As some of you know, one of my resolutions this year was to “slow down”. To live simply, plan less and enjoy more. Things were going great in the first few months of the year, I got into a good groove of doing morning reflections, writing more, reading more and just trying to stay off the “running around like a chicken with my head cut off” path. Then life happened…again. As I look back at the last few years I realize I have been saying the same lines over and over again, “when this month is over it will be better” or “when I get through this project/event/season things will slow down” and guess what? It never slows down.
When I made the decision to quit part time personal training a few years ago, I was sad but also excited for my newfound free time I would have on evenings and weekends. But then my work load at AU picked up much more and I also started planning a wedding.
When the wedding planning was coming to an end I was relieved, again, for having my nights and weekends back….and then I had the opportunity to begin grad school.
When grad school was over I wanted to shout from the rooftops because I thought… okay this is really it! I am married, grad school is done, yes my work load is still a lot but I can handle that! All gravy now! Nothing big was on the horizon so I even booked a solo trip to Peru to do a big hike as a celebration to end the few years of madness and finally be able to breathe and settle into life.
THEN we decided somewhat on a whim to buy a fixer upper house and sell ours. All while Shain and I had the craziest spring in the history of ever for work, this was also around the time I found out I was pregnant. All HUGE blessings and wonderful things of course, but all things that yet again sped up our lives and stress a couple notches.
I am not ungrateful for the wonderful opportunities that present themselves in my life all the time, I really am not. All of them were conscious decisions that I made or my husband and I made and decided to pursue. I am just exhausted. As all of these wonderful things have happened, my work life balance has gotten worse and worse. Sure, that might not be too bad when you enjoy what you do. But I have been having a very hard time lately “shutting it off’. When working 10-12 hour days and trying to do things on the weekend is still not enough time to cross off everything on your to do list, there is something SERIOUSLY wrong. I don’t care how much you love your job.
I truly feel I put everything into what I do, I am not just saying that to make myself look better or feel better. I really really put it ALL in. I will never be that person that when 5pm hits I am out the door and done caring for the day. Truth be told, I have tried to be that person to make it easier on myself. But I cannot.
I try to be a good boss and mentor to my 27 student ambassadors, I try to be a good support system for my freshman admission staff and making sure things are running smoothly and their needs are met, I try to be a good admission counselor to the new territory of students I get every year (which ironically have become needier and needier in the college admission process over the years) and then I try to be good at everything else. Helping support my boss in his role, coming up with new ideas/incentives, trying to set a positive attitude for everybody. I TRY really hard. But lately, no matter how hard I have tried at all those things, I come home feeling like an exhausted failure.
I barely have time to respond to text messages, phone calls and emails (personal and work) unless I can do them in the early dawn hours or late at night when I am home and not being pulled in a hundred different directions. My to do list never seems to be caught up anymore…ever. So what do I sacrifice? My time at home? My morning workouts? My weekends? I believe in following through with my responsibilities, which yes sometimes means sacrificing those things BUT to what extent? I am having trouble knowing when to draw that line and I know I am not alone in this.
I have found myself becoming resentful of others who are not able to fulfill their own duties and then I have to step in. Or resentful of those who spend their work days browsing Facebook and shopping. I find myself becoming anxious when somebody just wants to come and chat with me because all I can think about is that to do list and I have a hard time giving my full attention. I don’t like having those thoughts and feelings, they are not right and that is not me.
Is it possible to be a good employee, good wife, good everything and still have balance these days? Good lord I am not even a MOM yet and I am struggling with all my roles! Is a simple life even POSSIBLE if you don’t life in a shack in the mountains or just decide to be a slacker and not care? There has to be a middle ground.
I know in the field of education especially, it is expected to give give give until you seem to have nothing left. Because you believe in students and you believe in what you are doing; unfortunately this also makes it easy to become taken advantage of. I am sure that is true of other fields of work as well. Everywhere I look I see understaffed organizations and overworked people. I personally cannot keep this up, nor do I want to. I crave a simpler life so badly. I just want time to breathe. To enjoy the little things. Is it possible to live both a passionate AND simple life? I really want to believe it is. I truly feel the way we all live our lives today, passionate or not, is not healthy. We are running ourselves ragged. What is the solution to this? I am still trying to figure that out.