It could be because I finished the fifth season of Grace and Frankie within the past 24 hours, or it could be the result of a series of revelations and realizations happening over the past 2 months. Whatever the reason, I find myself adopting a very “eff it” attitude. (I’m not effing it so much that I’m going to use the actual f-word. Nothing against it, it’s just not my style.)
It hit me a couple of weeks ago that some people go to work, come home, and then that’s it. Their evenings are their own. Even people who volunteer or are active in a church usually only participate in those activities once or twice a week. I go to work, come home, do a second job, twice a week do a third job, and then have been trying to do Young Life on top of that. Plus I set other goals for myself, like writing every day, blogging once a week, stretching every day, and reading 100 books a year. I also have two dogs and attempt to maintain a handful of significant friendships.
I am not saying any of this to brag or to fish for compliments or, “how do you do its?” I am single with a very limited social life, a very short commute, and zero kids, so that’s how I do it. I say all of this because despite my reality, I have always seen myself as lazy.
I said that to a friend today and she scoffed. Her reaction told me that “I’m lazy” is a ridiculous thing for me to say. Yet somehow I often find myself looking at my weekly schedule and feeling like I’m not doing enough, like I’m selfish with my free time, and like I’m lazy.
What the heck is that about?
I’ve felt for years that if I have any free time at all I need to fill it with some kind of ministry or job so I’ve been filling my life up with all of the things that need to be done and I’m capable of doing. 90% (or more!) of the time I really and truly enjoy the things I’m signing up for.
It hit me the other day that maybe in filling my hands with every job and opportunity I can carry (and a couple I can’t), I’m robbing someone else of the opportunity to do that job/opportunity. It hit me the other day that I can’t hoard all of the kid/education/organization stuff. That just because I CAN do something, doesn’t mean I SHOULD it every time. I might be hoarding things that could be great opportunities for other people.
I also might be operating out of a skewed version of myself, trying to prove to myself that I’m not lazy, that I’m productive and responsible and a hard worker.
I’ve been wracking my brains for a couple of weeks to try to find out where these ridiculous expectations came from. The first guess is always the parents, but my parents have always been encouraging and supportive. They have NEVER made me feel like I wasn’t enough, ever, and their lives are not filled to the brim. They each have their two or three hobbies and passions, with lots of time for sitting around with family and friends.
Today is Sunday. At the start of 2019 I told my seven-days-a-week job that I’d no longer be working on Sundays so I’d have Sundays completely free. I tell myself that I’m not obligated to do ANYTHING on Sundays that I don’t want to. My lesson plans aren’t perfect for this week? Eff it. That’s a Monday problem.
Today I only got off the couch to go to the bathroom and to the kitchen.
At the end of the day it comforts me to make a mental list of everything I accomplished that day so I don’t feel like a lazy failure. (Again, where did this come from?!) I’m not sure if that practice combats the “you’re a lazy failure unless you complete a certain amount of tasks each day” mindset, but it comforts me and keeps away anxiety, so I’m going to keep doing it.
Today I swept my bedroom. I fed my dogs and fed myself. Today I read 30% of my book! I’m almost finished. Today I had a necessary conversation with a friend and it went great! Today I reached out to another friend about a need I think he’d be great at filling. I wrote these words! I watched three episodes of Returning the Favor and cried through all of them. I cleaned my toilet. I watched Season 5 of Grace and Frankie! I drank more water than Dr. Pepper (definitely a win). Before heading to bed early I might even do the dishes.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my 2019 Goals. It was way too long to post – I just word-vomited it all out to save for editing later. I won’t be posting it. There are a lot of goals. 17 goals divided into multiple categories. That’s too many. So just now in this moment I’ve decided to choose a word for the year instead.
This past Friday Nicole gave a Club talk that ended with the question, “What job are you applying for with the resume of your life?” The question has been bopping around in the back of my head since and has inspired by 2019 Word of the Year. Drum roll please…….. FOCUS.
I no longer want to grab at every opportunity or need I can fill. I don’t want to make a list of 17 freaking goals and then only complete one-third of them. I don’t want to over-commit myself or beat myself up anymore because I didn’t hit some imaginary, made up, only in my mind quota. I want to continue to get to know myself and to see myself for who I really am. WHICH IS NOT A LAZY FAILURE.
I’m not sure what I’m going to focus on yet, because I love education and reading and writing and animals and the environment and body positivity and Netflix. You know what? I think my first focus will be convincing myself that I’m not a lazy failure, and to remove the word “lazy” from my mental and automatic description of myself. I am a hard worker. I am! And I’m tearing up as I type this because for some reason that’s hard to proclaim.
When I was home for Christmas my mom said that I was fairly easy to raise because I had a goal and I worked for it and I accomplished it. Since I was 11 years old I wanted to teach in a Spanish speaking country. So I started taking Spanish classes in seventh grade. I went on every trip to Latin America that I could. I got good ACT scores and went to a great university. I did my student teaching overseas and graduated with honors with a degree in Education, Spanish, Teaching English, and Bible – everything I needed to teach in a Spanish speaking country.
That’s focus. That is not the adolescence of a lazy failure.
When I wanted to actively love my body, I faked it till I maked it! I looked at my body every day in the mirror and said (in my head, usually), “You are so beautiful! I love this body!” and it worked and now when I see my body every day in the mirror the love I have for this big, squishy, beautiful thing is SO REAL. So it’s time to fake a new thing. It’s time to look at my precious face every day in the mirror and say, “You are a hard worker and you are not a failure.”
Eff imaginary, made up, only in my head benchmarks that mean I’m doing my job as a human. Eff doubt. Eff lies! It’s time for me to focus on truth and the actual reality of the life I’m living and the woman I’m becoming. Which is not a lazy failure.