The last 24 hours have been illuminating. I’ve been pausing throughout my day to reset and ask myself what is most important to me right now? I’ve realized a few things.
My days lack intention
I run myself ragged bouncing from one thing to the next, racing to do the thing that appears most urgent, because it’s in my field of vision. When I forced myself to pause and consider, I had to think for a moment about what would actually add the most value to my life. A lot of the time that meant sacrificing a perceived present good for the future. Delaying homeschool for 15 minutes so I could take a shower. Waiting on that next load of laundry and instead spraying the pile of stained clothes on the counter with stain remover. Leaving the pile of dishes for a moment while I dug out my book club book and made a plan to get through it gradually over the next month. I allowed myself to give precedence to the things that are important to me, and required my life to make a space for those things. Which brings me to my next point-
When I actually prioritize my priorities, sometimes I end up doing the same things, but with ownership.
Sometimes when I paused and asked myself what was most important to me right now, the answer was folding the laundry or doing the dishes. But instead feeling begrudgingly dragged, I had to be honest about what I wanted. I want to fold the laundry, because it will feel good to get that job done. I want to do the dishes, because an empty sink will energize me. I want to teach the 9 year old her math lesson, because nurturing her and helping her thrive academically are important to me. Once I accepted that I do in fact have a choice, I had to own the choices I was making. And that led to a lot less angsting and resisting, and a lot more peace.
When I move the big rocks, the little rocks follow
Order is contagious. And I am more productive when I’m not dragging myself around doing things I don’t want to do. I found that the day went more smoothly and more little things got done when I felt like I was on my own side. I was treating myself like a valued asset, instead of an indentured servant.
I make even more excuses than I realized.
Today husband asked me to send a text. I told him I might not have time to get to it today, but then almost immediately, I caught myself, and admitted honestly that it wasn’t that I didn’t have time, it was that I didn’t want to do it. If I can make time for the things I want, I can make time for the things I dread. Texting people gives me intense anxiety. Such intense anxiety that I want to do it perfectly, craft the perfect text that won’t offend, will be impossible to misinterpret, and will secure a prompt and clear response. So I agonize over it, and put it off, and finally don’t actually send anything, because it all makes me feel yucky, and I don’t want to feel yucky. I’m frantically flailing around trying to avoid a feeling that I don’t like.
Busyness is the ultimate excuse. My 4 crazy kids are the ultimate excuse. Of course I can’t get to it, I don’t even have time to take a shower. As soon as I stopped and questioned that statement, a whole bunch of other stuff came out.
I’m afraid. I’m so afraid that I’ve been hiding even from myself. I have been hiding in my busy life, in my 4 children, and in my endless housework and errands and appointments and chores. But what if I’m not too busy to accomplish things? What if it’s just a matter of really prioritizing? What if it’s more about wanting the thing than not having the circumstances to get it? What if it’s my choice? What if I choose the things that I do in a day?
With agency comes responsibility. If I have time to take a shower, I have time to send a text, time to have an awkward but necessary conversation, time to make a phone call that fills me with dread, time to write a blog post, time to work on a business, time to learn something new, time to confront the things that are difficult or unpleasant for me.
I’m not saying that I have time for everything. At this point in my life, I’m going to get to the end of the day and still have chores undone. But I can choose the things that I do accomplish. I don’t have to be dragged around by an endless to do list, throwing up my hands in helpless consternation.