(*Immediate Disclaimer: I am NOT referring to the Urban Slang version of a “Hall Pass” in which I took a break from my marriage! Read on to learn what type of Hall Pass I took…)
Did you miss me? Did you notice that I’ve been MIA since the end of summer? Yup – a good seven weeks it’s taken me to feel like I am finally surfacing from the craziness that has been my life. There’s been a lot of exciting craziness (I hosted my first workshop and I’m also working on a new organizing venture!), a lot of change-related craziness (my husband’s company merged and he now works out of New Jersey) and a lot of general back-to-school/sports craziness (it’s our first year with 3 kids playing travel soccer!).
It was all so much. Too many to-do’s … too many places to be … too much to keep track of …. too many balls in the air. Too much for one person. Of course – something had to give and so one of the things I had to let go of was my blog. It’s wasn’t easy but I knew you’d understand. After all, who hasn’t been in the same position? Don’t you find that there are just certain times of the year (back to school, holidays, re-entry from vacation, end of school) that we know life is going to be crazy and the best we can hope for is to just hold on and ride it out?
Now that I’m on the other side of the whirlwind (at least until the holidays hit!) – I’m taking some time to look back and see what really got me through those crazy weeks. Interestingly enough – besides good friends, good wine and a lot of deep breathing – there was one key survival strategy that I attribute my current level of sanity to.
I’m sure like many of you, my default mode of functioning is to give 100% ( okay, sometimes 110%) on whatever it is that I am working on. Otherwise, what’s the point? Why would I want to do something at 50 effort%? 65% effort? Even 75% effort? I take pride in my work and when others are counting on me I want to deliver the best that I can. If I’m not on the top of my game, admittedly I feel a bit disappointed.
Please believe me when I say, I’m not a perfectionist – that isn’t the problem. And it’s not about being unable able to say “No” – I’m actually very good at that (and consider it one of my strengths). I think it’s more about believing that as a strong, capable woman I should be able to handle all of the things that fall onto my plate and do them to the best of my ability. Even if I didn’t put those things on my plate and even if the plate is apparently bigger than it should be.
Realistically I know that I can’t expect to operate at this level all the time. Especially when life is temporarily turned upside down. However, the reality is that many of us – myself included – fight it. We go into denial. We get down on ourselves and assume there must be something wrong with us. After all – everyone else seems to have it together. Eventually, we finally hit the point that we’ll accept that there are just times in life when Good Enough is Enough. But I’ve learned … that is not enough.
Usually I will reluctantly and grudgingly admit it. “Fine. It’s too much. I just can’t do it”. And I will be very salty about it. I will say the words out loud, but all the while I am thinking in my head “this is crap”. This time I was just too drained to be salty. I took a different tact and decided to stop fighting it and this time really go with it. I took a Hall Pass from MYSELF. You know what? It was so awesome!
Not only did I give myself permission to not expect 100% from myself but I actually looked for ways that while I had my Pass I could cut corners. Kids need dinner? Eggo Pancakes in the microwave! Forgot to wash Dylan’s soccer jersey (which he had worn 5 times)? Febreeze it! Need to wash my face at the end of the day? Have a glass of wine instead! An email comes in asking me to attend yet another event? Pretend I didn’t get it! (Another disclaimer – If you’re reading this you’re obviously high on my list so I would never do this to you…).
Embrace it! Enjoy it! Write yourself a Hall Pass and give yourself permission to not only seek out ways to cut corners, but enjoy the break of not having to operate at full capacity. Before you know it you’ll have come out on the other side feeling a bit more refreshed and a little rebellious – which as a strong capable woman is a great experience to have!