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Learning Limits

I know this thought isn't revolutionary -- I don't know if I heard it from somewhere or if I just sort of learned it on my own and put it to words. But sometime around college it occurred to me that when you say "yes" to one thing, you have to say "no" to another.

In the example of college, if I said "yes" to this class, I would be saying "no" to others. "Yes" to shopping meant "no" to studying, etc.

Later on, the personal applications changed, but the idea stayed true. "Yes" to paying the energy bill meant "no" to whatever thing(s) I had in my Amazon cart. Or, more personally, "yes" to spending Christmas with this side of the family meant "no" to that side. "Yes" to game night with friends meant "no" to date night with just the two of us.

None of the "yes" answers in my examples are bad. None of the "no" answers are either. It's just a choice. A prioritization.

Sure, some of the choices I've made were wrong. I should have said "yes" when I said "no" or vice versa. But the point is, I learned (and am learning) that you can't say yes to everything. When you do, you fail at everything you try because you didn't prioritize. I also learned that sometimes you need to think about who and what you're saying "yes" to and whether that really needs to be your priority.

For me, Jeremy and our family will always be the ones I want to first consider before I say "yes" to  other things. I don't want to sacrifice them for other, less important things.

Where is all this leading?

For me personally, when I was pregnant with Alice, this really hit home. I had a finite amount of time and especially energy. I could only do so much at a time (increasingly less time as I got larger and more tired), so what I said "yes" to really did matter. If I cleaned, I wouldn't be able to go out later. If I went out, no cleaning. I felt bad, but I had to say "no" a lot.

Since Alice joined our family, it's become even more apparent that I have to prioritize.

I read something recently that made a lot of sense. It was talking about how we feel so much pressure to do ALL THE THINGS (as a parent or not...). Do all the crafts, make all the costumes, cook all the food, clean all the rooms, and while you're at it, bake some holiday treats and go to some holiday parties and sing some holiday songs.

Yeah, but if I do that, who suffers? Probably my family. And definitely me.

Having Alice is helping me to prioritize. A real world example that's happened frequently: Alice is napping, so I have 30 minutes to an hour. I'm hungry, the laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed, and I'd like to read a little bit or maybe do some sewing. So... what do I do? If I don't eat, I will not be able to do anything else well, and it'll affect my ability to feed Alice. If Alice doesn't eat well, it will affect her health or at least her mood (girl likes to eat... wonder where that comes from).

All the other things can wait. Nothing bad will happen if I put those off temporarily. I definitely learned this the hard way a few times.

I went to DragonCon this year with two costumes and only wore one for about half a day. And I had the best time!

So all that to say, I'm learning my limits. Learning who/what gets my "yes" and my "no." Failing along the way, because that's the theme of this blog. But learning my priorities, which is, I think, really important.

Thanks for reading! Live long and prosper!


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