It’s official. We’ve reached the half-way point of the calendar year that is 2013. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Have you done any or all of the things that you set out to do this year? Have you kept up with your frivolous resolutions? It hasn’t been as easy as you thought it would be, has it?
Perhaps, you might be more like me. I kept my goals at a reasonable, attainable level. My problem isn’t that they are impossible to achieve, rather, I’m just too lazy to achieve them. And when I’m not being lazy, I’m being busy doing other things for other people. How is that ever going to get me anywhere, I ask?
A good friend once told me that she equated the soul with a drinking well. Every day, she said, people come in and out of your life, each one with a need. You dip into the well and offer them the water of your life, nourishing them the best that you can. In time, though, your well will run dry. And when that day comes, there will be no water left to nourish you. If you give 100% of yourself to others, putting them first and neglecting to take care of yourself, how can you ever expect to survive? How can you go on being their rock when you cannot support yourself?
At first, I didn’t want to heed her warning. I enjoy doing for others. I volunteer for everything, a trait my husband has long railed against (“Stop raising your hand!”) But it didn’t take long before I found out–the hard way–what she meant.
There is a fine line between being selfless and being a door mat.
In everyone’s life, there comes a time when you have to take a “time-out” from everything that you are doing. You need to take stock of what you have, what you don’t have, what’s been accomplished, and what needs tending to. You need to prioritize your time. Do not ever feel selfish saying NO. In fact, learning to say NO has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. It doesn’t feel natural to me. Even close friends who tell me that I’m doing to much, or that I should say NO, or that I need to take care of me first, still unintentionally find ways to drink from the well. Frequently. It took exposure to three people in particular, for me to learn that it’s okay to say NO. It’s not selfish in any way to put myself first from time to time and allow myself the opportunity to refill my well.
Someone once said, “You cannot go back and change your beginning, but you can forward, from this day, and change your ending.”
And so, as we enter the second half of 2013, I am taking the opportunity to rethink some things, to prioritize my time, tasks, and the company I keep, and make the most out of the remainder of this year ON MY TERMS.
Let today be Day One of the rest of YOUR life.