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leaving hustle

Leaving the Hustle Behind

I am not hustling, and I’m probably not crushing it.

I posted this on Instagram recently, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of others.

“I was just reading an article talking about how people are feeling very burnt out during this pandemic, because the lines between work and home are so blurred for many right now.

Never mind being responsible for schooling kids while getting used to new work from home situations with none of the fun parts of it! (ok, well maybe pajama pants ☺️).

I’ve worked from home for years, but I’m also feeling a bit weary with all the changes to my regular routine the past months. I’m tired. We’re all tired! Even though things are starting to open up in a lot of places, it’s going to be a while before we’re back to ‘normal.’

I had to laugh at this shirt my girls got me for Mother’s Day. I’ve never embraced the ‘hustle and grind’ mindset, because I think it can become easily out of balance, though I do work hard. But I guess they see this in me somehow. I feel anything OTHER than this right now, gotta say.

I’m looking for ways to build in things to look forward to during the day, to help break up some of the monotony. Simple things like sitting on my porch for a few moments alone, going to bed a little earlier, taking a run by myself. If you’re feeling pressure during this time to write the next great American novel, teach yourself a new craft, take up a new hobby, or organize all your closets, consider this your permission to just be. To just keep things together the best you can. To NOT hustle. The day for that will come again!

How are you coping with the continued ‘new normal’ we’re all living with? I’d love to hear. Hope you’re well, my friends.”

(read the original article here! (opens in a new window))

After I posted that, I remembered how I felt at the beginning of this year. I just couldn’t muster up the “want-to” any more for a New Year’s resolution. I’m not sure if it’s due to turning 50 and being a little over it as far as resolutions go, or perhaps the fact that the past months had been difficult in many ways. But I found myself unable to come up with ideas for a “vision board,” a “word of the year,” or any other such mantra, whether for my writing or personal life. In fact, considering doing any of those things left me feeling a little…exhausted. Certainly not like a “mother hustler.”

It’s not that I don’t have goals. Or plans. Or projects in the works. I do.

Why I’m Ok Leaving the Hustle Behind

I find the ideas of girl boss or women who inspire or boss babe (or whatever the latest iteration is) fill me with anxiety. You know the promises — if I just hustle hard every waking moment, sleep less, grind, get things done, I’ll be so happy and successful! Except, when I’m not.

Sleepless in San Antonio…that’s been me. The end of last year found me mentally running through to-do lists while struggling to fall asleep at night. I felt behind before my feet even hit the floor in the morning. Frustration over details I was letting slip was becoming the norm. I don’t want to live that way any longer. I refuse to live that way any longer.

But, let’s be honest… no matter my great resolve, I still struggle to find margin. In the midst of running a podcast, co-hosting another, continued work on multiple writing projects including my second book, I also have a regular job as a content editor.

What I also have? A newly retired from the military husband who’s taken on his first job as a civilian, adult children— one recently married and another who returned from an overseas deployment and then moved across the country— and an adorable toddler grandbaby who I enjoy seeing on a regular basis.

My mother has been through some health issues the past couple of years, and then my younger brother died early this year at age 42 after a brief and vicious illness.
This, probably more than anything, has caused me to stop and take stock of how I want the next couple of decades of my own life to look, if I’m blessed to have more years.

How am I spending time? Is what I’m doing reflecting what’s actually important to me? What will I leave behind for those I love when I’m gone? To-do lists? Sharp, impatient words? The memory of a woman who took on too much and burned herself out?

I am no longer ok with being so consumed with my side projects, regardless of how fulfilling or fun I find them in the moment, that I miss what’s right in front of me.

Here are some things I’m planning to focus on, to give more priority to. If you’re also thinking along these lines, please share with me what your focus is these days!

Relationships. They are a gift. I don’t want to hold them lightly, but appreciate them. I am not just ok with quality, I want quantity, whether it’s my family or beloved friends. My husband and I have spent so many years apart due to his military service, that I need to be careful to carve out time to hold hands, go places together, or just be. I can’t constantly have “just one more thing to do” and put him off. I want to — I need to— make a point of taking regular trips to see my parents now that we live close enough again to do that.

Love. One word that has come to me over and over as I ponder the future is love. Maybe that’s my word of the year? To choose to walk in love. I need to assume the best about others, do my best to respond lovingly, and also trust God’s plan for all of our lives more deeply, because I believe it’s born from love.

Doing a good job with what I’ve already been given. I am lucky to have a job I enjoy, along with other opportunities. I have also found joy in podcasting and connecting with listeners. I will steward those things well and when new opportunities come up, I’ll weigh them against what I’d need to give up realistically to take them on.

Writing for pleasure again. I am planning to set aside some time each week to write whatever I want (like this blog post!). I don’t do that enough. Whether I find a quiet corner in a coffee shop to think and blog or simply tap out some notes about memories or take an afternoon to work on my book, I need this time.

Hustle? Probably not for me these days. Mindfulness, relationships, love, time for creativity…those are what I’ll be focusing on. I’d love to hear if you’re in a similar place. If nothing else, consider this your permission to leave behind the hustle, too! I’m right here with you.


Read more about Jen, host of Milspo Matters Podcast (opens in a new window), at (opens in a new window) and read the original article here! (opens in a new window)

jen mcdonald