Lately as I’ve been focusing more on some of my career goals, I’ve let some other things slide a little. After accomplishing some pretty big athletic endeavors this year, like running three marathons (my first three ever), I was ready to look within myself and use the courage I had gained in new ways, perhaps some less self-centered ones.
I couldn’t be more excited about where these endeavors are leading me and I can hardly wait to see my plan to help the struggling families of the Cleveland food desert come to fruition. They deserve better access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables and we are in a position to help. But that’s not what this post is about.
This is about the other hobbies, passions and responsibilities I’ve begin to let falter. I haven’t been running 20-milers, in fact I’ve been lucky to even get in 3 or 4. My house almost always looks like someone just came through and ransacked the place. There is a basket of folded laundry sitting in my living room that has been there since last Wednesday. There is toothpaste caked on to the bathroom counter and the list of Christmas crafts and recipes on my Pinterest account has not gotten any action since last year.
“You can’t get to everything.” “There are only so many hours in the day.” These are sayings I commonly ponder, but I honestly don’t know if I really take them to heart. But that’s not entirely my point either.
As I was getting ready for bed the other night, feeling guilty about all of the things I didn’t get to, for some reason I also thought about periods of time when I DID seem to meet big goals I had set up in my mind.
Like this summer, when my kids were away and I organized every inch of my house. Everything was in it’s place. Each toy was neatly tucked in the correct bin. Every piece of laundry had been washed and folded and carefully organized in each drawer. There were no crumbs under the kitchen table and no finger prints on the windows.
I thought about a couple of years back when I had reached and surpassed my goal weight after striving to lose the extra pounds that lingered after giving birth to three children. After a lot of hard work I weighed 112 and wore a size zero. (I was too skinny… but I digress).
Or how about when I ran my first marathon in Big Sur this past April? I trained through the bitter cold of winter. I ran the most beautiful course I probably ever will. I finished and celebrated meeting a goal that just a year earlier I would have never even attempted to accomplish.
But guess what? During those times when I met every goal to “get organized” or to “get in the best shape of my life,” I still wanted more. It still wasn’t enough. I had achieved what was “the ultimate” in my mind in some areas of my life, but something was still missing. The closets were organized, but what about the messy garage? Why didn’t I get to that? I could fit into the jeans that I couldn’t get one leg in after I had John, but what about my arms? They needed more muscle definition. A day after finishing my first marathon, I was already setting a new time goal for my next one. When I was at peak marathon fitness, I was in part wishing I was giving more effort to something more significant, like my career or helping others.
I often subconsciously tell myself I can relax when it is all done. That I’ll be happier then. Am I obsessive? Sometimes. A perfectionist? Always. But I think it is just human nature that we always want more.
In recent weeks I have come to discover this. No one can meet and stick with EVERY goal, ALL the time. There is no such thing as “perfection” in every area of your life all at once. We are jugglers. One ball is in the air, while another is falling. What goes up, must come down. It is a law of nature. You can’t train for a marathon and start a new business and run a household, and be as organized as Martha Stewart tells you to be and as crafty as Pinterest infers you should be. Not all at once. Despite what you’ve been told, you can’t “do it all.” Well, maybe you can, but somethings eventually gonna give. Your peace? Your happiness? Your sanity?
I often think of the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” We can’t do everything and do everything well. Lately I’ve been reminding myself to not feel guilty about the balls that are dropping. And if I focus on keeping fewer balls in the air it makes the remaining ones easier to juggle.
Most of all, these days I’m striving to find happiness, contentment, and peace in this moment. Right now. Not when it’s all done. Not when I weigh less or can lift more. Not when my closets and my basement and my garage are organized, not when my kids are old enough to stop fighting, not when I finish the next marathon. Because if you’re like me, once you get to the end of one tunnel, you’ve already entered a new one.
Don’t get me wrong, goals are good. Really good. But as I end 2015 and set goals for 2016, I am challenging myself to remember this;
Don’t waste today, waiting for tomorrow.