And I think she sums up well what a lot of us feel like...
"It worked for a while. I like to be busy. I’ll always be kind of “more is more” person when it comes to my schedule...All I know is along the way, I signed up for a schedule that seemed so fun, not taking into account the pace that super-fun schedule would force me to keep...The changes I’m making this year are not, at the core, about more traveling or less traveling, more flights or fewer flights. The travel schedule is part of it, but really it’s about the hustle. It’s about frantic.
That’s what I’m done with, that’s what I want to leave behind. You know what I’m talking about: when your mind has to work seven steps ahead instead of just being where you are, because this deadline’s coming, and the laundry has to get done before that trip, because you can’t forget to pack snowpants for school, and you need to beg for more time on this project. Again.
Kindergarten drop-off is at noon, and that gives me just enough time to squeeze in this meeting and pick up the dry-cleaning and talk through those five pressing things with my editor. While I'm on the phone I prep vegetables for dinner, and if Mac takes a good nap, I can get packed for the next trip, as long as the laundry is dry. And on and on and on, times seven years.
Good things like efficiency and multi-tasking go of the rails so far that sometimes I find myself running in my own house, shuttling things from room to room like my life is a timed obstacle course. This is insane.
Why am I telling you this? Because I think I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter if you work or don’t, or have little kids or don’t, or travel or don’t. So many of us, it seems, are really, really tired of the hustle, and the next right thing is to slow down, to go back to the beginning, to stop.
I’m adopting a ruthless anti-frantic policy. I’m done with frantic. The new baseline for me: will saying yes to this require me to live in a frantic way?
I’m saying no more often than I’m saying yes. I’m asking hard questions about why I’ve kept myself so busy all these years. The space and silence I’m creating is sometimes beautiful and sometimes terrifying."
Liking to be busy, thinking busyness is fun, but then falling apart at the seams in a heap of exhaustion? Been there. Working seven-steps ahead in your mind just to stay afloat? Check. Needing the right set of circumstances to fall into place just so everything in the schedule can work out? Um, yes.
Being terrified of having to say "no" to people and things and activities so near and dear to us? You betcha.
And I think that last part is where we are at right now. Saying "yes" is so easy! It takes the pressure off of having to think about it, of having to let someone down, of having to truly discern whether a certain thing is right for our family or not, of having to miss out. Sometimes, with good intention, we struggle so dearly in saying "no" and then it costs us in the end. Surely, we're not going to fall off the face of the planet in an attempt to swing the other way (although a family of hermits would be nice sometimes!) but we will pray for the strength to keep simplicity at the forefront of our decisions. Even the tough ones.
For the past few years we (Michael) have been dying to take the kids to the mountain to play in the snow and all that fun. But lots of babies came and life slipped away and we never got to it. So, in going over our schedule and our yearly goals just recently, we penciled it in. OK, black-markered it in: FAMILY SNOW DAY. And we penciled in our school field trips and random "family-days" and, did you hear me right?, a date night! Things that are set in stone and we will treat with as much reverence as any other commitment.
And in adopting this simple life, I realize one important thing: simplicity does not mean perfection. Perfection? Been there, done that. Trying to be perfect myself, in my home, in everything I set out to do. But you can have it. I tried it and it doesn't make me happy.
To me, simplicity means letting go, moving slow, being fully present, not having to multi-task every second of the day. It means having the freedom to respond to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Heck, it means even having time to listen to Him in the first place! It means being flexible and being able to change plans at the last minute. It means peace.
So, there you go. But, oh, one more thing. Can simplicity also mean giving up laundry???
How do you balance it all? Family, work, kids, activities, and on and on? Is it hard for you to say "no?" I'd love to hear about it!