Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

The craziness creeped up on us.  We agreed to this.  Signed up for that.  Accepted new responsibility here.  Stepped up our commitment there.  We made a few small changes over many months, but the cumulative effect is significant.  Suddenly, I can no longer remember all our commitments in my brain (I know there are folks for whom this is always the case, but generally I can keep track with amazing accuracy).  Currently, the number of evenings we're committed in a week doubles the number we have free.  Now, I require a calendar that can come with me wherever I go rather than being able to rely on the weekly one I keep on the fridge.  "I need to check my calendar," I say.  And I do.

Because between the kids' activities and the pup's vet appointments and kindergarten classes and training sessions and teaching spin and volunteering at school and keeping up with certifications in the fire department and helping out in myriad roles at church and the dozens of meetings each good thing requires in the process, we're suddenly swamped.   They're all good and we enjoy them all individually, but it has become glaringly clear that we are now over-committed: that seemingly innocent yet frantic place that makes us scratch our heads and wonder how--and more importantly, why--we allowed it to happen.

Part of it is the season, the countdown-to-summer-freedom that causes most organizations to go into end-of-school-year-squeeze-it-all-in activity and event mode.  But regardless, something's gotta give. Soon.

The question is what?  And when?  And how?

I suppose it's time to re-evaluate our priorities and hopes and dreams for our family to determine which commitments bring us closer to each other and to those things that are most important and which commitments are simply distractions.  This is not to say that any of them are unimportant.  But in a world that offers so much opportunity to serve and learn and play and build relationship, a discerning eye matched by a resolve to engage in a few things fully rather than in a smorgasbord shallowly is nearly as important to one's quality of life as education, resources, and time.

We've actually guarded our family's time quite effectively for several years.  When the kids were babies, in fact, I would have enjoyed a little more involvement in life beyond the domestic front.  But now that the kids are older and more adaptable, we've gotten carried away in our newfound freedom.  This isn't a new plight.  We've been here before and watched lots of others struggle, too.  However, we know better than to keep grinding away complacently.  It's time to make a change.  

Big decisions forthcoming...

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