Learning to Live a Life I can Love - Prioritizing my lifeI was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to grow up.  The magic of being an adult was so alluring that I chased after it in an almost desperate pursuit.  In all my rush, I must have hit a fast forward button somewhere, because life has become a bit of a blur.  The days pass so quickly, I never seem to be able to really appreciate everything that is going on, and it is impossible make space for the things I try to fit in.   Sometimes I just want to push the pause button or slow it all down, so I don’t miss anything important.

My to do list seems to stretch on and on like a fence marking it’s way off into the horizon. It is relentless and impossibly long.  Each time I check off one item, two more seem to fill its spot and I feel oppressed by the taskmaster that will never stop, myself.

How did I let my life become so full that I no longer fit in it?  More importantly, how do I fix it?  I am finally realizing that rearranging is not the only solution.  You can’t fit 100 extra pieces into a 500 piece puzzle.  No matter how pretty the extra pieces are, if they don’t fit into my picture, they will keep me from completing my vision.

I’m sitting in the middle of a thousand scattered pieces, and I have to start building somewhere.  I must begin by prioritizing, placing my corner and side pieces first, setting my boundaries for the life picture I want to create.  I need recognize my limitations, and focus on the things I can fit into that space.  I need to accept that while I can not fit everything in, my life will still be beautiful, and I can be happy with it.

I need to have a plan that I can reference as I struggle to fill in the gaps.  My husband and children are center front of the puzzle, but where do the other pieces go?  Where do I place the work pieces and the school pieces?  The house cleaning pieces and laundry pieces seem to take up so much of the neutral space, and somewhere I need to find space for playtime and family vacations.  Did I leave space in the puzzle for myself?  Am I in the picture somewhere?  My family needs me to be there.  The picture won’t be right if I don’t leave space for myself next to them.

The hardest part is throwing excess pieces out.  I don’t want to accept that they don’t fit.  I love those pieces too.  I want to make them work, but I can’t.  I have to learn to let go.  I can not take my children to every sport, sign them up for every play, and attend every party.  Sometimes I have to say no.  I can not be the mother of the year while writing the next great american novel, keeping a pristine house, and being a musician, a chef, and an artist.  I have to choose.  Some things will have to be moved to the background or fall completely out of the picture.

If my goal is to get everything done, I will always fail.  I can NOT get everything done.  It is not possible.  I am human, and I have to forgive myself for that.  I have to live with the fact that I can’t save everything on my endless to do list from elimination.  Some things will be lost, and they may be good things, things I wanted, and things I cared about.  It might hurt to let them go, but trying to keep them all would destroy me.  Amazingly enough, when I finally let go, I might just have time to love the life I live.


21 comments on “Learning To Live A Life I Can Love”

  1. Amy,

    Super post! It’s so funny how many puzzle pieces we try to hang on to, even though it’s completely unrealistic. I guess that I would rather keep trying to put those puzzle pieces together by the best that I can, even if I have to let some go. In the end, I hope that I can look back on my puzzle and see a masterpiece. 🙂 Brandi

  2. I feel the same way! And Im a great procrastinator too. Time just passes by like its on wings. I liked your puzzle analogy too, it makes total sense. I appreciate this personal post after the crafty ones. Same things have been happening to me.
    Thanks for all you do over at Blog Meets Blog too.

  3. This is a beautiful analogy, Amy! The puzzle pieces of life is the absolute best way to describe it all. I feel exactly how you do…there are just too many pieces trying to fit into the whole picture. I think the best way to look at it is that there will (unfortunately) always be too many pieces. The best thing you can do is find those core pieces and focus on them. The rest is just gravy! Hang in there…it will all come together at some point!

    • Thank you Kim. I think you’re right, and some pieces seem to be conditional and fit in beautifully at some points of life and are completely wrong in other parts. It’s so hard to figure out sometimes. I guess that’s why it’s a puzzle.

  4. This is such a great piece! I’m bad a prioritizing and setting limitations as well. I’m the one at work who will always say “sure, I’ll do that” and then have to figure out how to fit it in with everything else. Or I procrastinate, and then work like a crazy woman to get it done. I really like the way you use pieces of the puzzle as the metaphor. It’s so very true. But it sounds like you’re headed in the right direction

    • Thank you Karyl. It is so hard to say no when people ask you do do things. I’m with you. I love challenging myself, but sometimes I think I challenge myself right out of my mind. I guess it’s all about balance.

  5. Love this and so very true about finding balance and really the art of “letting go” when it comes to extra pieces you really don’t need.

  6. I appreciate the image of putting together the puzzle’s border first. That’s how I’ve always approached puzzles, and establishing boundaries is so necessary to creating some kind of balance in your life—especially as a mom who juggles so many other roles. I feel you.

  7. Couldn’t have come up with a better analogy. I know how hard it is to figure out what to prioritize. I finally feel like I’m honing in on that for myself. Sometimes it’s really helpful to step back, forget about all the individual pieces, and look at the big picture, the image you see when the puzzle is all done. Then it can feel so much easier to identify those pieces that do belong, and set aside those that might fit better with another puzzle, for another time.

  8. It’s so hard to let go though…. Can’t I have it all?! If I’m nice perhaps? My youngest is screaming. I think he is ready for bedtime. There goes my computer time. Why is it that mother’s fun things are always the ones that need to go…

  9. Beautiful Amy! Thank you for your thoughts and the analogy. I have a brand new baby and I am forced to slow down and to remember what my mission really is. I think I should try for a minimalist lifestyle. Less is more meaningful!

  10. I have been feeling the same way. This is such a great way to think of it, a puzzle with pieces. There is only so much rearranging before you realize not all of the pieces are going to fit. I have had to learn what deserves attention first and foremost than fan out from there. This is a good reminder and great way of thinking of it!

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