Oh those days! Around here we call them the “wild days”, when the stars align and the planets do whatever it is they do, and the result is that our family gets pulled in 20 directions at once. This is one of the things I believe I’m supposed to address with my One Word for 2013: Less.
So here’s the schedule for my most recent wild day:
1) Eye appointment for me at 9:00 (I knew my eyes would be dilated so I took the day off work, which probably had some impact on the rest of the craziness).
2) While at the eye appointment, I went online on my phone at 10:00 while my eyes were dilated in an attempt to score tickets to an upcoming concert. Epic fail! One contributing factor was my inability to hold the phone at the optimum distance in order to actually SEE what was on that teeny tiny screen. If you’ve ever had your eyes dilated you know that anything closer than three feet is an unidentifiable blur.
3) From there I went to meet my friend in the Walmart parking lot at 11:30. While waiting I made a valiant attempt to apply my makeup, which is extremely difficult when your eyes cannot focus and the sunlight makes you want to squint, hiss, and throw a black cape across your face a la Count Dracula.
4) My very brave friend climbed into the car with me and I drove us to our luncheon, where we got to meet one of our very favorite authors (Don’t panic. I could see to drive just fine. I just couldn’t see the instrument panel). Yay! It was loads of fun and the food was good too. I couldn’t see it but it at least tasted wonderful.
5) Back to the Walmart parking lot, and this time I went inside and picked up a few things, despite my not-so-secret preference for the opulence of Tarjay and disdain for all things WallyWorld.
6) I went home just long enough to unload the groceries, put away anything that needed refrigeration, and jump back in the car to pick up daughter Q at school play practice.
7) Armed with a snack, a drink, and her gymnastics leotard, I arrived at the school, retrieved my child and took off for the gym.
8) I actually went inside and sat down for a little while to watch her practice and while there, answered a call from daughter K, who arrived home from an after school activity and let herself inside the house (this was planned).
9) I did a little shopping and went back to the gym to await the end of practice, then drove daughter Q home. I greeted my husband and K, grabbed a couple of things, and
10) I went out the door to my book club meeting, which was fabulously fun and so worth the effort to get to.
Yes, it sounds stressful and it was. Thankfully these days don’t happen often, maybe 3-4 times in a year when choices and obligations collide, but even 3-4 times is too many. Every activity I listed was a worthwhile one and unfortunately all of them happened to be time-specific (except the shopping part, and we all know there’s never a good time for a WalMart shopping trip because they’re always busy. Even at midnight you’ll see entire families in there pushing loaded shopping carts with fully alert toddlers riding in front. But that’s another blog post.) But does cramming a week’s worth of activity into 24 short hours accomplish anything constructive? And where was God in all that chaos?
So how does the word “less” apply to our schedule? Well, I can be more choosy about the activities we take part in and when it’s in my control I can try to avoid overscheduling. More to the point, I can use my “No” more often. I’ve always been the one who wants to take a bite out of life, to live out loud, to cram as much living into my years as possible, but when days like the one I described happen? I’m not taking a bite out of life as much as I’m choking myself on it. I need a lifestyle Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the excess, and I’m going to have to be the one to do it for myself. This year I’m going to pay more attention to the things that take up my family’s time and evaluate them on the basis of value added versus energy expended. I think that’s part of good stewardship.