The last 11 years of my life have been interesting.
I´ve moved countries (and therefore had to learn new languages) 2-3 times, started and finished university, started another degree, gotten married, had 2 babies, started Rakel Healthy Living and have been trying to manage these (often) very different roles in my life in a foreign country, without our extended families and friends.
I (obviously) want to do a good job in all of these fields.
I have two primary goals in life. My family is a priority. I want to be a kind and loving mother to my children, a supportive and loving wife to my husband. But my work is another priority. I want to pursue meaningful work, my career and hobbies (that, truth be told, are often work-related).
These roles don´t always go together.You only have so many hours in the day. Apart from that, my husband works as a long-haul pilot, flight instructor, law student (you name it, this guy does it), which means that we need to be very organized, vocal with our needs and supportive of each other.
We usually get by with our lives, work, family, duties, quite well. And we have a very happy and a fulfilling life & marriage. Sometimes we don´t. Usually we are able to have a constructive conversation if something is amiss or if we need to prioritize differently that said moment but sometimes I flip! Yes, I said it. I flip! My husband doesn´t flip. I do. I don´t FLIP as in screaming and shouting but my cup gets overfilled or my husband has been away for his work for 8 days and I just want to give up! You know that movie “Bad Mom”? That kind of flip/give up type of behaviour when you´ve been holding 8.000 balls in the air at the same time for days on end and you´re completely spent! You guys know I´m not alone here.
I´m usually over it in a couple of days or so when I´ve had a nice walk or a quiet moment to myself to reflect, re-organize my thoughts, talked it over and so on. So then, I “just keep swimming” (my favorite phrase) like Dory does and then everything is OK within a little while.
A happy, balanced, fulfilling life is important to me. I want to lead by example, I want to make the world a little bit better, I want to be kind in everyday life and would like people to remember me in that way.
I usually keep small Moleskines around, on my desk and in my bag, that I write stuff in. Inspiring quotes, work-related stuff, ideas for courses or books, funny things my children say, something I heard or read that inspires me. Then, through my education in positive psychology and mindfulness I´ve had to do a bit of soul-digging, figure out my brain a bit, how it functions and why I am particularly the way that I am; that comes with the territory.
If you want to be authentic and true to yourself in this line of work (and in life in general) that´s the work one needs to be willing to do.
So through the years I´ve worked on things like figuring out what my values are in life, what my strengths are etc.
Building on this work, my Moleskine scribbles throughout the years (and after reading Gretchen Ruben´s “Happiness Project” this summer) I created “My Golden Rules”; a sort of guideline through life or manifesto of some kind that include all aspects of my life.
It took a bit of time, around 4 weeks or so, to finish them. At first they were called “My Greatest Resolutions” and “My Greatest Truths” but I landed on “My Golden Rules” in the end. The rules work as a compass and give meaning to my life, love, family & work.
Sometimes I´m not able to follow them all. I forget to “take a breathing space” when I´m stressed or forget that “there is only love” when my youngest is throwing a tantrum at 7 am. But that´s ok. I´m human and I try my best at each moment. Sometimes my best just isn´t great.
But “My Golden Rules” make me more mindful, they remind me of what is important to me and help me to get back on track when I´m challenged and perhaps not doing so good.
If you´d like to make up your own rules in life you can borrow mine, if their meaning is something that you reasonate with.
I think it´s important to have a compass of some sort to guide you through life. It doesn´t need to be complicated but a couple of “rules” that you try and stand by throughout life, your values in writing that you keep on your desk or your purse that you look at, at least once a day.
So you know whether to turn left or right in a given situation…