Thursday, March 13, 2014

On Spring Cleaning My Life


I have a chronic habit of overfilling my plate.

Not my food plate...my hypothetical daily-life-to-do plate. OK and my food plate too sometimes.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. It's like one second things are all calm, and you think, "I should take up a new hobby." And then suddenly you have 10 new hobbies. And you're also signed up for jazzercise 3x a week. And committed to bringing dinner to several events a week. And build a house with your bare hands, sans instructions, while blindfolded, etc. It. All. Just. Adds. Up. So. Quickly.

The thing is, I don't think most of us magically get better at juggling as we throw more balls in the air. I think we just increase the speed at which we're headed for some ultimate crash. Some moment/day/week where one ball suddenly flies off course, distracts you, and takes the whole circus down with it. In flames. In crazy, glaring, chaotic circus flames.

My theme for 2014 is to simplify and edify.

And on my 5th straight day of avoiding my email inbox this week (except for the absolutely necessary responses), I had to admit to myself that maybe I've got a bit too much going on right now. A bit too much in one arena of my life, and not enough in other areas that really matter to me. (See: I haven't played ultimate frisbee in 5 months. That breaks my heart and withers my soul more than a little bit.) How did I get to a point where the 20+ emails perpetually in my inbox are controlling my life to the point that I don't get out and play enough? Or, that I become afraid of my inbox and just lie on my couch and do none of the above?

Side note: Sometimes I act like my email inbox is a Tyrannosaurus Rex on Jurassic Park. If I don't move, it can't see me.

And so I want to make some changes. I want to treat my time/energy/brain-capacity like it's a precious resource (because it is) and be more careful about how I portion it out. I want to stop over-committing myself to things I can't keep up with (because that only leads to guilt when things inevitably go undone), and more-commit myself to just the very basic necessities. I want to gut my To Do list and keep it minimal. I want to simplify the number of directions I'm being pulled in so that I can give my all to the few that I give permission to. To sort out my career and really put my whole heart and mind into one focused place. Just a couple balls in the air and one smooth, focused juggle, with plenty of room for play and friends and the stuff that really matters.

I want to carve it down a bit. To give myself permission to say no, so that I can say yes more, when I really want to. To stop acting like I need to do "enough" and recognize the more-important "so much" that occurs in the absence of the clutter (see here). To trust my gut on the things I should eliminate or add to my life. I want to work hard, play hard, and always have time for a Thursday-evening absentminded wander around Target with my roommate, a Dr. Pepper in one hand and a $7 clearance blanket in the other.

Because that matters more than emails. It matters more than deadlines. To be fair, some of my current chaos all added up because it had to. I had to pile on the multiple commitments and freelance writing gigs so that I could survive and eat and pay rent these last few crazy months. But I don't necessarily need that right now. And it makes me kind of teary eyed to feel like maybe I've gotten past some of that. That I struggled, like f'reals struggled, survived it, and can now shake off some of the weight like a worn-out winter coat, look forward and leave it the 'ell behind.

Lately the sun is out, I'm rocking sandals on the daily, cut-off shorts are about to be pulled out on the regular, and...I guess it's time for a little spring cleaning of my life.

So bring on the baseball, fireworks, simple joys and wins. Some honest-to-goodness, long-time-coming wins.

(joys and wins like butterscotch root beer & blurry selfies)

6 comments:

Alicia Hanley said...

That T-Rex analogy is something I can relate to. "Oh, I have one billion things I need to get done. I'll just take a nap instead." Once all this wedding planning is over, I think I'll follow suit with this whole keeping the to-do list to the bear necessity (cue Disney sing-a-long).

Camille Millecam Whiting said...

First of all- YES!

How many times do we pass up what we really want for what we maybe want.

Second of all- let's talk about where that butterscotch rootbeer is from and how I can get my hands on some!

Kailee said...

I think I can relate to this post almost word for word. Right now, I totally feel like everything in my life came crashing down like a flaming circus. I don't even know if it could have been prevented in some way, but I totally get it. Life is so scary sometimes and it really can feel like a t-rex (do that with my emails wayyy too often) and all I want to do is just like take a nap or just watch something on netflix so I don't have to face it. Facing it is obviously easier though. Scarier at first, but it's easier. Anyway sorry for my little tangent there haha. Thank you for this post :)

Sierra Ainge Charlesworth said...

I needed this reminder. I am the same way--I need to do this! You go, girl!

Jenna Foote said...

Yep, JUST SAY NO! Something I ironically didn't fully learn to apply to my life until I was called as the YW president six months ago. A responsibility of that magnitude forces you to prioritize better and cut out the fluff. It's been really good for me. But it is something I still struggle with, over-filling my plate. I really have to be careful and be mindful of my physical stress cues. Our bodies speak to us and we just have to listen.

Cammie Smith said...

Awwww...good for you! I can totally relate to over-committing. There is just always so much shtuff to do. I also love hearing you say that you survived. What a good feeling. Congrats!