Monday, January 25, 2010

A Full Life

I live a full life.

That’s a term I came up with after I got tired of people asking how I was doing and answering “busy”. Busy is such a cop out and it doesn’t explain anything.

I attend church and bible study twice a week each. I square dance on Monday nights. I’m a member of our local Genealogical Society, a book club, a table top gaming group, I scrapbook, read voraciously and have a large circle of friends that I try to meet up with on a regular basis. Not to mention the fact that I work full time, volunteer (less than I’d like to) and try to go to the gym when I can squeeze it in.

One of the local CMC’s, who is a friend more than a CMC, invited me to her workshop on Saturday. I was considering going but then I realized that I’d be much happier if I just stayed home, slept in, and scrapbooked in my pj’s. I was joking with a coworker and saying that I was going to tell everyone that I was scrapping with the CMC even though I wasn’t, just so I wouldn’t be invited out somewhere. He laughed and said “you’re just a ‘Yes Man’!”

Now my dad has said that before. He’s said that I have trouble saying no but I wrote it off as him being anti-social and not having the same priorities as me. I LIKE being busy. I enjoy seeing people and I do say no…sometimes. On the flip side, I also like and need alone time. I’ve always been like that. I have three younger brothers and I’d often just go to my bedroom, close the door, and play alone as a child. Now I get that quiet time because I live alone and when I’m at home, there’s very rarely anyone with me.

January has been a crazy busy month with very few days or evenings set aside for just me. I have a packed calendar and I keep joking that the tag line for my life should be “a tendency to over-commit”. Kevin’s comment worried me though. Does being busy mean I CAN’T say no? Or that I should practice saying no more?

I posted on ScrapShare and got some fantastic advice.

scrappygal: The difference is stress and if you are doing what you WANT to be doing rather than what you feel you SHOULD be doing.

If your life is full of fun things you enjoy doing and you go to bed satisfied with your day, you are fine.

If, however, you are doing things for everyone else while you are stressed out about your own stuff that is not getting done and you realize you haven't read a book or scrapbooked in a month because you've babysat for 5 friends, helped two move and taken on an extra project at work that no one else would do, you have a problem.

busyizzy: I think your life sounds wonderfully enjoyable! I also think it's okay to say, "I'd love to come scrap (or whatever), but I have other plans," even when those other plans are sleeping in and hanging around home in your jammies all day! Those kinds of activities can be planned just as clearly as a movie night with a friend, and are just as legitimate to keep in your calendar. Enjoy yourself, and I'm sure you'll find ways of saying no that work for you.

It isn't the number, it's the effect.

I know people for whom having more than 2 outside work and family obligations is just WAAAAY too much. Stress inducing. Horrific.

Then there are people like you. Only TWO? Bored bored bored...pace pace pace..... THAT would be stressful.

It sounds like you know that this Saturday would be better NOT going to the crop. So.... no thank you SuzyCMC. That says to me that you can read your own needs and say no when your own needs say "time for a day off".

But the rest of the time, your own needs say "hot diggity, tonight's book club and tomorrow is game night and I can't wait for square dancing!"

Not for some.... but for you? It's working.

When you start dragging your sorry butt to those events because you're obligated and really you'd just rather stay home in your pj's, then it's time to re-evaluate and start cutting.

Jill in FL: There is nothing wrong with your full schedule as long as it makes you happy. It's when you start to resent the items on your schedule (or the people who keep asking!) that it may be time to step back and answer no instead of yes. Do as much or as little as you're comfortable with, and if it's scrapping in your jammies at home this weekend, then that's what I'd do!!

kermit: You know when you regret that you said yes and you dread following through with the commitment.
I’m copying them all here because I have a feeling I’ll want to refer back to them. I admit by Friday night I was staring to regret the commitment I had scheduled but I made it through and it made having all day Saturday and Sunday with nothing but church and bible study that much more sublime. Tonight I’m skipping dance because the rest of the week is pretty busy and I know if I don’t start out feeling grounded, I certainly won’t end that way.

So, whether I DO have a tendency to over commit, or if I just live a full life, it’s my life and since I do know where to draw the line, I’m going to keep it up :)

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