Thursday, August 22, 2013
More, More, More
One of my first Story 101 assignments, which we've continued to discuss throughout the class, was to "write the hard thing." Seven weeks in, I was still wondering where to start. But one "hard thing" has been nagging at me consistently, and it's in line with my One Word for 2013, and it is this:
I can't do it all.
There are just too many boxes to be checked off in life. Work, lots of family and friend relationships, relationship with God, church involvement, community involvement, charity involvement, health, fitness, goal-setting, writing pursuits, general creative pursuits, home maintenance, car maintenance, cat maintenance, budget management, traveling – all these areas require constant upkeep. I keep as many plates spinning as I can, but at any given time a few things are taking a backseat. Whenever I feel okay across the board, someone ups the ante. A leader of something I'm involved in challenges me to further commitment, or suggests I get involved in something else additionally. The agency through which I sponsor a child sends monthly urgings to sponsor more children. My company and church issue more pleas for volunteers for this or that, when I'm already participating in something or just pitched in last week. They're just trying to share information and/or do their jobs, but the message I hear is often, Thanks for your participation and contributions, but it's not enough. We still need you to do more.
I'm interested in so many things. I would truly love to be involved in everything, but I'm limited by, you know, my humanity and the space-time continuum. What I want most is to know that my life is making a difference for good and for God's glory, and that I'm living it to the fullest. But I feel like every time I approach that finish line, it moves, and I get too tired to keep running.
Often when I confide in people about my lack of love life, their well-intentioned response is, "You just need to put yourself out there. Have you thought about joining a club or something?" I laugh it off, because otherwise I would have to lay down and cry. I don't think I could join any more "clubs" or get any more "out there" without sacrificing my health. I can't force great single Christian men to be into the same things I'm into and then notice I'm alive while they're there. Yet I fear that people blame me for my singleness because I'm not pushing myself to the absolute limit to find someone. (Even though if they do blame me, that's their problem and not mine.)
Earlier this year I had the revelation that I don't have to fill every moment of my day. I learned that intentionally leaving a little open space in my schedule makes me much happier and more relaxed. It sounds crazy that this was a revelation, but it was and is. Still, it's hard to shake the guilt for allowing myself blocks (even, occasionally, whole afternoons) of introvert time. I worry that a friend will be upset because I said I was too busy to get together, but I could have squeezed her into that hour between those two events if I really wanted to. I'm always last on my own list, and that's not healthy. It's also prideful. I'm still trying to get a handle on it.
This mess of never-enoughness continues to be one of my hardest things. I still haven't found a permanent, solid line between healthy, full living and "I'm So Excited"-era Jessie Spano. Like that finish line, it seems to be in constant motion.