31 Mar The Big Crazy
The Crazy hit right around my birthday this year
For my big 33rd, I decided to make a theme around self-care. I’ve known for a long time that if I want something to happen, I have to invest in it and make it happen for myself.
So, in February, I made a plan.
A five day trip to an author conference in Philadelphia was my main thing.
I was SO excited.
Networking, people, traveling by myself. I even bookended it with a day before and a day after in a King suite, nonetheless, to sink into my YA Fantasy novel FREEDOM and finish it up after a long year of hard work.
The perfect plan.
But then things started to unravel.
My original childcare schedule didn’t work out (but thank goodness my mother volunteered to step in and look after the kids). So I figured out a new schedule, and we were good.
Plan B was underway.
Then The Crazy started.
As things started to get cancelled around the world, so did my plans. I frantically changed and pivoted as I needed until, finally, my author conference was moved to virtual.
Huge bummer, but I could still rent an AirBnb nearby, do the author event over Zoom, and Mom could still come to take the kids.
Again, I figured it out. No king suite, but still had time to myself and self-care could happen. If I didn’t have to be in charge of dinner, dogs, and kiddos, we were good. Plus, then I got to see my Mom on my birthday!
I was still pretty jazzed. It wasn’t perfect, but… so what? I was going to make it great anyway.
A few days before my mom was supposed to drive out and I was going to head to my little self-care author retreat, things started to really get bad.
Local exposures began.
Earthquakes in Utah where my bestie lives.
Our DVD broke and we lost our Netflix connection.
(Okay, that’s not tragic, but was unfortunate.)
For her own safety, we decided not to have my Mom drive out. Onto Plan E for the kiddo situation. Then, sky opened and dropped a foot and a half of snow, and somehow, the kiddos and I were stuck at home together with people panicking in the city.
NOT what I’d envisioned my 33rd birthday looking like, but there was still time.
So I figured it out again. New plan!
Looked at what I had to do, what I wanted my birthday to be like, and made another attack at making this happen. My mom couldn’t watch my kiddos and dogs while I did my now-virtual author event, but I could work with that.
Plan H at work.
Eventually, the two days of the live virtual author event arrived, and I prepared. I knew it would be intense, but I’d get through. I would manage my mindset, ship my kids out to various amazing friends that would help me, and love every minute of it.
It was pandemonium.
Each day started early and didn’t stop until bedtime. I was shuffling kids between babysitters, scarfing down food in between driving places, throwing dinner in the Crock Pot while simultaneously loading the dishwasher on a 10 minute break, taking the dogs out on a quick hike on my lunch, giving husband a quick kiss before and after his night shifts, tossing kiddos into the bath so they’re not in bed late for the next day, and making sure nothing drastic fell apart.
You know how it is.
The whole thing left me exhausted, filled with new ideas, and totally overloaded on new tasks for my birthday later that week.
Things had to shift a bit again.
Plan J. Different birthday celebration.
I was going to bake myself an Oreo cake, take it on an hour long hike with Husband, and eat it on a mountain. If I couldn’t write for six hours at Starbucks after treating myself to lunch and a massage (Plan D), I wanted cake.
On a mountain.
So, as I’m baking the cake … the power goes out. Of course it does. Totally dried out my cake as I scrambled to figure out where the timer had been when it turned off.
The four hour hike I planned with just me, Husband, and dogs as my big birthday party?
Turned into an hour.
But we went on the hike anyway and ate the dry cake in the middle of a windstorm the day BEFORE my birthday, because it was supposed to drop to the 20’s and snow on my birthday.
OF COURSE IT WAS.
(I did hike by myself on my birthday while Husband watched the kids. It was snowing, freezing, and miserable, but still pretty awesome.)
Everything went wrong, and it kept happening on the edge, and it didn’t seem to stop. It felt like quicksand. I was scrambling to hold onto anything firm at the time.
But guess what?
IT WAS AMAZING.
Because it really all came down to this: there are a lot of reasons for every to be upset this year.
Empty grocery stores.
THE TOILET PAPER IS GONE.
At the point of Plan K, I realized if I was going to make it through this well, I needed to make sure I was looking at things differently. I couldn’t focus on what kept slipping away.
I had to see what was right in my hands.
Like my health. My kids. A warm house. The opportunity to still do the virtual event. Babysitters for my kids. The fact that I had food to eat and wasn’t in a toilet paper crisis.
For me, it all came back to gratitude.
Although nothing went the way I had planned, there was so much I could be thankful for. I decided that I’m would be jazzed about all of that crap anyway. What is more fun than overcoming adversity?!
Because there is always something to be grateful for.
Today, I am especially grateful to be 33. I’m grateful for life. For a mom who cared enough to rearrange her plans to come out (even if it didn’t work out.) A Husband who loves me and tried really hard to get me some hikes. For Ashlie Ball and Ali McGuinnis who juggled my kiddos for HOURS. A body that can move me through the mountains. For an internet connection that works.
Despite all of this madness—which will get worse before it gets better—I’m grateful to find magic in the present moment.
In the end, I just had to make the magic happen, then appreciate it for what it was.
That’s the magic of this Big Crazy.