August 19, 2013
A few years ago I found myself in the classic position, common to women I know, of getting over-involved, over-committed, stretched too thin (if only that was literal!) and going a little crazy. I remember one day near Christmas, heading to a lunchtime kickboxing class my husband and I took together (and really looking forward to relieving some stress) and making my to do list in my head as I drove. It was overwhelming and I nearly started crying. I felt tightness in my lungs and…well, probably as close to a nervous break down as I’ve ever come. I decided a few things that day.
1) I never wanted a deadline at or near Christmas ever again. It spoiled the holidays for me. I couldn’t relax. If there’s something to be done it weighs on me until I finish and I didn’t have nearly enough time to do the fun stuff I wanted with my family.
2) I had to practice saying “no” when asked to be on committees, serve as officer, organize fund-raisers, lead Bible studies, help with X, or volunteer for Y.
3) In the short years I had left before my son went to college, I wanted to concentrate my energy on him: supporting his school activities, spending time watching movies, keeping him on track to finish his Eagle Scout project and college applications.
4) I wanted more time to concentrate on my writing. I didn’t want to feel rushed with a book and didn’t want to turn in shabby work. I felt I was trending toward that and it bothered me.
So I took a big step back. Made a conscious effort to drop activities, step away from committees, and focus myself. I was still involved, mind you, but I chose my activities carefully. It was great. I had more time to read, to relax with my husband at night and to enjoy my son as he grew.
Fast forward a few years. My son is in college, my life is quiet, my deadlines are well spaced. I was ready to be involved again. So I volunteered for a women’s council at church. Offered to organize and captain a Race for the Cure team for our church. Teach the college Sunday school this summer. Joined the group that works with the animal shelter and spay neuter clinic and got involved in a major fund-raiser. Joined this blog. Offered to have my book club at my house…Yep, I went a little overboard. In the last few months, I’ve piled on quite a few things, and they’re all popping this next couple weeks.
This morning I had a Scarlett O’Hara moment at church. While reading the requirements for the ministry fair booth I have to create and man on in a couple weeks, I stopped mid-way down the page, folded the instructions and shoved it in my purse. I said to myself (I really did) “I’ll think about that another day.” Too many other things to accomplish and worry about before that.
Yep, I see the warning signs. Proceed with caution! I don’t want to over-extend myself again. So I’ll pick and choose a few things to weed out again and keep only the extras that I enjoy and feel I can give my best to.
What do you do to find balance in your life? Or do you? And as I finish typing this blog late on Sunday night to post for Monday…I realize other bloggers on ENALR have covered the topic of their busy lives recently. Sigh. Sorry to be a repeat on that topic. But it just shows what is on my mind…and the other busy ladies of ENALR!