I’ve been reading a really great book recently that I would like to share with you all. I know that my feelings of overwhelm and busy-ness are shared by so many of you out there – and those who are mothers doing their best to juggle a job/career and all the other obligations we both willingly and unwillingly take on, are especially feeling the stress of having to balance it all.
At times, I catch myself thinking that “back in the old days” there was a greater enjoyment of life….a truer appreciation for spending time with family and friends. I catch myself thinking that in our generation, we are so bogged down with commitments and obligations that we are left thinking “what the hell are we missing here”?
I have this vision of the “good old days”…a mom at home with a pot of coffee on, and a neighbor popping by out of the blue for a visit…both have time to partake in the unplanned visit. Both of the moms have a great ol’ chat while the kids play in the living room with some box (turned into a train or car); or ruler (turned into a make-believe sword) or perhaps some of mom’s Tupperware and fry pans, cooking up a make-believe meal for their bears: no Treehouse playing in the background; no electronic games; and no parent looming over them, watching them (read: helicopter mom).
The reality though, is that this may not be true. The “old days” may not have been easier or better, but I’m pretty sure that time didn’t move quite as fast; and that there wasn’t as much pressure to “be perfect” or “do everything”. Without social media, reality TV, cell phones, etc., I don’t think there was the same degree of consumerism, comparing yourself with size 0 supermodels, keeping up with the “Joneses”…you get the point. And so does the author (Sarah Susanka) of the book which I am reading. It’s called “The Not so Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters”. Here’s a little piece of what the book is about…
“We are facing an enormous problem in our lives today. It’s so big we can hardly see it and its right in our face all day, every day. We’re all living too big lives, crammed from top to toe with activities, urgencies, and obligations that seem absolute. There’s no time to take a breath, no time to look for the source of the problem….If we stop and consider what our lives would be like if things got much faster, we might feel overwhelmed by hopelessness and futility. We just don’t have any more to give. We’re at the end of our rope.
We need to remodel the way we are living, but not in a way that gives us more of the same kinds of space we already have; that would simply create an even bigger life. What we need is a remodeling that allows us to experience what’s already here but to experience it differently, so that it delights us rather than drives us crazy”. (pg 3)
For me, this “remodeling” has already slowly been happening. It’s something that I plan to continue working on in 2012. I’m not even finished the book yet, as it’s also full of activities and questions to ask yourself, which cannot always be answered quickly or easily, or at least not without some deeper self-introspection. So I’ll continue to share some more of this wonderful book in the future.
Today though, I feel very blessed….I had a really big surprise from very good friends last night (people who live very far away from me showed up on my doorstep last night) and this morning I had coffee with three very old (not in age of course!) friends of mine from my school days. It felt a little like I imagine these “good old days” to feel. Maybe it’s because it’s still kind of a holiday (being the week between Christmas and New Years) but either way, I know that spending time with these each of these ladies makes me happy.
And I know that this coming year, I am going to find better balance in my life; allow more spaces for fun; set some personal boundaries so I’m not saying “yes” to everything I feel obligated to; and to do more of what matters: spending fun quality time with family and friends…maybe try meditation, definitely do some running, practice more Spanish, and….make this the year of PIZZA! (From scratch of course!)
Happy New Year to you all. I think 2012 is going to be a great one!