There are seasons when life seems to happen all at once.
From busy days at work, to 4 evening photo sessions, to friends in from out-of-town, to holidays, to weekends filled with weddings. It all happens in a 7 day period, and at the end, I am left with loads of dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and an empty gas tank.
I love weeks like that.
And at the same time, they drive me crazy.
Because they remind me that I have limits.
I can’t do everything. I can’t be everything. I can’t know everything, or accomplish everything.
My t0-do list. It drives me crazy. Because without it, I would not have a successful business. I would forget important calls, e-mails, appointments, and to update my website. I would be a terrible responder, and a terrible photographer. I would forget that we are out of eggs, and milk, and coffee creamer. And we all know that coffee creamer is a necessity.
I need that list. Because when I write it down, for some reason, I can always visualize that list. Even when it’s not in front of me. Right now, I could verbally go down the list and tell you each item on it, without looking.
But if I didn’t write it down….I would have no idea who I was supposed to meet for coffee on Tuesday, or who wanted a blue cover on their wedding album.
I don’t like that for every item that gets crossed off, more get added. Sometimes, it feels like the more I accomplish, the more I have to do the next day.
And it bothers me. Because I want to be finished. I want to have a finish line, an end, a time where all of my to-do’s are done. Check and Mark.
But that won’t ever happen.
Why? Because laundry and dishes are two things that will follow me the rest of my days. Every moment that I am not living in a nudist colony, I will be having dirty clothes to wash. Don’t worry, no dreams of nakedness here. And every day I choose not to eat cereal in my hands like a caveman, there will be dirty spoons & bowls.
But it also encourages me. Knowing that I don’t have to have it all done at the end of each day. Knowing that I can take things one at a time, instead of all at once.
And I’m learning that giving each task my entire focus leaves me much happier with the result than when I am trying to multi-task. When I take life one day at a time, one blog at a time, one conversation at a time, I can learn to enjoy the details. Enjoy the process.
And it also reminds me to take moments and days to just BE. While I am fully aware of the need to work hard, and play hard, I am learning that it is important for me to REST hard.
Last night, I was overwhelmed. Too many thoughts. Too much going on in my head. Trying to accomplish a million things in one evening. So I told Kyle I just needed a break. I drove and got myself a decaf caramel macchiatto with extra ice, of course, and wandered the aisles of Pier 1. It felt like a vacation. Drinking my coffee, looking at pillows, and dishes, and coffee mugs. And in that hour, I felt refreshed. Not like I was in Hawaii for a week, but like I was enjoying what was right in front of me. Without jumping from task to task, goal to goal, thought to thought.
So here I am, admitting that as much as I would love to be a superhero. I’m not. I am full of limits, and I am learning that what will make me effective is putting boundaries around myself. To carve out spaces of time to rest hard. To quit trying to be the perfect ________ anything. And to enjoy the places that I am at. To quit focusing on the distance between where I am and where I want to be, and to just enjoy where I am at.
To be happy with the items that have gotten crossed off my to-do list, rather than being overwhelmed by the items that get added. That is a daily choice I am learning to make. Knowing that if I get everything done, but sacrifice my sanity, that would not be an accomplishment.
So cheers, to working hard, to loving hard, to playing hard, and to resting hard.
Let’s put the lists down, pour a glass of iced tea, and be grateful that our value isn’t determined by our accomplishments. I know I am.