We want it all.
Seems North American Society is just wired that way. I can be a mom, I can have a career, I can cook all the meals, I can volunteer, I can be your support (BTW I am not just singling out women here but, in my experience, it seems guys have a different barometer for taking things on, women seemed to be wired more for care giving and sacrifice).
Crazy thing is when we fall short we criticize ourselves and say we have to do better/more next time. You are applauded for taking on, frowned on for doing less, I mean you don’t have kids you should be able to …. or the “top that” conversation where you have a breather around a bottle of wine or a pot of coffee and list your to-dos and everyone makes oohs and ahhs over each others current task list.
What are we doing to ourselves? And really, WHY??? What is the “reward” for all this sacrifice??? Illness, exhaustion, lack of presence in daily activities, missing out on key events, lack of connection, stress anyone want to add anything more here?
A long time ago I remember seeing a sign at a service shop, it read:
You can have only two of these attributes.
I remember looking at it and seeing such wisdom. It recognized that something had to give, you can’t have it all. Well I should say I recognized you can’t have it all in dealing with a service anyway. It didn’t really hit home for me in other ways until I saw another list:
Pick Three. Mellisa Harwig ( I think this came via Oprah)
Same principle, different area of life and for me anyway, profound impact. I would also venture to say that if there is something else that you think should be on the list that the “pick three” still holds.
You see on this list my constants usually are sleep and exercise while the third swaps out a bit. I am just wired that way. We all have different needs. I get super ornery when those two fall off the list for any length of time. I also find it interesting that some view these priorities as a luxury.
Recently my sister told me a story from a long time ago when I lived in Vancouver and came home for a visit. We had limited windows to connect and for whatever reason I had a run scheduled when she could, and I opted for the run. Today this horrifies me, and I honestly can’t remember it, but can believe it. Things have shifted for sure but exercise is still critical for my well being and lately it has been suffering.
It pains me so but, I do see it as a temporary blip, necessary to accomplish other goals in my world, but it is a delicate balance. One day, two possibly and that is too much then everything suffers.
It is a time in my life where overwhelm seems to visit regularly, so much I want to do then fall short when it just doesn’t come together. I am working on kindness to self but also looking at my long-term goals and what will get me there. Where do I need to spend my time (my most valuable and limited resource) to get me to the place I want to be?
Each day we must make choices, each day there will be a little FOMO (fear of missing out) and possibly a little guilt (working on that one). The only way I can rationalize it is with the big picture in mind. What will make the rest of my days more joyful vs what will make today “easier”. Sacrifices are required, the kind that won’t serve though will be the ones where you are tossed into the volcano completely. Again, that balance.
I never have it totally figured but do find myself pondering and discovering way more now at the stage of life I am than I ever have. Before I would simply walk through the day doing whatever came in my way. Now I am selective…or at least try to be. The ability to go with the flow still feels wonderful sometimes, I just can’t all the time.
So, I am curious and would love to learn from you, what are your big three? Does my list offend? What would you add to the list or even remove? We can all learn from each other. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.