The to do list has piled up. The school has piled on more and your children’s activities all have something immediately important to do today. There just isn’t enough time, energy, or brain power to handle it all! The stress steams like a pressure cooker and you are ready to blow. Just at that moment, someone spills milk all over the table. You want to cry, shout, scream!! One deep breath and all of that stress is going to come out of your mouth. And then it occurs to you - Why are we doing all this?
Life can happen to us. We can get caught up in other people’s to do lists for us. The school, other parents, our parents, in-laws, friends, our children’s ever changing needs, and even our own ambition can create a to do list a mile long that even 60 hours in a day could not handle.
Our up bringing says if you quit you are a loser or lazy. The parenting blogs say you must have your child commit to a sport and stick to it. We think we have to do it all perfectly all the time in every way. We must not miss out on anything or anyone. We must perform at tip top shape and take care of everyone all the time, be everything to everyone. We must never stop! We must always complete every activity, be at every sporting event, say yes to everything, and never ever miss a thing. We must never quit.
What if we didn’t? What if quitting was a good thing?
A recent news article (that I can’t find now ;) talked about the pressure we have put upon our children to perform the best at all their activities, as if the purpose of the activity was to do well. In truth, this story said, that the purpose of activities when children are younger is to learn new and varied things.
Playing the piano helps a child’s brain develop different neurological connections that help develop academic, physical, and social skills as well as fostering creativity. https://www.parents.com/kids/development/intellectual/6-benefits-of-music-lessons/
Learning a sport helps with team building, social skills, and responsibility. Volunteering or having a new hobby all create opportunities to become skilled and grow self-esteem in an area they might not later on in life when the work they do must pay the bills. All of these things have value. It does not matter if they do them for a day or ten years. If the purpose is experience, then it matters.
What if your day was built less around the to do lists that other people put on you, and more about what you want to experience? What if you looked at your kids’ school and activities as what they, and you, want them to experience? What if life was less like a race we are running to win, and more like a day to day journey we are taking together to enjoy?
What would your life look like then? Would you feel less pressure, guilt, or embarrassment if you just didn’t go to that PTA meeting and instead went out to a picnic with your kids? Or how about soccer? What if you measured it on how much coordination your child was getting instead of how many goals?
Life can change instantly simply by changing perspective. I dare you, today, to quit one thing. Just don’t do it! Say “Sorry, I’m going a different direction.” And then do! Go do something that fulfills you, that brings joy to your kids, and unites your family.
And the next time you look at your to do list? Imagine what it would look like if all of that busy work was not so all mighty important and life was just about living. What would that look like?
Here’s to simplifying and taking back control of our lives to be the journey it can be.
A proud quitter and lover of life!
(aka JP Starre)
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