I played hooky Sunday night and Monday.
The chance to rest and relax was fabulous, but now I’m behind. Chronologically, only one day, but it feels more like a week – or a month.
Life was already moving at “ludicrous speed”, as Mel Brooks put it in his Star Wars spoof Spaceballs. Between all the things I have to do to keep life and limb together, all the things I need to do, and all the things I want to do, I feel like I’m living in a pressure cooker.
A major shift in what I thought was one of my longer-term projects happened this week, and that added to the pressure.
Then I got to spend an hour I didn’t have on the phone with customer service trying to figure out why my telephone service provider decided I no longer needed to speak with anyone and sent all my calls straight to voicemail, then hung up. (They have no idea either).
I want to do all. the. things. and I want to do them right now! so that pressure cooker feeling goes away. But there are some things I can’t do – like fix my telephone service; there are only twenty-four hours in each day, and we are finite human creatures not Instant Pots. We can’t move at “ludicrous speed” on a continual basis. We don’t have unlimited energy, stamina, and focus.
It occurred to me, while I was doing a slow boil on hold waiting for customer service, that stewing and obsessing over how much I wasn’t getting done was using up (even more) energy and wasn’t producing any positive results; it was actually making things worse.
So when I finally got off the phone, I made an executive decision. Instead of flinging myself headlong into the next task on the to-do list, grousing all the way, I went for a walk. While I was walking, I got a phone call (Yay! I got a phone call!!) from a dear friend, and we had a lovely visit as I finished my 2.8 mile trek around the neighborhood.
Between the walk and connecting with my friend, the pressure began to subside, and thinking a bit more clearly, I was reminded of the wise words of the guide, mentor, and friend who is shepherding me through my biggest writing project. She calls it “moving at the speed of human.” (You can read Christianne’s entire post here).
“There is only so much any one of us can do in a given day, week, and month. And so I wonder: Can we give ourselves permission to move at the speed of human? And can we forgive ourselves for being merely human?”
I’m certainly going to try, and I invite you to do so as well. If you need a nudge in that direction, here it is: explicit permission – in writing! – to do only what you can reasonably get done in any given time frame.
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1, NRSV