“You can learn French when you’re retired…”

Monday , 16, February 2015 Leave a comment

Just a quick update from my world.  I’ve been neglecting my friend the blog , and I’m starting to feel bad about it.  I really want to start posting regularly again, but right at this minute I can’t commit.  Will it happen eventually?  Yes.  Will it happen soon?  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

Which, coincidentally, is the topic of the day.

My parents came to visit in January (mainly to meet the new puppy–who is doing fabulously, by the way, see photos at end of post), and I spent some time venting to my mom about my frustrations with life.  That there are so many things I want to do–blogging and painting and reading and meditating and doing yoga and exploring, etc.–but that life wipes me out to the point that I don’t have energy left at the end of the day for any of it.  I realize this is very much a classic “first world problem” and that all of my readers with children are cackling right now at the preposterous idea of my complaining about my too-busy life.

My wise mother suggested that maybe I need to put a few things on the shelf right now.  She reminded me that we have a new dog in the house who takes a remarkable amount of time and energy.  I have a new “big boss” at work, and, while all signs point to good things ahead, changes (both those that have happened and those that are looming) are stressful.  Shifting expectations are stressful.  Chasing around an adorable yet horrifically destructive adolescent puppy is stressful.

I listened but wasn’t immediately convinced.  After all, I feel like I can do more–like I have more to offer this world, better ways of using my time, a stronger impact to be making.  She told me to let it go (basically, anyway–and I love her for it!)

Last week I listened to a couple of ADHD podcasts a friend recommended.  One was about organization or time management or some combination of the both, and the presenter talked about a client who wanted to do everything and was making herself crazy trying to figure out where it would all fit into her already jam-packed life.  What struck me most profoundly was the presenter telling her client that she simply didn’t have time for everything–and that she might just have to wait until she’s retired to learn French.

While the concept bothers me a little (another day is never guaranteed to any of us… so should we feel ok putting things off until a later day, knowing it might never come?), she made her point.  Since listening to that podcast, I’ve found myself asking about both personal and work matters: is it possible I just honestly don’t have time for this?

For those who naturally manage time well or who are able to focus on one project at a time or have worked to master the skill of setting healthy boundaries, this probably doesn’t sound like a revelation.  For me, it kind of has been.

Does that make it easy?  No.  I feel guilty for not writing more.  I feel like I’m letting minutes waste away when I could be bettering myself.  I get antsy thinking about all of the things I want to do, then I kick myself for not being able to find the motivation to go do them.

I have a long way to go, but I’m trying.  I’m writing this post because I want to, not because I feel obligated.  I’ve started a few books, and the list of “want to reads” keeps growing, but I’m not forcing myself to pick up a book.  I’m trying to only pick up my paintbrush when it feels like the right way to express myself.  I’m practicing allowing myself to just let things sit.

Maybe they’ll sit for a long time.  Maybe if I’m lucky 40 years from now I’ll be around to find some of those things still on that shelf.  Maybe I’ll have more time, and I’ll dust off what still interests me and try again.

There’s no plan to learn French in my future.  However, “you can learn French when you’re retired” has become a bit of a mantra when I start to feel overwhelmed by my own unreasonable demands.

Remembering that it honestly, truly is ok to let a few things go, for a little while or forever, is remarkably freeing.


(and now the puppy photos you were promised…)

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