I know it’s been awhile. I’ve been setting priorities and recognizing limits in my life. Things have been working out quite well. Unfortunately, the result of the priority and limit setting has cost the blog content. What I would normally have done in order to ensure a blog post is non-negotiable now. I have a bedtime now. In fact, I’m so conditioned to this new bedtime that I find I am falling asleep wherever I am at around the exact same time – midnight.
I know that this doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. My husband smirks when I congratulate myself on another week of real sleep as he requires a bedtime of about 10pm. Of course, we can’t all be precious flowers who awake before the crack of dawn because staunch English military blood seem to give one the need to do be “morning people”.
Can we, darling.
I had thought that the outcome of more sleep would be simply that I would feel well rested (yes, I’m a genius), that perhaps I would be more patient and that finally, I might even have more energy to do even more things. Of course, all of these things make sense and I do feel better in many ways but what has happened that I didn’t expect is my ability to actually take more off of my plate, not add to it.
I really appreciate this ability to go to sleep early but what I’d now realized is that in reality, the only way that I can do this is to say “No” to so many of the things I would normally try and tackle.
It’s obvious that I’m an ambitious person. I constantly want to do more (and more and more) so it is quite normal for me to have many things on the go at one time. I say “normal” because that’s the way I liked it. To be bored is hellish. To be slow, meandering, aimless…. I’m not built like this. However, I’ve realized that to have many things on the go is a different sort of meandering, it’s a form of aimlessness with misguided non-purpose. It’s not like I don’t know what I want to do with my life. It’s not like I’m not focused on a particular goal and need to try out different avenues to “find myself”. I know where I’m headed. It’s a long road but I’ve had it in the back of my mind for years – finances pending.
These last few months, with sleep and my new found sense of “I don’t need to do this” I’ve found that I’m not actually required to spend time doing anything past midnight. When I ask myself, “Does it further my goal?”, “Does it help my family?”, “Does it help a friend?” If yes, then I have no problem. However, is it a hobby that takes up my time without real enjoyment? Do I do it to “keep up with the Jones’? Is it perhaps a good idea, but just not something I need to do to place me further toward where I want to go? Could another person do it much better than I? These are the things I no longer spend my time doing.
I’m sure there are many people who could say that this is a not really all that revolutionary but I think, in reality, it’s a hard rule to follow. We get pulled in many different directions because society has many different roles for us in life – mother, daughter, wife, employee, employer, academic, homemaker, provider, supporter… It is up to us to decide the path we want to travel on, not anyone else. I can be many of those things but I don’t have to subscribe to all of them with the same level of perfection.
Sure, something is a good idea, it doesn’t mean YOU have to do it. Sure, you might be good at that, but do you have the time? Most importantly, does it take away from what you want to do?
It’s hard for me to do this all of the time but when I look at the mountain of emails I have to return and list all of the chores that still need doing, I remember what is important and take a step back from it all.
No, I don’t need to research that for you, you can find someone else – or do it yourself.
No, I don’t have to chase you down for that information. You get it to me or you can deal with the consequences.
No, I don’t have to get back to your email that day so that you can hand in that paper on time. Who left it until the last minute? Oh yeah, not me.
No, I don’t have to play this game or read this website. It’s half an hour to midnight! Let’s get this article read so I can go to sleep!
No, I don’t need to coddle your insecurities with worry about my own inadequacy. I am doing just fine and I’m heading down my own road, not yours.
Really. I’m doing just fine.