, finance and money but they mostly just involve improving my financial wellbeing and organization overall. All these goals, however, take a backseat to SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH MY FAMILY!
If that means a less productive 2019, so be it!