On not choosing everything

I tend to want to read all the things (with good success), write all the things (with nominal success), and participate in as much as sounds fun (with moderate success). And then rate the success of each endeavor. Apparently. 

When the 100 day project came around I said yes. When I heard my friend was hosting a daily instagram challenge in May I was all in. Then the writing group I’m a part of announced 10 day instagram challenge and I still wanted to do it, but it was over our vacation. When I started trying to figure out which prompts would fall on the same days and if they would go together and how each might also fall into the kind of pictures i would be taking that week i knew i was getting carried away. Two daily instagram prompts and two 10 day challenges started to feel a little over the top to carry on over our family time. Even for me.

But I don’t have to. Sometimes we can choose how we fill our days. Sometimes we must choose how we fill our days. Sometimes the better choice is choosing less.

So instead of choosing all the more I’m taking an actual break. These things feel fun but when i start holding myself strictly to the expectations of participation I know it’s time to recalibrate. I still want to write, but i’m skipping the instagram challenges while on vacation. I might jump in here or there, if something just clicks or fits, but I don’t need to go seeking out the internet when there are so many people right here. I still want to do my 100 day project, but I’m taking the week off from crocheting. I still want to read, but I left all but my kindle app non-fiction at home.

I have to-do lists for everything apparently.

Because vacation isn’t the time to cram in all the things I can do anywhere.

Being a little more present and less goals-oriented on vacation will be much more relaxing than finding all the ways to do all the things.

Sometimes it is hard to know what is enough or when to rest or when it’s right to simply not participate. I’m learning to pay attention a little more to all the tasks I’m picking up that aren’t actually leading anywhere I want to go. I’m learning the value of a pause before just jumping in to any old project that seems easy.

  • Here are a few questions I want to ask myself in the pause. Even just asking one or two of these is helpful.
    • How so I feel about the thing I’m to-do-list-ing towards?
      Am I being led by excitement, joy, duty, box-checking, or people-pleasing?
      Does it honestly fit into my life right now?
      Who is this task is for?
      Is this directing my attention where I want it or is it distracting me from my overarching focus?
      Why am I doing it?
      Do I need a breath or a break?
      How much time is it taking?
      Is it the expectation flexible or am I feeling forced?
      Whose agenda am I following?
      What is in it for me or my people?
      Is there a desired result or reward? Why do I want that?

    This week this has meant saying no to overachieving, but yes to being here, yes to reading good stories and yes to just slowing down a second to wait and feel the purpose of it all instead of devouring everything in a breath.

    It has been good. It hasn’t felt all that slow.

    It’s probably worth taking a concerted effort to be a little more aware of my overachieving and slow it down to fit the life I want to have.

    I’ve not used the term overachiever in reference to myself for a long time, but that feels accurate and also useful to know. That tendency does get in the way sometimes.

    What about you? What are you saying yes to? How have you said no recently? Do you naturally gravitate toward one response or the other?

    2 thoughts on “On not choosing everything

    1. I really want to do it all
      but I am out of time.
      Pride goeth before the fall,
      as meter before the rhyme.
      I really never thought I’d die
      for I survived so much!
      But such is life and here am I,
      doomed and out of touch.
      I have to let the grand things pass
      from my hands to God’s,
      and tell Him, “Abba, oh, alas!
      I could not beat the odds.”
      But I’ll find, if Heaven’s destiny,
      that He saved them there for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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