Every time we are walking through an airport trying to find the baggage claim while maneuvering against all of the travelers rushing towards their gates, I make the joke that I feel like a salmon–swimming upstream. The same goes when I’m trying to get off the subway as everyone is trying to fight their way in. While it seems amusing in those moments, there are many times in life I find myself swimming upstream when it’s way more overwhelming than amusing.
As an event designer, my work life is cyclical. The New Year is always quiet and then it builds to a huge peak in May and June, then winds back down over the summer, and then goes gang busters again in late October until mid December.
This is my life. Year after year. I know this.
Yet every year, I try to add insult to injury and make those two peak seasons even more crazy.
I get all high and mighty and think that I should really try to brush up on my yoga skills to help me manage stress.
On more than 5 bjillion occasions I’ve volunteered for school activities in those crazy times. “It’s for the kids,” I say.
I think that wouldn’t it be great to have sit down family dinners every single night.
Now mind you, I do LOVE to volunteer at my kids’ schools. I do think that yoga is a great stress reliever. And I savor meals with my family.
But adding in even one of those obligations or setting those constant expectations to an already incredibly busy time, makes it go from “crazy” to full on salmon fighting for its life swimming upstream.
It’s a constant struggle, but I’ve learned that I need to go with the flow in these times. I need to pass on the extra curriculars–be it a new exercise regiment or being the mystery reader at school. I need to focus on what “has” to be done and with my extra time, I recharge and rest.
And most importantly, I let the guilt go.
By saying no to a daily noon time walk, or pitching in at the school holiday fundraiser, does not mean that I’m letting anyone down. I just allocate my extras to the valleys in my life schedule when I can knock it out of the park. Which is actually saying yes to me and yes to them.
As I’ve said before, you can not be all things to all people. If you try, you are letting folks down left and right. Focus your energy on what is most important in that day, week, month, etc.
Stop making life so much harder on you. Stop swimming upstream.
When are the peaks in your life schedule? Are you overloading it with “stuff” that isn’t necessary in those moments? How can you go from fighting the current to going with the flow?