One of my most common frustrations is that there just isn’t enough time – there aren’t enough hours in the day to prepare healthy meals, read, get the perfect cat-eyeliner, update every social media platform, keep up with friends, do your homework, spend time with your family, workout, watch a new episode of your favorite tv show, and do the other million things you want to do.
While I think we all know that we can’t “do it all”, sometimes our brains have a way of tricking us into thinking we can, or worse, thinking that we should. We see other people who seem to have it all together, and we wish we could be just a little more like them.
Add in a personal expectation for perfection and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. And by disaster, I mean a mental, and emotional, breakdown. (At least for me anyway.) Is it possible to do every item on my to-do list, and do it perfectly? No. Do I feel like I have to always try? Yes.
After I graduated from college, I was unemployed for eight months. During that time, my schedule was completely up to me. Of course, I still felt the pressure to get my act together and get a job, but my days were my own to spend how I wanted. When I gave myself a break from “doing it all”, I gave myself the opportunity to do what I wanted.
So I read the books that had been sitting on my shelf for months. I watched the entirety of FRIENDS, and I loved it. I had the time to take care of my dog that is getting older and needed care. I got to workout, and actually enjoy it, and see the ways that it made me feel stronger. I got to help send my brother out the door in the mornings and welcome him home in the afternoon. I went on shopping trips by myself, for fun. I started this blog.
People didn’t always get it – they couldn’t understand what a 22-year old person could possibly do all day without school, work, or small children at home. And while it was hard for me to accept that maybe they just wouldn’t understand, I knew that what I was doing was right for me. I wasn’t “doing it all”, by any means, but I was doing what I needed to do.
And what I’ve learned, especially now that I have a job and don’t have the same freedom to design my day in the same way, is that that stuff – the things you do when you don’t have school, work, or other commitments hanging over your head – are the things that will get you through those days when you just can’t seem to do much of anything, much less “do it all”.
When you wonder how to do it all, remember that the only one that decides your “all” is you. We each get 24 hours in a day. And before you let someone else’s Instagram feed get you down about how you don’t workout enough, eat healthy enough, or get your cat-eye perfectly symmetrical on the first try, remember that it’s okay for your “all” to be different. At the end of the day, it won’t really matter whether you did it all, only that you gave it your all and that you were kind enough to yourself to do it all again tomorrow.