The In-Between: Dawning Realisations
I don't appreciate being told I can't do things. I am stubborn, and the implication that I don’t have permission to make my own choices is a sure way to push my buttons. It’s no surprise to me that I like to be in control of what is happening around me - I am a teacher after all. Which is what makes it that much harder to accept the realisation that I can't do everything I want to do in the exact moment that I want to do it. I’m no stranger to delayed gratification and the idea that when you work hard to reach a goal or achieve something, the reward is infinitely sweeter. I simply don’t like having to wait. It makes me painfully aware that I grew up on the cusp of two generations and that often the desire for instant gratification takes control. That being said, I also don't like it when I can't do things well, and recent events have made it very clear that when I try to do everything at once, I don't do any of those things as well as I’d like to them.
I’m not good at being still. I realise this is a fact that is painfully obvious to anyone who knows me, yet it’s one I’m still coming to terms with. I know that I make my own life harder by wanting to do everything at once, by wanting to achieve all the goals that I have for myself immediately. I know that I make my own life more complicated by tackling new challenges at work and at home (at the same time), piling things up as I take them on and carving out the time for each of them. The reality is that I do these things well. Until I don’t. Inevitably, something unexpected crops up to take the wind out of my sails — be it illness, a family emergency, an unexpected circumstance beyond my control — and my carefully planned schedule blows out, I’m left playing catch up, and none of the things I’ve taken on are getting done as well as I want to be doing them.
As a friend recently mentioned during a conversation about how we were both coping at work, I set such high standards for myself that I’m often disappointed when I don’t reach them. Her comment left me reeling; it was something that I’d heard many times in my life, but I don’t think I’d ever been in a place to hear it. This time, it’s been sinking in. I’ve spent a few weeks ruminating on what that statement means to me, and reflecting on how that very fact impacts me day-to-day. I have no intention of lowering my standards, because I wholeheartedly believe that we should be giving our all to everything that we do. I am trying, hard, to remind myself daily that life is not a race and I don’t need to do everything right now.
After all, we need to take that time to enjoy the moments that lead to the goals too, right?