What I’ve been reading: Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed_BookCoverI finally finished Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time by Brigid Schulte earlier this week. It had been on my to-read list for over a year, which feels about right given the subject matter.

I continued to align with the subject matter as I read the book. As I was going to bed, I checked my email one last time to discover that the ebook was finally available from the library. I set a reminder on my phone to remember to load the book onto my ereader at 6:15am the next morning so I could have it for my commute. When the library’s website wouldn’t work after multiple attempts, I went to make Flora’s lunch and came back to try to download it one more time. That’s when I missed my train and was late for work.

I spent several train trips home reading this book. I was visibly emotional more than once during the early parts of the book. I related to so much of what Ms Schulte was talking about: the fragmented bits of time (called Time Confetti), the feeling that nothing was truly getting done. The Overwhelm. My sadness turned to anger as I read – and related to – the data, stories and anecdotes spelling out what I’ve believed for a long time: the way we work – and by extension, live and play –  is wrong, and we can do better.

I was relieved when the end of the book didn’t end with big promises of a new life, if only you did the following three things. It didn’t read like a self-help book and it didn’t feel overly academic or dry. It was readable and relatable, which explains my occasional crying jag while reading it.

I am so grateful to Ms Schulte to writing such a thoughtful, readable book on something that is so close to my heart at this stage in my life. I am a serious fangirl of her work that I’ve seen and read online. I’m still working on how to apply what I’ve learned but isn’t that always a work in progress for all of us.

Here’s some further reading:

 

Weird things that make me happy

I recently read the blog post “Embrace Whatever Makes You Happy (Even If It’s Totally Weird)” on Cordelia Calls it Quits. I love this site and how Cordelia/Kelly thinks. This post talks about reveling in the random, weird things you like and owning those likes. More importantly, it reminds the reader that we all have random weird things that give us joy. You aren’t the only one that likes random, weird things and neither am I.

Here are some weird things that make me happy:

Doing errands

This sounds strange, but I really like doing errands. I like making lists of what I need to get done, then figuring out the most efficient plan of attack to get as much done in as little time as possible. Ticking off all the items and seeing a visual representation of what I’ve accomplished feels good. I like doing errands with Flora or Sean (or both, which is rare), but I like it even better when I get to go on my own. I have very few things that I have complete control over so I think this is my way of taking charge of things going on in my life.

Driving with loud rock music playing

When I’m driving alone, I’m a rockstar in my car. I crank up the radio (this my favourite radio station). I sing along. I laugh at the jokes. I tap on the steering wheel. I am that cliché you see out on the road and I’m okay with that. I love pulling into parking lots playing music that doesn’t scream “suburban mom”. I realize that there is no genre of music called “mom” (suburban or otherwise) but there is some sort of irony of Rage Against the Machine blasting on my radio as I pull into Walmart. This happened to me last weekend while I was doing errands. By myself.

Staring at the lake

I’ve lived either on or near lakes all my life. Gazing out into the water makes me feel alive and centered with the universe. Despite living close by, I don’t get down to the lake much these days. It’s good meditation so I think I need to start.

Tell me about the weird things that make you happy.

Priorities

On Monday, I did yoga for the first time in… a really long time.

I used the Yoga Studio app on my phone and chose a ‘Beginner Balance’ class. I felt angry and ashamed when I couldn’t do every move. I know logically that I was being too hard on myself, but that’s who I am. My inner voice is really mean sometimes.

Any tips on how to calm a cruel inner voice would be greatly appreciated.

As I wrote this, I thought back to this post from 2013. The whole post still resonates, but this part sticks out:

I know I need to move more. I’ve spent the last few weeks (months? years?) figuring out what I’d like to do to be able to introduce more activity into my life. Everything I want to do seems to have barriers: too expensive, not enough time, worry that I will look stupid in front of people who I wouldn’t give a shit about if I wasn’t feeling so vulnerable in front of them.

Monday’s yoga session, while frustrating at times, felt good and I’m glad I did it. Small steps to making my health and myself a priority in my life.

How do you restart your writing practice?

I’ve lost confidence in myself as a writer and I need help.

I haven’t written anything of substance in months. Work-related emails don’t count no matter how detailed and thorough they are. I get an idea for this site and I quit before I’ve even started: my brain turns to mush and I can’t seem to string a sentence together. I haven’t been making – or taking – the time to write anything. I think about journaling and my eyes get so tired all I want to do is nap.

Is this normal writer’s procrastination, or is it a sign that I should just give up?

I don’t want to give up. I know I need to stretch myself to get going again. And stop listening to the defeated voice in my head that tells me that I’m just not Good Enough to share my thoughts with the world. Because everyone is Good Enough to share their thoughts and the web is the equalizer that allows all of us to do so.

What do you do when you’ve lost confidence in your skills and it’s time to build them back up? These tips could be for any skill: writing, running, chainsaw juggling. I’m very open to your suggestions.

What I read in 2014

Thanks to Goodreads, here is a list of all the books I read in 2014. I fell two books short of completing my 2014 Reading Challenge by reading 48 out of 50 books. There were a few books I abandoned this year, but I can’t count them as complete in good conscience.

As always, I read a mix of fiction of varying quality, trashy romance and a few memoirs. Here is the complete list:

Melissa’s bookshelf: read-in-2014

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
delightfully-trashy-romance and read-in-2014
Mad About the Boy
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Barefoot
3 of 5 stars
I’m a sucker for light summer reading that takes place somewhere in New England.
tagged:
read-in-2014
Silver Girl
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Tell Me
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014 and delightfully-trashy-romance
The Rosie Project
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Bitch
3 of 5 stars
Supposedly the version I read was updated and completely rewritten in 2012. Outside of a few current celebrity references, I’m not sure how updated it was. Still, it was a fast, easy read and a typical Jackie Collins book.
tagged:
read-in-2014
We Are Water
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Dead Brilliant
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Eleanor & Park
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Oakdale Dinner Club
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Imperfectionists
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
No Relation
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Fire-Dwellers
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Two Sisters
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Infidelity
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Deenie
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Tiger Eyes
4 of 5 stars
Never read this as a kid/teen. Glad I finally read it now.
tagged:
read-in-2014
Hellgoing: Stories
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
On the Rocks: A Novel
2 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Glass Wives
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Love Me Anyway: A Novel
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Worst. Person. Ever.
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Four Friends
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
How to Love
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Valley of the Dolls
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother
0 of 5 stars
I felt like a cliché reading this book. Then the ending went ridiculously sideways.
tagged:
read-in-2014
S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Landline
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Fangirl
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Hidden
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Interestings
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
The Silent Wife
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
A Life in Men: A Novel
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
If I Could Tell You: A Novel
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
How Lucky You Are
0 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014
Sinners at the Altar
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
read-in-2014 and delightfully-trashy-romance




goodreads.com

If you’re on Goodreads and we’re not connected, feel free to add me. I’m always looking for new books to read. Leave me any book recommendations you have in the comments.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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