I finally admitted to myself yesterday that I could no longer manage my beloved community garden plot; it was a wonderful place to go … when we lived on the west side and could walk to it. But we moved this past autumn, and going there had become a chore. I loved it, and it broke my heart to leave it, but it was selfish to hold onto the plot when someone else could give it the love and time and care that the garden and its little community deserve.
We have another patch of garden at a friend’s house across the street from our building, so we are still gardening, and the toddler will still get to taste produce fresh from the ground, which I have been wanting for him. But the garden represented something I really wanted – time. I never have enough of it, and instead of something I could devote myself to, the garden became one more little thing on and endless list of little things. It was not a lovely place I could go to relax anymore; it was another obligation.
I remember somewhere around a month after the baby was born how I had started to feel like I was no longer my own person, like everyone wanted a piece of me without ever giving anything back. It was overwhelming at times, and my loss of self was palpable. I just wanted one small thing of my own, but someone else always had some need that had to come first. I recall the sweet, sweet joy of pushing a shopping cart mindlessly around Superstore – alone – after midnight one December; it was the first time after the baby was born that I did something for myself, and though I knew I should be at home getting some sleep, I wandered slowly, stretching out every second.
Life has started to feel that way again. Though it pains me to even type the words out, I cannot do it all.
Trying to do it all is like paying the minimum balance on your credit card every month. You get the brief satisfaction of knowing you’ve bought yourself another month of peace from Visa, but you never see any improvement in the balance. Trying to do everything means you never do anything well enough. You disappoint people, and you disappoint yourself.
So thing by thing, I am letting go of what is superfluous to make time for what I love: cooking, writing, blogging, time with the kidlet and Spouse and friends, time to sit in the sunshine once in awhile and not spend the whole time thinking about what has to be done next. Time to sleep. I haven’t slept in years.
So, goodbye to all that I just can’t do – even if I loved it, even if I had thought I could do what I said I would. I’m scaling back. It’s about time.
You can only fit so much around working and making dinner and keeping your kids alive day in and day out; how are you making it work? What did you give up? Can you do it all – and are you doing it all with success? Or did you scale back on your non-mandatory commitments – and when did you know it was time?