Enough is enough already.
Meetings. Money. Appointments. Activities. Go go go.
Have you ever sat back and wondered how your schedule spiraled out of control? Have you ever wondered how you agreed to do so many things for so many other people? Or how you signed up for so many things?
I’d like to encourage you to heed to the call of your inner voice. Listen to your inner alarms going off telling you that you need a break. Especially if these alarms are going off every single day.
As I sit here in a bookstore, yearning for stillness, silence and space to ponder the words flowing through my head, there’s a meeting taking place behind me in which two mothers – armed with their calendars and to-do lists – sit and decipher which food to make for which activity, who to call, what to organize, what to buy, who they can count on, and who isn’t moving fast enough for their schedules and deadlines. It’s as though they’ve entered this time warp where the only things that matter are checking things off their lists and moving on to the next activity. You can hear the strain in their voices as they try to gather all information over their phones, write down details and speedily make their requests and confirmations known.
This isn’t to say you should never gather and plan. But the schedules we’ve created within our lives have taken over. Instead of the other way around. Our lives should instead reflect the inner voices we each carry – a voice of stillness and rest and spending time with those we love instead of orchestrating their every move.
I’m at fault, of course, of doing all these things. My kids are still young. I still make plans for them, often. We homeschool so this is a necessary evil if you don’t want to spend 100% of your time at home.
However, I’ve been working on heeding to my inner self. Any alarms going off telling me we’re doing too much. My inner voice that often tells me to simply “slow down.”
Our kids don’t care which sandwich they get or which toy you’re so focused on procuring. They care that you’re present with them, in whatever moment they’re in. They don’t care if you’re off planning through next year’s activities and putting them on waitlists and coordinating outfits. They care if you spend time with them.
What are two things you can take off your calendar so you have time to do nothing? Do nothing with your family. I know it seems like a stretch, but it’s really not.
I had a conversation with my sister when she was visiting from South Korea where she teaches English to young children – a society where kids are disciplined by being given more work and withholding sleep – yes, sleep! We were discussing how we choose to spend our time. A close family member, not able to stay in touch as well as she’d like with my sister told her “life’s just complicated.” But I looked at her and just said, “no, life’s not complicated at all – we make it complicated.” She nodded her head in agreement. She’s a person who values spending time with family over most I know… unfortunately, not everyone in our immediate family feels that way. And that’s OK. We have to learn not to allow others’ actions to determine our happiness.
So again, life’s not complicated, people. But we do make it complicated. With our desires to keep up. The money. The meetings. The arrangements. The activities. The “I wants” or the “I’m just too busy.” Because we’re all either trying to keep up because society tells us to do so or avoid what might we might discover about ourselves if we … s l o w d o w n.
Anyway, so stop reading this and heed to your short time here on earth. Heed to your inner alarms and listen to your inner voice. Find space. Find time (because it’s there, I promise). Find stillness. For yourself. For your kids. For your family. Because in the end – no one ever cares whether the sandwiches were right.