It all started on a beautiful beach resort in Cancun. My husband and I were lounging on beach chairs under little tiki coverings, sipping on tropical drinks. This sounds like the beginning of a wonderful, peaceful story, right?
Wrong. It was somewhere towards the end of my strawberry daiquiri that I had the realization that in two days, I would be returning to reality. No more housekeeper making my bed for me. No more chef cooking every meal. REALITY.
Reality… an often-screaming toddler, a demanding new job (usually self-imposed), trying to take care of my husband, who also has a demanding job, serving at church, leading a church group, serving on two boards, writing in my “free time,” trying to stay in good physical shape, and the list goes on and on.
I set down my drink and told my husband I would be back in a bit. I went back to our room, and to put it nicely, had a mild panic attack. How was I surviving? How was I fitting so much into my life? I couldn’t even fathom going back to a reality where I had so much on my plate.
It was beyond time to simplify.
I needed to edit my life.
We live in a time in history where it seems like we can never do enough. It’s crazy to think that just 50 years ago, most women were homemakers. Now, women are expected to do it all – raise the kids, have a job, provide amazing snacks for their kids’ school and soccer teams, have a thriving social life, have a beach body, etc.
And on top of that, it seems there’s an expectation that we be all things to all people. We need to not only take care of our immediate family, but also our aging parents, pets, nonprofit that we volunteer with, etc.
Instead of just throwing up my hands and saying, “I’m done with reality! I’m staying in Cancun forever!” (which was very tempting), I decided I needed to change my reality.
Here are some steps I took to edit my life. I hope that if you find yourself in a place where you constantly feel overwhelmed, you will also consider following these steps to simplify your life:
Here’s how I edited my life:
- Let go. Practically, what can you drop from your schedule? I’m not encouraging you to be flighty or uncommitted, but what is not absolutely necessary that you can step away from over time? In my case, I resigned from a couple of boards that I realized weren’t absolutely essential to my life.
- Stop caring so much what others think. Before I resigned from those boards, I thought I would upset others. But ultimately, those folks understood that this is what’s best for me in this season, and they’re doing just fine without me. Often times, our exit is actually an opportunity for others to step up and grow.
- Say no to future obligations/opportunities. You are just one person. In order to stay focused on family and work, you can’t do everything that comes your way. Learn to gracefully say no.
- Delegate wherever possible. Delegating frees us up to do the things that are most important. Find people – your spouse, a babysitter, a friend, a mom – who can help you with duties that keep you from your most important things in life.
Maybe you realize you have too much going on in your reality. I hope you will take a real inventory of what you can eliminate from your life so that you can spend more quality time with the people who matter most to you.