Happiness over ‘that 20%’

This blogpost about ‘that 20%’ has been on my mind for ages. It is also a very personal subject for me and my days in sunny Italy made me think of it again. ‘That 20%’? I hear you think….Let me explain.

As a mother of two, management-assistant, wife, blogger, friend and housekeeper, planning is the key to everything. To actually get things done, to get something done! And especially when there also is a passionate interest involved, like my writing and blogging. Writing, for me, (much like working out at the gym, although I wouldn’t know right know as I haven’t been there for ages….) is like letting off steam. I build up so much stress and negative energy throughout the week, that I need that outlet. I need to let go of all that energy, impressions and emotions that have been building up inside of me. Some people zone out in front of the television, I can’t, I just build up more impressions and more emotions, so I need that creative outlet. It is not that bad as Woody Allen described. He once said that if he didn’t make any movies and music he would probably be a serial killer :-).

It is also the same with cooking actually, it makes me very relaxed, very calm and very much in control. And being in control is, for me, a much needed thing. I need my form of clearness and do not like surprises.


So that outlet is much needed for me, to stay close to myself, stay true to my own little self. I need to keep that courage to be me and to not get carried away by all the pressure from the world around me. And there is so much pressure. For instance, when you have children suddenly EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on how to raise children! And when you do a good job at work, the pressure is ON and you have to give it 100% as expected every single day. But also at home. You do have a certain expectation from yourself. You don’t want to fail at the household either or let your partner or kids down. So this means that the pressure is always on. Even with friends, you don’t want to let them down either, do you? So it means 100% focus on everything every single day. Well…we are not superwomen. There is absolutely no balance, no perfection and I am certainly not focussed 100% at any of the things I do.  At work I try TRY to give it 100%, then on my way home I unwind a bit in the train and once I am home, I am mommy and wife again, also with that 100% focus. But let’s be honest…It never is 100%, is it? I would say 80% is far more realistic and doable. Because at work, school calls or you think of your kid being sad when you left for work that morning (oh the guilt!!). Or at home, you feel terrible because you forgot to send that email as you went home a little earlier than usual to make that healthy dinner for the kids. You need to write that story before you lose that vibe that goes with the story and ignore the noise that comes from the nursery as the kids are definitely not sleeping…. Guilt, guilt, guilt everywhere.

So you need to give 100% and you only give 80%. Where does the 20% go then? That 20% is a crossover, between the HAVE-to’s and the WANT-to’s. All the thinking about all the To-D0-lists and all my ‘have-to-do’s’ and ‘please-don’t-forgets’ is in that 20%. And I am sick of that 20%. I don’t need it, it doesn’t do me any good, nor does it any good to my family or my work. Plus math and percentages have never been my strong suit, so a new approach is needed! Time for a change! And that doesn’t involve more lists, let me tell you that :-).

That little personal space of 20% that keeps bothering me, the thinking about who to be, the guilt, what to do, how to do it, what others may think of me, my self-doubt, my comparing myself to others and that never-ending feeling that I am not good enough, it should STOP. Right now and it will. Why? It stops me from feeling that happiness, joy and gratefulness for everything that I AM, I HAVE, I WORK FOR and the lovelies that surround me! Because I am just one lucky girl. And so I choose happiness over that mind-numbing 20%. From now on I will give that 20% to myself. As a little gift, to expand that already precious time frame in which I can write and blog, to feed my outlet and become a better person. And that is what personal space is about: giving yourself a break to become a better version of yourself.

This little bohemian dreamy romanticist believes that love, gratefulness and happiness reflects so much more than sulking over what could and what should have been. So we let go a bit, so everything is a little less perfect and so we are a little less focussed sometimes? Is that so bad…? The pressure doesn’t have to be on 100% of your time. Take a step back when you can, make time for a little break to dedicate to yourself and whatever needs to be done will be done. Life’s what you make it. So we need to enjoy it. And I am definitely going to enjoy it!

Remember these Talk Talk-lyrics?

Baby, life’s what you make it
Celebrate it
Anticipate it
Yesterday’s faded
Nothing can change it
Life’s what you make it

x Jessica

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