Are you a busy bee? I am. I am one of those people who, self-admittedly, would rather be busy than bored. And typically, to me, bored means any time that I don’t have a to-do list a mile long. But here’s where things get interesting: I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that less is more, even to me, after a certain point.
Allow me to explain.
A typical week for me is spent working all day, playing ball at least twice, keeping a house and a yard inline, grocery shopping, doing laundry, blogging, working out when possible, cooking, and sometimes just for fun, I add in travel for work or teaching a technical writing course online at night. And let me be clear: I like it this way.
But here is the catch. I have a limit. And this limit isn’t one that I recognize easily, or even willingly. It usually takes me a crash of some magnitude to realize that it’s time to step back. I am in the middle of one of these crashes right now; so I thought putting my thoughts on ‘paper’ might help me recognize my state of being.
I am in the throes of my second brutal cold/flu of the year. Back to back I might add; I was only really well for about 5 days in between. And by my standards that is one sickness too many. I’m not immune, oh no. But usually I’m pretty resilient and can sometimes dodge the germs when I see ’em coming. Not this time. And I’ve been asking myself why. I think the answer may lie in what I’ve been up to lately; and it falls inline nicely with what I’m hoping to accomplish this month for my Harperness project. I am out of balance. Big time. And I’m ignoring what I need to do to get back on track because I don’t like to see it, or admit it – I’m overdone.
That’s right folks. The self-diagnosed superwoman has met her match. She’s done like dinner. Down for the count. Out like a light. (I could go on…) Whatever I want to call it, it’s time to admit that I’ve reached my maximum capacity and I need to step back.
So how do I get there? When I look at my todo list, I don’t see any obvious drops. I see things that I’ve got to do, said I’ll do, promised to do, should do, and want to do. So where do I let go? Here’s my latest pearl of enlightenment: it’s not the what that I need to let go of, it’s the when and the how.
Not everything needs to be done immediately and perfectly and by me alone. There are many things that can be done later, or dare I say it never (e.g. Wiping out the inside of every single one of my cabinets!) or if I can’t stand the idea of never, I can certainly space many todos out. There are more things I could ask for help with – I bet I’d be pleasantly surprised at how other people in my life do a lot of the things on my list. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if there is a lack of offers to help. But I need to stop turning down the offers for help. I need to stop needing to do and to control everything. And I need to stop caring so much about the how; the check mark next to the ‘done’ box needs to be enough.
Maximum capacity is usually a reminder to us, often an unpleasant one, that a shift is required. A shift towards balance. A shift towards our more human sides. And an understanding that we all have a maximum capacity that we’d all do well not to ignore.
So as a step in the right direction, I’m going to take off my Superwoman cape now, and go put my feet up. With my cat. And my orange juice. The dust bunnies can rule the world for one more day; and I’m sure the weeds will wait. That will be quite enough for today.