I should be on my way to the outlet mall, but instead I’m in my pajamas, writing, catching up, buckling down, being disciplined, telling my inner child no. I’m missing a day with friends because I said yes to far too many things last week and am committed to several more things this week. Something had to give.
It could be Karma or just coincidence, but Jeanne Marie Laskas, in her latest column, Joining Voices in the Washington Post, writes about how she and three of her closest friends were reduced to “meeting” via a conference call. Their schedules were so crazy they couldn’t find time to physically meet. But as one of the women said, "Look, at least it’s something. You want to go another four months barely speaking?"
I wish I could do it all: family, friends, work out, hours of writing and project developments, but in the end I am one person with 24 hours every day. That’s it. No more. To my surprise, though, I’ve found prioritizing very freeing. I used to just say yes to almost everything, piling appointments on top of responsibilities on top of commitments until I couldn’t see over the top. I was pulling my hair out and for what? I’d forgotten to tell the altruist in me to shut up and ask myself what “I” wanted and what was best for me.
Have you ever given so much of yourself away that you wonder how you’ll pull yourself back together into one whole person again? Freefalling into everyone’s need for pieces of you is just as scary as isolation can be. Now that I’ve spent some time on both the “all” and “nothing” sides of the spectrum, I’m learning to balance somewhere in the middle, to say no and move on without regret.
(Of course there are some people I can’t say no to. How can I say no to my super cool drooly face grandbaby?)
Maybe we could take a cue from Laskas and her friends and my shopping buddies and I could do a little Internet shopping one day? Hmm…probably not. Everything has its priority, and one of these days we’ll log a few hours at the mall.