I've decided my year's beginning needs to be defined by what's on my beam and what's not. I can hear you asking -- what on earth are you talking about Tracy? Late last year I read "For the Love" by Jen Hatmaker, who is one of my very most favourite author people. Hilarious, real, a little bit snarky with her sarcasm. A foodie. In her book Jen talks about her daughter learning gymnastics and how she struggles most with the balance beam. She goes on to compare those 'tricks' with the things we try to juggle in our lives.
I am someone who has big issues with balance. I have long maintained that any activity requiring balance is something best avoided by me, in preference to good health. I can't stay on a horse. Ever. I can't roller or ice skate. In fact, I am the only person on earth who doesn't improve their skills over the three or four hours you might be on skates (read: I grab onto anything and anyone in order to stay upright because I can't do it on my own). Skiing is a dead loss. Who wants to land on your butt any time you try to stand up? It hurts! I won't even bother trying things like skateboarding. Seriously? Who dreamed up these torturous things? And bike riding? Just no. I can fall over my own feet quite successfully, I don't need some apparatus to help me out! The idea of comparing the things we juggle in life to a balance beam made so much sense to me. I am so epically bad a balance stuff, and I am epically bad a whole bunch of life stuff too!
"We cannot do it all, have it all, or master it all. That simply is not a thing. May I tell you something? Because women ask constantly how I "do it all," let me clear something up:
I HAVE HELP".
~ Jen Hatmaker (For the Love)
So what's on my balance beam this year?
- Family - mothering, wife-ing, daughtering, sistering, aunty-ing.
- Work - a new teaching job at a school with which I am intimately familiar. It'll be hard but worthwhile work.
- Church - I am continuing to lead a teeny little Life Group; an unlikely little handful of women.
- Health - what can I say? A whole bunch of clothes I love, that I want to wear again. Also a hill at school that I don't want to be winded by every time I have to walk up it. There's a lot of up at school. I don't like up! I want to be able to like up a little more than I do currently.
- Friends - because these are the people who make life work. That means book club with some of my favourite girlfriends. It means breakfast on a Saturday with another friend. It means spending time with people close to us. There always needs to be time for friends.
What am I taking of my beam this year?
- House cleaning. I'm going to start looking for someone to come and clean. Floors and bathrooms is all I really want. So on my beam initially is finding someone. And then that's off. I typically score an epic fail in this area and the kids don't do a good enough job for me to be satisfied. Seriously? The dust bunnies that grow around here could kidnap a small child and hide them forever! I don't like clutter but cleaning is a whole other trick I need to get off my beam. Yesterday I spent some time just vacuuming around the edges of all the rooms with wood floors, and the window sills, and under the computer wires, and around the TV cabinet. You know...all the places a grown up person cleans.
- Cooking every night. I just can't. To come home after 5.30pm, following a whole day of little people (littler than last year, even) and have to cook dinner? This has ended in tears over the last six months. So off the beam! There has to be some good from having baby adult people who know how to use a kitchen living in your house.
- Guilt. I won't feel guilty about saying no to the stuff that doesn't fit my season. I know my season is about learning to do my job well and efficiently. I know my season is about getting baby adults to be grown up adults. I know my season is about cheering on the 15yo who needs to be more diligent at school. My season is not about saying yes to stuff just because it's "good". It needs to fit into what I'm currently called to be doing
"We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead by wise".
~ Jen Hatmaker (For the Love)
What are you balancing that you need to take off your beam? What are your keeping on your beam? What's in your season right now?