I've been tested again today. I have been given challenge after challenge and I spent all day trying to catch up. I do this to myself- over commit, say yes to it all, fill and schedule every minute of my day so that I have just enough time to get from one thing to the next, and although I've said time after time that I am working on saying no to more things, it really is a daily challenge for me. I just want to do it all!
In preparation for a friends wedding this weekend (which I am officiating and baking a cake for, but thats another story for another day) I had packed my day super tight...
7:00am wake up and start baking cake
8:00am shower while cake bakes and get dressed as it cools
9:00am head to post office pick up express mailed paperwork (post office across town)
10:00am coffee with a friend at octane, squeezed this in since I'd be in midtown anyway
11:00am go to county clerk downtown to discuss wedding paperwork
12:30pm nanny job, back across town
5:30pm off work head home to clean kitchen and do laundry
7:00-9:00pm company rehearsal at Emory (see if I can leave rehearsal early and join meeting late)
8:00-10:00pm Skwhirlhaus meeting
10:00pm meet friend for birthday drink
11:00pm home to make icing for cake and clean rest of apartment
But this morning I was thrown for a loop right away - woke up late and was in a rush to start baking. Got the cake mix all set, pans filled and ready to go in the oven. The oven that I thought had been preheating. But as I went to stick the pans filled with wedding cake in the oven, I realized that the pilot light had gone out AGAIN and I was now in a panic. I needed to get my schedule going, I had only allotted the perfect amount of time that I had obsessively calculated each thing would take! I frantically called my apartment management over and over trying to get them to come fix my oven, and ended up on the phone with my mother in tears shouting "just let me vent, don't tell me it will all be ok!" - this is when I realized I needed to take a step back as I was failing some sort of universal test.
I called to cancel coffee to give myself another hour, and found a place to bake my cake (my friend I housesit for said I could use her oven since I had a key and such) and creatively packed up my four pans full of wedding cake batter and drove across town. I collected myself and felt like I could salvage my day, although quite a bit was still looming ahead of me. I took a much needed moment to relax and watch tv and play with my friends dogs while my cakes baked. It didn't last long though as I needed to drive all the way across town to the post office before I had to be at work.
I got to the post office where my pink slip told me my very important papers stating I was certified to officiate the wedding in just a few short days was waiting for me. I went in thinking I was doing good and had time to spare! But, alas, the post man had mistakenly written the wrong post office for me to collect my package and it was really at the post office that is 2 blocks from my apartment rather than 20 minutes across town, WALKING DISTANCE from my apartment! I about lost it. I had to get this package today and I had to be at work in a few minutes, and the post office closed at five, and I had work until 5:30, and, and, and... cue the hyperventilating. Thank God for pranayama.
I started to feel defeated - why, when I'm trying to do all this for others, was I being tested and challenged? I just want everything I do to be perfect and over the top and amazing all the time for everyone. And this is exactly why I am being tested. I have to realize that isn't what helping others is. I need to stop and think what can I cut out to make life easier for myself, and know that in the end I will be a better-healthier-stronger person for my friends instead of a stressed-out-stretched-too-thin-hard-to-be-around person.
Luckily I work for an awesome family and they said I could bring the kid with me across town to pick up the package (we stopped at a book store on the way too so he could have some fun) before getting back home to meet the older kids after school. While the kid napped, I was able to reevaluate the next few days as this big weekend approaches and fit in things that I NEED for myself, like yoga tomorrow morning, and cut out the ridiculous perfectionist time control scheduling of things that didn't matter.
I was able to let my director know at rehearsal tonight that I would need to leave a little early so that I could make my meeting without stressing too much, and said no to meeting a friend for birthday drinks (that one was hard) so that I could get home and take care of some things before going to bed at a reasonable time.
I feel as I'm typing this that I have typed this same post at least twice before. And every time I promise that I am going to be better at this, that, or the other... and so instead of making promises to be better, thus labeling my anxious thoughts and actions as bad or wrong, I simply want to acknowledge that these things come in waves. We all need a reminder from time to time to slow down and remember what really matters and brings us joy.