This post was going to be an update to my 2015 reading list. I’ve finished some books on my list (What Alice Forgot – great writing, great portrayal of the changing relationship of a married couple) and others that were not (Gone Girl – amazing writing and character development). I’ve also added more books (hello, a new book by Margaret Atwood!!).
My list contains way more than I can possibly finish in a year, and when I start thinking about all of the books to be read, I start feeling anxious. I have so many other goals and commitments, how can I fit in so much reading? There just isn’t enough time to read them all…
And then I realized the post was a bit deeper than my reading list.
There just isn’t enough time.
It’s not just books that make me feel that way. Some days, it’s absolutely everything. Days where I look around my house, and all I see are projects I should be completing – from the everyday (dirty dishes, what should I cook for supper?) to the someday (I’m looking at you, basement room with stacks of boxes that have been sitting there for years).
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, because along with those “should-do” projects are things I want to do – those paintings for my sister, my husband, and myself; and oh yeah, not to mention more writing and working toward my dream of being a published author.
All of this is secondary to the most important things in life, which of course aren’t things at all: my kids, husband, family, and friends. Then there’s work, and I really should volunteer more at school, and it’s time to sign up for a 5K this summer…
Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure most of us are in the exact same boat. The same hole-filled, semi-sinking boat that we are desperately trying to bail water out of in order to stay afloat.
Enough is enough. No one can do it all. This is not an excuse to be selfish; it is a call to set limits. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a year and a half ago, I was advised to avoid stress and get enough rest. It’s up to me, and me alone, to make sure I am following that recommendation.
So from here on out, I plan to ask myself the following questions:
Am I being the best mom I can be?
Am I being the best wife, sister, friend, daughter, co-worker, and person in general that I can be?
Am I taking care of myself and my health?
Am I making progress toward pursuing my dreams?
My goal is, at the end of the day, to be able to answer yes to those questions. Everything else – the non-mandatory obligations and commitments, the secondary goals, the I-really-should-do-that-because-other-moms-do – are optional. If I’m not able to serve on the PTA yet again this fall, so be it. If I buy graham crackers for my kiddos rather than make them from scratch, who cares? And if my 2015 reading list stretches well into 2016, that’s just fine.
Will I fail sometimes? Sure. But I’ll keep trying. Because that’s the beauty in life: Every new day is a second chance.