There’s nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway. ~Mark Burnett
Does anyone else take on too much?
I mean, way, way too stinkin’ much? I know the answer is yes, because this blog is largely read by women, and I think at least among my subset of girlfriends, women take on too damn much. Men probably do too but I haven’t talked to them about it lately. The inclination to say yes to life, and everything in it, is strong within lots of us. To wit:
When I decided I was ready to write my next book, I decided I better write it in three months. Uh, that’s not happening. Too much to take on.
When I decided to cast on for a knitting project, I thought intricate lace with spiderweb-thin thread seemed like a great plan. Too much!
When I was expecting my BLB I decided I wasn’t just going to be a good mom, I was going to be The Greatest Mom Ever. Not just too much to take on–downright impossible. And silly! And the source of endless stress and unmet expectations. Argh!
For a long time I thought taking on too much was one of those bad habits that fell into the same category as being too rich, or looking too put together all the time (two bad habits I am utterly free from, you’ll be relieved to know). It was a good problem to have. After all, most of the achievements that give me the most pride in my life came in moments when I set my bar a little too high, pinched my eyes shut tight, and then leapt into the air. I like to lean into the wind. When the going gets tough, I get going. I don’t always keep calm but I sure do carry on. Lots of things haven’t killed me, so I’m stronger.
I could cliche on this subject all day. The point is: I value a little performance-oriented unreasonableness from time to time. And yet it can get me into some serious trouble when combined with my stubborn streak. Maybe biting off more than I can chew isn’t actually the worst thing in the world… as long as sometimes I’m willing to spit some things out.
The book I’m writing now is about a woman who wants to spit some things out of her life. She’s taken on a lot, not all of it worth doing, and in the first quiet moment she has to think it over, she realizes she’s not happy. She’s a very extreme case study of a aspect of myself that I don’t entirely understand. And I think that aspect may actually be found in a lot of you too.
So, in the spirit of many hands making light work and all that, I am wondering if any of my readers today will share tasks they have spit out in life–or would like to. Did you quit the PTA in your son’s senior year? Refuse a family member’s unreasonable request? Tell a boss that no, sorry, you won’t be working on Saturdays anymore? And did it feel amazing?
I’ll start–I wanted to be both a stay at home mom and a working mom. So I decided to be both a fulltime-stay-at-home-and-working-mom. Um, crazy much? Today I’m still trying to figure out how to do half of one and half of the other–but not 100% of both. It will mean saying no to some work and saying no to some playtime with BLB… and that’s hard to contemplate on both fronts.
Now you go! What’s something you have said or would like to say no to in your own life? And how did the world react? Post anonymously if you’d like–I’ll keep an eye on the spam filters today and let you through.