Cutting Something Out of Our Lives

Stairs at a college in Oxford

Stairs at a college in Oxford where I found some peace and quiet

Everyone has been harping on me to eliminate something from my schedule. Work, school, extra curricular activities – they are all great, claim my parents and medical caregivers, but even too much of a good thing can lead to disaster.

However, I feel stuck. Already, so much has been given up from my list of things to do. I have not gone to Toastmasters the past two meetings and never joined choir or speech team. The amount of work that I have done has cut down for two of my jobs to very few hours. Yet, my life still feels chaotic.

Society puts so much pressure on us to be busy. Working is a virtue as is pushing yourself to accomplish as much as possible. Taking time to rest and simply be is almost unheard of, at least where I am from in Midwestern America. You should always be moving forward and completing some task. That makes a successful person.

Doing what you love is certainly not wrong, and neither is doing many things that inspire you. However there are times when we need to say “No” to running around driving ourselves nearly crazy. Being drained is not the same as being satisfied and accomplished in life.

So my challenge lately – one that I encourage you to consider as well – is to look at everything you are involved in and think about how you are managing. Do you have time to rest and simply relax ever? Are you always on the go and rushing around trying to get numerous things done? How can you bring more peace and time to be silent into your life?

Many of use need to cut something out of our lives. So many women and men that I meet fill up their days with activities (most of which are great) until they scarcely have time to breathe. This can help to dull the pain and fill the loneliness It makes us less likely to feel like a failure or face ourselves. Doing this, however, creates a disconnect with ourselves which is sad. Time to just be and experience the world around us is too often forgotten in the bustle of this rushed world.

I am still not sure what to cut from my life. Any free time that I use to surf the web or play games for little periods of time was my first thought. However, we all need time to unwind. Eliminating this from my schedule would only add to the chaos. Perhaps cutting back on my job is needed. That is a terrifying thought, but one that might be needed to bring about my sanity. Right now, the days spin so rapidly out of my control that I am stumbling to catch up with them. Something needs to change.

A professor told me today that he goes on a couple of silent retreats every year for his own sanity. This idea sparked such a desire in me to do the same. We probably all need to do that at least once. Finding the courage to take time to rest is difficult, but cutting out even a small unnecessary task can bring us more clarity and energy.

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6 thoughts on “Cutting Something Out of Our Lives

  1. So true! I think our society also makes us feel guilty if we take too much time to relax. Not good! Downtime and balance are so important.

  2. jefairgrieve says:

    When I have had to make decisions about my life, the sort of decisions you describe, I have examined myself to find my overall goal, my reason for living, and then I have evaluated each activity to see if it supports my goal. The things I’m doing that are farthest from supporting my goal, I toss. As for this “overall goal,” I can rely on it to guide me because it’s a goal that has become clear to me only after I have asked God’s guidance in forming it. For example, after my divorce in 1983, I had to redefine my purpose in life. I was no longer a “wife” and would not be a “mother” for very many more years. So what was my life’s purpose? Then I got a part time job as a teacher’s aide in a GED program, and I loved it. When I asked God if my purpose was to help undereducated adults achieve their education goals, I had the sense that God approved. Thus, I went to graduate school, got the degrees I needed, and taught developmental subjects in a community college. I loved my work! I also knew in my heart that my work was congruent with my purpose in life.

    Another experience that helped me stay on track and keep my life under control was taking a year to give my Saturdays to a group of cloistered nuns. I worked in their book store and answered phones, all the while absorbing the peace in the convent. Oh, I know that nuns are human and women and that they have their moments of squabbles, etc., but they know/learn how to rise above that and focus on their purpose. I knew that what I had to do was clarify my God-given purpose and focus my life on that, evaluate my activities to see if they supported my purpose, and toss the ones that did not. This may sound like a simple, cerebral exercise, but it truly is not. Doing this was so difficult because it involved my head, my heart, and my spirit. But now I am glad I did it and lived my life accordingly because I have no regrets about how I’ve used my time and energy. When I die, I won’t say, “Oh, if only I had done this–or this, or this, etc.” I don’t know if my experience will help you, but it’s here if you need it. Blessings . . .

  3. 80smetalman says:

    The problem here in America is that if you’re not working three jobs and taking evening classes, they you are perceived as lazy. I work full time and do substitute teaching on my days off. I have been told to take it easier as well.

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