Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Current Life Motto: Do What's Necessary

Despite my efforts to get things done before the trip so that there wasn't too much to get done when we returned home, there was still quite a lot to do both yesterday and today. And there's more for tomorrow. Laundry still won't do itself, our tomato plant that grew itself grew a massive amount of tomatoes that I don't want to go to waste, and our homeschool group started back up today. I am trying to get everything done, but it never works out to get everything done. This is what I am finally coming to accept - there will always be something that doesn't get done.

I can get quite stressed out about those things that don't get done. It feels overwhelming and awful, knowing that no matter how I try, I cannot magic up more hours in the day or more energy in my body. I don't like feeling overwhelmed and awful, so I'm working on shifting my perspective. Here's the bottom line: I don't have to get everything done. It would be nice, but it's not necessary. And right now, in my life, I need to do what's necessary, and not more than that. There are enough necessary things to fill my whole day, and so doing what is necessary is all I can do.

I tend to get confused about what is actually necessary. Honestly, having a chronic heartburn problem helps out a lot with the self care end of things. I'm not going to call it something silly like "a blessing in disguise," but I will say it's a great motivator. If I want to feel good, or even just okay, I have to get enough rest. I have to make sure that I get some time alone on a regular basis. I have to eat in a way that works for me. So I do those things. But beyond that, I need to figure out what is necessary for our family life to run well.

What is necessary always includes making sure that my kids are well cared for and that we all have things to eat. It includes making sure there's something weather-appropriate for each of us to wear. It includes scheduling the kids' classes and making sure that their education is accounted for. Aside from those things, a lot of things that normally would be considered necessary really aren't. And some things that seem unnecessary become necessary.

In the photo above, there are tomatoes which are ready to be put into the oven to slow roast. One might argue that it is not necessary to get those done today, after we'd already been to our homeschool group and gotten all the materials we take along back home with us and put away. One might say it could wait. But I knew that if I left it until tomorrow, I might not manage to do it, and I didn't want to accidentally waste a lot of those tomatoes. The idea of wasting them stressed me out. So I did it.

On the flip side, do you see those crumbs under the pans holding the tomatoes? Those are not new crumbs. Some people feel that it is necessary to keep counters clean on a regular basis, but I don't. I'm not going to leave anything unsanitary in place, but when it comes to crumbs? Wiping those up is really not necessary when I've got a lot of other things on my list of things to do. Eventually, one of the kids or I will wipe down the counters. We'll do it when it becomes necessary. For now, it's not.

Looking at things this way helps me a lot when we are entering into a busy season. It makes me feel like less of a failure. Instead of focusing on what I have not gotten done, asking what is necessary focuses me on what it is possible to do in the time that I have available. At the end of the day, I can look back and see that I have accomplished the necessary, and I know that the day has been a success.

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