When I was child, I assumed that I’d have life all figured out by now. I’d be set and coast into retirement. Life would be simple at this point, because I’d no longer be searching and striving. I’d have my family and home and career. The End.
Well, in some ways, life is simpler than it was at earlier stages. But in other ways, it’s more complicated.
First, I now know that each of those “things” – family, home, career — requires a great deal of time and energy to maintain and grow. Yep, they don’t just happen on their own.
Second, each calls for a different hat. A different set of skills and responsibilities.
Third, those hats change in shape as needs and demands change.
I can’t think of a month in my life when I’ve felt more acutely the wearing – and juggling — of multiple hats. And by “hat,” I don’t mean going through the motions. Quite the opposite, I mean investing my heart.
In May, I’ve been:
- a student of writing.
- a writer.
- a presenter.
- a student of education.
- a mom.
I’ve worn additional hats, but I’ll stop there.
Each hat has sub-hats. OK, I’m taking this metaphor way too far, but you know what I mean, right? Being a parent isn’t just about watching your kids’ performances. Being a writer isn’t just about sitting at a computer.
On the one hand, all of these hats are wonderful. Each is a teacher — no matter the role, I consider myself a student, still learning. Every day. It’s a privilege, really.
On the other hand, managing all of these hats can be overwhelming, so I’ve gone back repeatedly to these three mantras:
1) I can’t do it all (at least not all at once). I have to let some stuff go. Hence, this symbolizes what my house looks like. Inside and out.
And this is what dinner sometimes looks like. More and more.
2) I can’t do it alone. When I went on the writer’s retreat, my husband was occupied a good part of the time with graduation weekend at UVA where he teaches. So two friends graciously helped by transporting our girls to places.
3) I’m doing the best that I can. And that’s good enough.
I see it on social media… and I hear it from friends and family in real time… and I just feel it in our country: we are all so busy.
You may wear more or less hats; you may have more or less support. Whatever your case:
Now, I’m off to take a walk in my neighborhood. I hope you’ll take a breather, too!
Until we meet again,