Let me start this by saying that I have NO ANSWERS. You won't likely find any solutions to your personal plight of burnout and the feeling of being overwhelmed from me. But, what did you expect from a lady that has been desperately trying to keep up with a blog titled 'The Zoo Crew'? I mean, really.
When my older seven were young and all living actively at home I would enter each summer with such hope and zeal. My idea of summer was a slow paced few months filled with books lazily read on the porch, glasses of lemonade, trips to the beach, and occasional stops at the local ice cream shop. Maybe a fun game of putt-putt golf. Honestly, they rarely resembled anything of the sort. So, as the years passed, and my hair took on a little more silver, I grew to lowering my expectations and ultimately doing away with any expectations at all. A quote that I heard once, but I do not remember the source, has stuck with me for many a year now.
"Expectations are the surest path to disappointment."
Does this mean we should never have any expectations? Well, of course not. I'm not sure how much we'd accomplish in life without any expectations at all. However, there is some real value in knowing when to have expectations and when to just let them go. It's really quite freeing, and I would argue just the prescription for preserving what little sanity one may be managing to hold onto within the confines of this insanity we call living life.
Yes. I said it. Living life involves at least a little level of insanity. (Sometimes a VERY LARGE level.) Dealing with insanity in others as well as ourselves is a non-negotiable part of living life. Nothing is ever as simply played out as an episode of Leave it to Beaver or Andy Griffith. We face challenges each.and.every.day. Some things we self-inflict, and others things are imposed upon us by those we come in contact with by whatever means. Some challenges are monumental catastrophes while others are minor inconveniences. Yet all things pull together, piling on top of each other, to create our own personal pack of burdens to weigh heavily on our backs.
Sometimes our packs are light, but other times our burdens seem to spill out the top. There are so many things to manage and process in any given day, any given moment. We all find our ways of coping and sifting through. If I'm totally honest, I have to admit that I have been living with a bit of anxiety this summer. There is just SO MUCH that I need to do. Now, more than ever, I totally understand why someone would hire a house keeper, a cook, a gardener, a farm hand, and/or a nanny.
When I was younger it was easier to juggle everything, even with seven children. The hubby and I have been through A LOT these past 19 years, and we're just plumb tuckered out. Honestly, I know that we've been through tougher times. Way tougher times. Trust me. I know. I lived them. Live and in living color with all the vivid realities and emotions involved. We face life head on and we survive. It's just what we do; how we roll. Being able to face adversity boldly and with determination has to be the one thing we both have in common that rises above whatever else it is that binds us together.
Just because we know how to face and manage a life challenge doesn't mean that we welcome them with open arms. There comes a time when you just desire life to serve you lemonade, not force you plant, harvest and squeeze your own. Sometimes you just want your lemonade handed to you on a silver platter.
Even though I wouldn't consider us to be old, we have learned over time to appreciate the moments that make up our life. I am reminded of a time when I was happy, felt accomplished, by the crossing off of each day on the calendar. Then, one day it dawned on me that the crossing off of a day on the calendar is not something to be so readily celebrated. That big X on the calendar is a visible reminder of another 24 hours behind us that can never be recovered, a day closer to the end of our time on this constantly moving sphere propelling us through space and time. Days gone by are created by present moments, and the only way we can truly capitalize on them is by being as completely present as humanly possible in each and every moment that consumes our life.
Trust me. I am working on this. Really. I am. Like everything it is a process though. I don't believe that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. As long as our hearts are beating and our minds are working we CAN learn new ways of living. We CAN become more present grandchildren, children, spouses, parents, fellow human beings. There is SO MUCH to be gained by just being in the here and now.