This dizziness was different. Different because it didn’t stop even when I was lying down. The gorgeously decorated five-star hotel room with its blend of antique and modern details kept spinning and morphing into one swirl of color.

Piercing my barely-there thoughts were my daughter’s shrill screams. She wasn’t hungry. She didn’t have a dirty diaper. She just knew that mommy wasn’t completely there. Mommy was dehydrated, exhausted, stressed, wasn’t eating properly, was no longer in tune with her body, and hadn’t been saying “No” as much as she needed to.

Except mommy didn’t realize this herself or was in denial. Either way, that spiraling dizziness scared me deeply. That mental loss of control, of not being able to physically snap out of it, is something I never want to experience again if within my power.

I prayed my daughter’s screams remained as strong and piercing. It reminded me that I was still there, alive, and subconsciously present. My fear was that if that screaming got lighter and fainter, then I would have knowingly failed her as a mother.  Fortunately and gratefully, my friend Germaine was traveling with us and nursed me back to health.

Unfortunately, this happened at one of the best conferences I’ve attended in awhile. One which I still haven’t written about and given the due shout-out it deserves, and which I promise to write about within the next few posts.

Going back a couple weeks leading up to Genova, I’d been traveling back to back and working on impossibly tight deadlines in between. This is normally my speed, except I was also dragging my still breastfeeding baby along on trips without realizing how much slower I needed to move and how much more hydrated I needed to keep myself.

So by the time I got to Italy, my body metaphorically slapped me down, yelling “ENOUGH!” in the process. “ENOUGH! You’re not superwoman!”

Lola Akinmade Akerstrom - Nice, France

You see, one of my weaknesses is this constant overbearing need to “produce”. To stay productive. To create. To work. To do something. Because I am my biggest competition, I’m always trying to see how much more I can do. How much more I can produce without keeling over.

This worked when I was single and childless. This doesn’t work when one is married with a newly minted infant. Yes, there are superwomen out there who seem to handle family, marriage, career, and everything with supernatural ease. Who seem to have mastered time management, and on the surface, seem to have all the answers.

Since I’m not privy to what truly goes on behind their own scenes – maybe strained marriages, sleepless nights, unbelievable fatigue, undue pressure to always stay relevant, I have no idea –  I’d rather leave being superhuman to others.

Because even though some friends and acquaintances have used “superwoman” in congratulatory and inspiring terms with regards to the work I do (and I vice versa), that word denotes a certain effortlessness and ease with life that just isn’t 100% true. I’m blessed with a loving and supportive spouse that lets me flourish fully. Yes, there are some core talents that come easier than others, but overall, everything I do and personally achieve is only through grace.

God’s grace.

So 2013 is my year of working way smarter, not harder. There’s no need for me to strive to be superhuman.

Looking ahead

2012 was a year of blessings and significant growth in many areas of my life starting with the birth of my daughter, lots of work as a freelancer, an exciting project with National Geographic Channel, travels, and Thanksgiving with the entire family.

I’m excited to see how 2013 unfolds. We already have a small family getaway planned for January and there are personal projects, freelancing assignments, and exciting travels in the works. After all, I do write about travel and place.

In terms of upcoming blog posts, I’ll be sharing:

–          Those pitching pie-charts I normally put together and how 2012 went as a freelancer as well as highlight upcoming 2013 projects.

–          My chosen “focus” word for 2013

–          Summary from Travel Blogger Elevator (TBE) in Genova, Italy

–          Photo galleries from Nice, Monaco, and Northern Sweden.

More importantly, I’ll be sharing these at my own pace and time without any undue self-imposed pressure.

So, I’ll leave you all with this inspiring quote from Afrobella:

Slow down. Calm down. Look back at your year. Appreciate the journey you’ve made – the peaks and the valleys, the growth and the realizations. Be thankful for who you are, what you have, and the people who love you. Look forward to the upcoming year. Make plans that make sense for you, considering what you know you are capable of. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Rejoice in yourself. And know 2013 is going to be your year for greatness on your own terms.

Happy New Year!