Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Doing it all. Or not.

If you know me, you know that I have a laaaaaaaaarge range of interests and roles and responsibilities. At the moment, I'm juggling my roles as a mom/partner/daughter/sister/friend/etc with my job as a high school English teacher, with my hobbies and interests (running, lifting, knitting, reading, blogging/social media, makeup), along with just the everyday responsibility of keeping myself healthy and alive. (You have no idea how often I forget to eat or to go to bed on time.)

So the one question that inevitably comes up often is "How do you do it all? Where do you find the time?"

I've thought long and hard about how to answer this question, and here's what I came up with:

I actually don't. I don't do it all. Not at the same time, anyway.

I look at my life as a collection of rotating pieces, and at any given time, some pieces are in action and other pieces are not. If I tried to get everything firing all at the same time, I would drive myself mad (and probably never sleep). Life is a lot of give-and-take, and on top of that, I have the incredible privilege of having many supportive individuals in my life who make things more manageable. You know the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"? You don't stop needing your village after you're no longer a child.

So, sometimes someone else steps in and takes Jolie for a few hours (or even overnight). And sometimes I pick up dinner that someone else has prepared instead of cooking dinner myself. And sometimes (actually, all the time) someone else is in charge of telling me how much weight to lift and how many times. And someone else shows up to run with me because I can't always muster up the will to go alone.

And sometimes I'm not running at all (or at least, not in active training mode). And sometimes I have to skip going to the gym. And sometimes I don't pick up my knitting for a while. And sometimes I take a break between books. And sometimes, everything gets pushed off because I'm in desperate need of a good nap.

At any given time, there's something that I'm not doing, but I try not to spend too much time not doing that thing. I don't want to spend too much time not taking care of my kid. I don't want to spend too much time not preparing lesson plans and grading. I don't want to spend too much time not running, not knitting, or not sleeping. But I do, in fact, allow myself some time to not do these things. Because I have to. You cannot be all things to all people all the time. Breaks are healthy and necessary, and in fact, they really do help the heart grow fonder.

In short, I don't do it all, all the time. I'm sorry if that's not as satisfying an answer as what you may have been expecting :) I keep a close eye on how I'm feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically, and whatever needs to be put on the backburner goes, and it doesn't bother me because I never put anything there for very long. So yeah. That's my big life tip - give yourself a break sometimes, from any given thing, at any given moment. And don't beat yourself up about it.

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