Friday, February 13, 2015

That time I said "no" to everything.

First of all, let me begin by saying that if you are looking forward to surgery because you will be on forced bedrest for up to two weeks, then you have clearly overscheduled your life.

{And I know that about 80% of you reading this have just gone off into a daydream involving your feet up on the couch with an iced tea on one side, and the entire first season of House of Cards in front of you.}

That was me two weeks ago.  I had surgery scheduled on February 2nd. I was ordered to take a 2 week recovery free of work, school, walking, lifting, and all things in my human nature.  Throw in my part-time status first semester (less sick time), and the thought of being out of my classroom for two solid weeks - then shrink 15 days down to more like 10 - and me returning on Friday - today. 

When I agreed to the surgery I gave myself a good ol' fashion pep talk about what it would mean to completely clear my calendar for two full weeks.  

I want all of you to look at your calendar a month from now and just try to clear it without feeling guilty.  Now do it with a doctor's note.

Sidenote: I just wrote a sentence here about it being "so hard", but I quickly erased it because that would be a big fat lie designed to make it sound like I wasn't ecstatically cancelling things left and right like a wanderlust hitting the road.  Let's just say, it wasn't hard at all.

Once I had a perfectly valid medical reason, it was the easiest thing - guilt free freedom from all obligations.  Even household obligations - I could practically hear the angels singing as I cleared away every appointment from my overcrowded life.

And so on February 2nd, as scheduled, it began.  The first few days are a bit of a blur, but no less magical.
I haven't run a vacuum because, doctor's orders!
I haven't washed my family's sheets because, doctor's orders!
I haven't been to ceramics class, counseling, Korean class, Bible Study, church, or even work, because, well doctor's orders.
Friends, I haven't cooked a single solitary meal. 

Y'all....I have been given the gift of time and sweet sweet indulgence.

People even brought me flowers.  So I have been given the gift of sweet indulgent time surrounded by beautiful flowers and Netflix.

Now here's the weird and secret part that I'm almost embarrassed to say...
It isn't nearly as lovely as I had imagined and dreamed of all those months when the opportunity to just sit in my house by myself for twenty minutes seemed like the most delicious gift in the world.

I can hear the figurative jeering and tomato throwing from all of the overworked people of the world now - HOW DARE I NOT APPRECIATE EVERY MINUTE.

Oh believe me, I appreciated it, but I also learned something about myself...

I don't want to do nothing, and I would imagine that no one really wants to sit in their home all day with not a single appointment/date/meeting to look forward to.

The reason I over-schedule is because I like stuff.  I like Bible Studies.  I like taking a Tuesday night ceramics class.  I like meeting a friend for coffee.  I like shooting pictures.  I like teaching private art lessons after school.

But I also like being home when Miles walks in the door with a bag full of homework.  I like having the freedom to pick him up from school.  I like fixing my kids breakfast and writing down how our day is going to look. 

So where is the balance?

There is this intense pressure to figure it out before it is too late.  Our ears and eyes are pounded with voices and articles chanting, "regret, regret, regret" - soft voices that rise in volume when an email appears in your inbox asking you to volunteer for your son's fieldtrip, or you show up for class a little less prepared than you'd like.

But would I regret those things if I gave up the things I like? Is it at all possible that having a full schedule could in fact be a blessing that just needs to be kept in check every once in awhile?

And does this blessing actually already give me permission to quit when I'm weary, say no when I'm spent?  Should I in fact listen to the people who say, "You can't do it all" instead of trying to prove them all wrong?

Why do we need a doctor's note to say "no"?


Iulia Gulia @ Best of Baby said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Naomi! I came across your blog from the Motherhood Around the World Series. I love it :) I looked around for a while trying to find some contact info, but didn't have any luck. I write for and I'm putting together a piece on birthing abroad. Would you be interested in submitting a simple testimony? I would love to collaborate with you:) My email is bestofbabylady (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

(And yes I realize the irony of commenting on this particular piece..."saying no to everything" :)