Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why, Yes! I can't say No!

It starts with a phone call. Or a sign-up sheet. Or an email. Suddenly you're Googling ways to clone yourself, survive on less sleep, and time management tips.

It's yesitis. And I've been doing it a lot lately.

I lead a pretty busy life - for the most part, it's self-induced, so I try not to complain. I don't like to be idle for too long - I honestly don't know what to do with myself. I've virtually quit watching TV. I don't thumb through magazines or read books. I'm lucky I read my mail. In fact, from the moment I get home from work, I rarely sit down until I log on to the computer after the kids go to bed.

And that's just plodding through daily life as a single parent. Top that off with a job that I go to every day. Then add on the freelance work that I still take on #1) because I enjoy it, and #2) because I'm just not ready to shut that creative door. Then throw in an occasional school function, like the upcoming Student Showcase at my son's school. I've chaired this event for eight years and many phases of my life and I'm so passionate about it that I just can't let go of running the show.

In the midst of all these project "choices", I start to feel guilty that I'm not keeping up my relationships as I should. Facebook has been both a blessing and a curse - it's so easy to post a "Let's get together soon!" on someone's wall. It's another thing to actually take the time to physically meet and share what's going on in each others' lives. I just missed a friend's baby shower - totally my fault. I received the invitation, made a mental note to RSVP, and promptly sent it into the pile of "to-do's" on my desk, completely forgotten.

I used to do much more for others - checking in on a mom who's having a tough go, or making dinner for someone I love who doesn't have time to do it for himself. And the annual letters I write to each of my sons every year on their birthdays? Uh, yeah. That was back in July, and though it gnaws at me every day, it has yet to get accomplished.

It's no wonder that I'm sitting here writing at 7:15 am - my usual exercise time - because I haven't blogged in a few days. As much as exercise helps me both physically and mentally, especially after sitting at a computer all day, it's the first thing to go when I have to say "no" to something.

A part of me is driven by what I see others do - the guy at work that has been pulling all-nighters to meet an unmeetable deadline - and has a wife and three kids at home, plus freelance jobs on the side. At least I get to sleep a little at night. My good friend, also with three kids and one of the best moms I know, is the president of her son's school, plans incredible parties for friends, and is constantly helping out those in need - including myself.

I don't know how to stop the madness, and even if I could, I don't know what I'd do with myself. The next six months are going to be absolutely crazy for me - there will be many changes that will require loads of time and a plethora of energy. I'm completely daunted as to how I'll make it through and what will be sacrificed as a result.

Maybe it's time to practice saying "No."

"I'd love to, but I just have too much on my plate right now."

"I'm honored you asked me, but I just can't."

"Let me see what I can do."

"Of course I can!"

Crap. It's not as easy as it sounds. Sigh.

Call me if you need anything.

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