I have come to the conclusion that about 80 percent of the stress in my life is self-induced. The negative emotion I experience most frequently is feeling overwhelmed. I take on too much, say yes when I should say no, and seriously lack organizational skills. I blame my mother. Seriously, I’m convinced the woman has super powers. She raised four kids, worked full time, and is the most amazing mom ever. When I was four, she was commuting back and forth to Columbia University to get her Masters in Midwifery, and she would study on the floor of the hallway so we could see her from our bedroom as we went to sleep. She currently works full time as The Director of Midwifery for an OB-GYN practice, takes care of her grandchildren, teaches prenatal yoga and childbirth classes, and still manages to train for and run marathons. She goes on vacations with my Dad and somewhere in their week away, she runs a marathon. She does this multiple times a year. When that's your role model, you pretty much think you should be able to take on the world and do anything. So, I set out to accomplish more than is realistically possible to do on any given day. My husband calls me a “beautiful disaster” because I’m constantly moving so fast that I have a tendency to walk into walls and break a lot of dishes. I always feel like I’m falling behind, like there are a million things on my to do list and I’m nowhere near getting them all done.
Last year, I got hooked on the concept of minimalism. I started reading articles and blogs about how having less "stuff" can help you to have a more meaningful and joyful life! I was really excited about this because it made me think, “If I have less clutter in my house, my keys won't have such an easy time hiding from me.” So I decluttered a LOT. Then I decluttered some more. One of my favorite mantras has become, “When in doubt, throw it out,” and my house is definitely cleaner, but it didn’t actually solve any of my problems. I still find myself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and like I’m battling time most days.
The reason I feel overwhelmed is because I don't set realistic goals or boundaries for my time. I literally set myself up to fail. I told a friend the other day that my goal for my one day off this week was to finish the photo gallery wall in my house, paint an end table, a bookshelf, my bathroom vanity, and dig up some bushes in the front yard. He just laughed and said, "Everything you just listed is a full day project on it’s own.” I do the same thing with my work schedule and my social life. I hate the feeling of disappointing people, so I have a hard time saying no. I say yes way too often until my life is completely over scheduled. Then I get frustrated when I'm exhausted, burnt out, and haven't accomplished half of what I set out to do.
My goal for my 35th trip around the sun is to find more balance in all areas of my life, to say no when it's necessary, and to start taking an honest look at what is actually possible for me to do on any given day. Here’s my plan so far: I’ve started bullet journaling. If you haven’t heard of it, type it into “the google.” It’s pretty awesome, and it’s helping me recognize where my delusional optimism (in regards to only having 24 hours in a day) is holding me back. Speaking of those 24 hours, I’m also attempting to get onto a better sleep schedule. I’m fond of saying, “Sleeping is for sissies,” but I heard a rumor that getting adequate sleep actually increases your productivity. My sister SWEARS this to be true. Finally, I’m going to start being brutally honest with myself and everyone else in my life in regards to how I commit my time. My superhero mom says you have to accept that you’re never going to get it all done in a day and make peace with that . . . I”m working on it.