I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about life and specifically the busyness of life that many of us find ourselves trapped in. Whether or not we want to have our lives so jammed packed full, it still seems that many of us find ourselves stuck in this scenario.
I’ve often thought of my personality as a paradox of sorts, and find myself struggling to understand the intricacies that make up who I am.
For example, most people that meet me or know me casually, believe me to be an extrovert that would always be anxious for the next event or get together. I find conversation relatively easy and do enjoy talking and socializing with others. However, behind my outgoing personality lies a genuine introvert. There’s nothing I enjoy more than being at home with my family, or having some alone time. I reenergize when I’m in solitute, and could spend days with no one around, be completely happy alone and find many things to do that would occupy my time. It takes extra effort on my part to make sure that I maintain friendships by setting aside time to get together with others. If I don’t prioritize and make an effort, I will naturally become a hermit that only peeks out at the world from time to time to make sure it’s still rotating correctly. I’ve failed many times in this department, and so I have been putting forth conscious effort to socialize more and fight my introverted ways… or should I say, balance it out so to speak, as there is nothing wrong with having an introverted personality.
There are many other aspects of my personality that are similar to what I’ve mentioned, an odd paradox that leaves me scratching my head, but I won’t bore you with the details.
But this brings me to the point I was leading up to, that when it comes to busyness, I once again have somewhat conflicting desires. On one hand I see myself as rather lazy, not enjoying work, preferring to sleep in, and struggling to manage my time well. Yet on the other hand, I will often find myself with my nose to the grindstone, working at something I’m passionate about, and not daring to stop or slow down even if it takes until the wee hours of the morning to complete. I’ve come to realize that if I’m passionate about something, it will take an army to stop me, but if I’m not feeling it, a thousand horses couldn’t drag me into place. This is incredibly selfish, and I’ve been working at it and feel I’m gaining victory slowly, but it is still in my nature.
While being a homemaker keeps one busy, I’ve always needed a passion project or two to keep my free spirit alive. The problem, however, is that I tend to have too many ideas and dreams I would enjoy pursuing, and if I’m not careful, I can quickly find myself surrounded with too many projects or long term commitments that started off with zest and passion and turned into time stealing, joy sucking obligations.
So I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting, trying to step back and take a look at my life and the direction it’s headed, and asking myself what changes need to happen to bring more balance to my life. And while finding balance is one of the hardest things we humans struggle with, I think it’s good to be aware and strive for that balance, even though we will likely often miss the mark and have to realign our focus once again.
Do I really need to keep up with the Jones’s? Why do I feel my house needs to be clean, the front porch swept, the lawn immaculate and my flower beds and garden weedless before I have friends over? This is often unattainable and thus, having friends over spontaneously, rarely happens. We all know it’s the conversations, the laughter, the companionship that is important, yet somehow, a dirty house stands between us and quality time spent with friends. Well, at least that’s how it is for me, and it really boils down to pride. I don’t want others to judge me by the state of my home or the lack of delicious food in the fridge, and this fear coupled with my introverted nature tends to result with me not having friends over as much as I should.
If I can lay down my desire for perfectionism I can more easily move on and better manage the rest of my responsibilities, passion projects, and relationships.
While I hate when my home turns into mayhem and try to keep it from doing so, that doesn’t mean it needs to be spotless. Can I leave the dinner dishes on the table to go on a bike ride with my family before it gets dark? Or am I so worried about the clutter that I miss out on what really matters in life? Do I take the time to go see my son’s sand creation even when I’m busy, or do I tell him to wait until it suits me better and then go on to forget and simply continue working nonstop? (I’m afraid I’m guilty of the latter way too often). Do I take on obligations and responsibilities that are not necessary that I know will max out my schedule and cause me to be stressed? This stress spills over into family life where I tend to lash out more quickly and have no time to spend with those I love.
The list goes on and on, and while there are many busy parts of life we can’t control, I do believe that often we are holding up an unnecessary standard that is creating busyness that we could avoid. So I am on a journey to try and manage all the chaos so I can live more freely in the present, not missing out on the beauty of life. Because life is breathtakingly beautiful in all of its ups and downs, and I don’t want to come to the end of my life and realize I had rushed through it all and missed it’s beauty.
To begin, I’m trying to let go of an impossible standard, as this perfectionistic ideal will keep me running wide open to try and maintain an image that honestly has no value whatsoever. As I’m getting older, I’m also learning to say no to more of my impulses (with my husband’s help of course) in taking on too many projects that will later overwhelm me. I do believe this will be a life-long battle.
For some of my business responsibilities, I look for ways to simplify and also delegate tasks to others. Even though paying others will decrease our profit margins, it’s better to live with less and have more time than be stressed to the max simply to have a little more money.
The hardest thing for me, however, is to turn off the work button in my brain. When I am home, all the work that needs to be completed screams at me and I find it hard to relax and truly socialize with my family. This irritates me to no end, and is one of the reason I enjoy vacation so much, as it’s one of the only times I can truly unplug from work, slow down and enjoy time with my family. If you have any advice in this area, please let me know in the comments below.
Another thing I am trying to do, is to quiet myself more often and to be hyper aware of my surroundings. Listening to my sons chatter as he plays with his toys, or if the house is quiet, just soaking in the quiet sounds, like the hum of the air conditioner or the whir of the refrigerator. Looking out the window and observing nature, the colors of the world, the patterns of the birds, and yes, even the weeds in my garden. Maybe it’s the feeling of grass beneath my feet, or simply closing my eyes and letting that sweet, juicy strawberry melt over every taste bud in my mouth. When I do these things, a calmness settles over me and I feel as if I’m truly enjoying life for what it was meant to be.
This week started off quite stressful, and I knew I had a video to edit for Friday. It was going to take me longer than some, and my creative juices were gone. I had no motivation, and I was tired of being so busy. So I asked myself why I felt it would be the end of the world if I missed this week’s upload and I realized it really was only once again, that perfectionist standard that I didn’t want to let go of. I decided to part with it… well, at least for this week, and if I didn’t get a video done, it would be fine. I decided I was going to relax and catch up with some of my personal videos and pictures that should have been finished years ago, and just do odds and ends of house work at whatever pace I desired.
With the pressure gone, some of my other work completed, I felt inspired to pick up my camera and film a small montage of the joy of gathering the harvest of our own garden and turning it into a tasty salad, while also sharing my recent musings with you all.
It was a relaxing day, and after a tasty dinner of strawberry, pecan, feta cheese salad with honey mustard chicken, we tucked Xander in early (as he was super tired), and Nolan and I had an evening to ourselves. Instead of working on all the things that could’ve been done, we moved the sofa and sat down to catch up on the last two episodes of The Chosen.
By the way, if you’ve never seen The Chosen, we highly recommend watching. We’ve never seen Jesus’ character brought to life in such a real and meaningful way. Highly recommend.