Lately I've been thinking a lot about overcommitment. I have had conversations about it, been listening to audio books about it, and taking note of when I do it and how I feel after.
The problem seems to be that I want to be the absolute best employee I can possibly be. I want to say yes to every request, I want to be there for anyone who needs help any time any day and anywhere, and I want to figure out a way to work in the car, on the toilet, or in my sleep so that I can get as much done as humanly possible.
I also want to be the best girlfriend I can possibly be. I want there to never be a dirty dish in the sink or a load of dirty laundry waiting to be done or put away or there never to be a night when I order pizza rather than cook a healthy meal. I want both of the animals to be fed and clean and loved on sufficiently. I want to be fun and exciting at a moment's notice and never have to ask that the trash be taken out or the floor be vaccumed. I never want to be so tired that I can't be understanding and loving.
I want to be an active member of my extended family. I want to spend time with both of my parents, my grandparents, brothers, and nephew without being asked or reminded or told how long it's been since I've visited. I don't want to miss family reunions and not even realize I did.
I want to be the friend that everyone can look to for lunches or dinners or drinks or coffees or slumber parties or weekend adventures anytime. I want to be the friend who remembers to send birthday cards and mother's day cards and supportive texts on especially tough or exciting days. I want to be the friend who's there for exciting and life-changing moments. I want to be the friend that my friends say, "you're always there," or "I knew I could count on you," or "I always have so much fun with you," and never "I miss you," or "it feels like years since I've seen you," or "where have you been?"
I want to give my time freely and without thought. I want to not have to look at the clock when I'm spending time with people and imagine how many minutes have passed that could have been used responding to emails or grocery shopping or cleaning something. I want to not avoid answering a phone call, because I know that I can't hang out or chat or give another presentation or make time for just one more family who needs one-on-one help. I want to drive the speed limit instead of rushing to get to an appointment on time or rushing to get home because I have 100 things to do before I go to bed. I want to read without falling asleep and write without forgetting to add pictures to my blog for two weeks, because I don't have the extra 15 minutes to organize them. I want to lie in bed for an extra ten minutes. I want to stay home and snuggle for an extra hour. I want to not have to say "I have to hang up now, I'm trying to carry in groceries."
And because of this, I overcommit. I say yes to everything or imagine that I can be there for everything. I book my calendar so tight that I have no free time for months. And I have to stop. In the end, I always seem to disappoint someone by canceling or rescheduling or not showing up. I have to learn to say "I'm sorry, I can't," or "no, thank you," or "that doesn't fit into my schedule." I have to admit I can't do it all and be it all to everyone. I had a massive breakdown Saturday night after an especially long, exciting, emotionally-taxing weekend. And with that, I began to cancel and reschedule things I'd committed to doing this week. I hate it, and it's hard, and it makes me want to cry thinking I might let someone down. But part of being a grown-up is realizing when you're overcommitting and learning how to stop. So here's my effort. I'll let you know how it goes.