Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Keeping Time

Everyone says they're busy. With modern communication methods, that's easy to believe because we're constantly connected. We can take work with us anywhere we go. Our cell phones sleep cradled next to our beds, or within a few feet of us. They carry unlimited opportunities to send stories, photos, messages, and a never-ending chronicle of our day, always at our fingertips, as vital as water to most of us. 

Yet, do we really have to be that busy all the time? I am struggling with that question right now. Lately I've been running on fumes, burning the candle at both ends and not seeing relief in sight. Even an upcoming vacation doesn't offer a lightening up of these feelings. Why do I do this to myself and how can I slow down?

First and foremost, I want to please everyone and never let anyone down. I realize this is impossible, but it doesn't stop me from trying. I have always been this way. It is part of my Type A personality that has brought tons of benefits to my life. But it is also the cause of a lot of undue stress. One way I am combating this is to say no more often. If you ask my daughter, she'll probably say I say no to everything, but in truth, I say yes way too often when I shouldn't. When asked to volunteer, to help someone, to be on a committee, to offer advice, or to share of my talents I am too quick to say yes. Instead of thinking about what it will cost me personally to say yes, I think about what it will say about me if I say no. That is the wrong way to see it. It isn't working for me. 

Saying yes so often means 15 minutes to get home from work, get a meal on the table, eat dinner with my daughter and leave for my next commitment. It means foregoing working out to get things done, even though working out has been the main healer in my grief journey and has offered countless benefits from strong mental health to a good night's sleep. It means that I miss out on experiences with my daughter and family that I would otherwise like to participate in. It means always begging for a sitter, or dragging my child along to meetings and events she finds boring. 

Resolutions are left for once a year, but I am declaring this a good time to resolve to say no more often. I have been forced to do so more since becoming a single-mom, but I know there is room for improvement. It is time to respectfully decline and recommend someone else who can fulfill the request. More reflection of how my time is spent is critical to my happiness, the memories I make with my daughter, and is essential to carving out the life that I want to live. It is critical to achieving my dream of publication, storytelling, and sharing of that passion. Without assessing how my time is carved, I will continue to spend it on things that don't work towards any of those goals and at the end of the day, at the end of my life, I want to look back on those elements. The rest won't be what helps me feel that I lived a life that fed my soul. 

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