This week I have had a bit of a wake up call. You see, I am the first to recommend that people slow down, assess what is important in life and learn to say NO when they are feeling overwhelmed. Yet I am also the first one to continuously say yes to things, to overload myself and think that I can do it all. The truth is, I can’t do it all. The more I take on, the more things I juggle, the more I drop the ball on things I wouldn’t normally. Leaving this perfectionist to feel more stressed…more anxious, leading to the inevitable snap at the ones I love and hold dear.
But why? It’s not going to prove anything when I lose all the people and things that matter most to me because I have sacrificed time with them, or have been emotionally absent even if physically there. No amount of money is worth the time that is lost, the lost opportunities to create happy memories because I am running on empty and stressed trying to do it all, trying to be everything to everyone simultaneously. I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember a cranky Mum. This is not the life that I aimed to create for my family. We moved from the city so we could create a better work-life balance. To make family our priority, not work. I am very conscious that this is my last year before my youngest makes the transition to school. Our time together is short. My one day I have with her should be our time, not time I give to someone else while she sits on the floor beside my desk playing with her toys and demanding my “absent” attention.
This week I have learned to say No. This is a huge step for me. Perhaps I have walked away from a fabulous opportunity. Perhaps I have committed some form of “career suicide?” Or…perhaps I have FINALLY learnt that, anything that does not bring immediate joy and fulfilment is no longer a priority for me…WOW! I guess I just applied the Marie Kondo theory to my life!?
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we create a life where busy is seen as normal? Why do we place so much emphasis on our careers and our income? Why do we think that the meaning of success is to be constantly busy, rushing from here to there, never truly stopping to appreciate all the people we have in our lives, the ones that matter most! Stopping to appreciate all the moments that make this life worthwhile?
This week I have truly learned the importance of stepping back and assessing what matters most in life. There may be a time when I can juggle those multiple balls with finesse, but for now, my little people need me, my wonderful husband needs me, I need me, to be at my best! And in order to do that, I need to say NO!
Hoping you all find the balance you need in your life and find the strength to say NO when you need to.
Jenny Wehlow is a qualified Clinical Nutritionist, a photographer, a mum and a wife…among other things.