Thursday, May 19, 2011

Make it All Work

When we are tired, everything seems unmanageable and just a little bit worse than when we are well-rested. Becoming overloaded and stressed happens quickly; one day we are okay, and one day we are not, and it's hard to see when it became too much. Keeping my schedule under control and making sure I'm not too busy is my responsibility, and when I give that power away to others or I feel guilty and do more than I should be doing, I'm the one that needs to take the reins back to my own life.

As women, we tend to take on too much, and try to be helpful in too many different directions, and before we know it, we are burning out. There has to be downtime built in or we end up going when we should be stopping, coasting in on fumes and suddenly we realize we have nothing left to give. I hate it when I allow this process to reach its end point and don't figure out somewhere in the middle that I am doing too much.

I need a radar system which warns me when my schedule is too full and I am too busy and stressed. A kind of "check engine" light which blinks on my internal dashboard so I know I need to slow down before I'm exhausted. We can build this into our mechanical devices, so why don't we have it for our schedules? I know that my boundaries are supposed to protect me, and they do when they are working properly. But it only takes a few small exceptions to add up to a big hole in the boundary wall, and next thing I know, I'm overloaded and desperately bailing out water so I don't drown.

I wonder why it's so hard to learn this lesson. Perhaps it's because some of us are wired to take on too much. I know I also feel good when people think I am well organized and can manage a lot of tasks at once. We never do anything unless we are getting something from it, healthy or otherwise. But living my life to please others is an old coping mechanism and not part of my new belief system, so I must do an honest scan of my life from time to time and see what is working well and what needs to be improved.

I want more time to write. I also enjoy volunteering in my community and spending these last precious days with William before he goes to kindergarten. As is the case for every person, there are only so many hours in each day. We must all make decisions about how we spend our time, and live with the consequences. When something is broken, it must be fixed. And when it's working well, we have to protect it from outside forces.

It never stops being a balancing act. We want to give to others, but also take time for ourselves to accomplish what we need to get done in a day. We want to relax, but also to produce something. We want to model a healthy lifestyle for our kids, and be honest about what we can realistically do in any given time frame. The good news is, there is always more time to tinker in our lives and try again to get it right. The sun will rise tomorrow, and we will all get another chance to do the very best we can to make it all work.

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