Friday night I went to a yoga class with my friend Rachel. I took yoga for the first time when I was in college and really enjoyed the experience. I’ve made a few feeble stabs at getting back on the horse since then, but there’s nothing quite like having a friend and a classroom setting to be in. A video just won’t do the trick.

As we were going through the poses, our instructor (a med student named Judy with a really nice voice and a great presence) said something that struck me so hard I practically started crying in class.

It’s much more important that you find the place where you can do it sustainably than to push yourself to reach your maximum

It’s obvious she was talking about poses here, you know shortening your stance if your legs hurt or coming up out of the pose if the stretch is too deep, but as is often the case with yoga- her advice lifted right out of the studio and hit me right in my everyday life.

Guys, this is such a lesson for me. If you’ve read my “About Me” page, you know that I jokingly refer to myself as a “Jill of All Trades,” the emphasis being on the “master of none.” I so often feel like I stretch myself thin so that I’m doing a hundred things and none of them well. I let myself get taxed out at work, then at home, and then I volunteer for another project- at least I did.

I’m a certified perfectionist. I’m the oldest child, I was a “smart” kid, and in my nontraditional family- I always pushed myself to stand out and be “special.” That’s translated into some successes for sure, but also a lot of anxiety in my adult life. It’s embarrassing to say, but it’s a bit of a revelation to me that it’s better to say no to auxiliary activities in my life and focus on what I can feasibly do, sustainably- that is, what habits can I build for a lifetime? What behaviors can I cultivate that will take me into old age? What commitments can I accept that I will do with joy, and in doing so, bring blessing to others and myself?

Let me say this- working part time has made a tremendous difference in my ability to handle my shit. And I’m just thankful to God everyday that I have a boss who fought hard to get me the position I have now and a husband who was willing to say, “it’s okay, we’re going to be okay.” Debi and Brett and probably the two strongest and best influences in my life.

When I look at how I spend my time now, I see a lot of joy:

-Stimulating and challenging work
-Training at FKS
-Running (okay, walking) and yoga with Rachel
-Quality time with my husband
-A happy, tidy home
-Crocheted scarves, hot tea, Jessica Fletcher
-Game nights with good friends

I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to say that this is how I spend my time now. Folks, I was down to broken earlier this summer. I was crying a lot, I felt incredibly trapped, and bitterness was creeping up all over me. I really, really needed a break from that and I hope it doesn’t sound like gloating to say I’m thankful that I’ve gotten one.

I’m sure I won’t work part time forever. Who knows what new opportunities will bring? However, it’s incredibly important to me that I continue to evaluate my life from a stand point of sustainability.

How would you describe your schedule right now? Are you over taxed or have you found a great balance? What are your coping mechanisms? How do you stay healthy, mentally or physically?

6 thoughts on “Sustainability

  1. This is such a good reminder for me too! It is easy for me to feel like my at home tasks (taking care of kiddos, homeschooling, cooking cleaning, and helping the hubs) are just little things and I try to take on "REAL" side projects to be a useful human being… but then the home things suffer. I know it will always be a balancing act but I know that for now I need to focus on doing the hubby, kids, home thing WELL and worry about taking on the rest in another season of life!

  2. So glad you have found a healthy balance! I am often unhappy by my lack of "free" time however I think it's more me being lazy than anything else, oh and also the fact that I insist on being in bed before 10. I need to get motivated to make more "from scratch" meals for us and also work on my fitness.

  3. Oh it took me a long time to figure out that I really just like to be at home and that I do not need to be involve or want to be involved in everything. I *think* I have a decent balance, but my schedule lacks enough, uh, get the house in order chore time and alone/non-child time. But I assume that will change as the kids get older. I'll get my knitting and Jessica Fletcher time at some point.

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