During the summer months, I’m so blessed to be able to spend real quality-time with my husband and toddler. To me, this is the best gift that I could ever receive! Even as a writer, words fail me when I try to describe how beautiful it is to see my two men standing in front of a mirror dancing around, singing Beatles hits at the top of their lungs.
Be Content Doing Nothing
Still, despite these blissful weeks of Family Fun, there’s an ominous shadow lingering in the back of my mind. Amid the laughter, day trips, and super silly giggles, a niggling voice keeps telling me that I should be DOING MORE.
What exactly is it that I have to do besides enjoying my husband and our little one while his sweet, purely innocent nature isn’t a distant memory? What could possibly be more important than a virtually-carefree summer day with the two guys who stole my heart? Well, in my overachieving mind, that ambiguously important other thing is simply doing anything that’s the opposite of relaxing and letting go.
Let’s face it, far too many of us – quite often (but certainly not exclusively) many of us women – feel the persistent need to be doing something. All the time. Even though we are frequently running ourselves ragged with our personal and professional lives, there’s a constant companion that’s judging our actions from within. Are we doing enough? More importantly, do others perceive us as doing enough?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that when someone asks what we do for a living, it’s a thinly-veiled way of asking who we are.
Two of the most powerful words in human speech are “I AM.” There is so much power in these words, and as a Woman of Faith, I feel an even more profound connection to these all-encompassing words. As an overachieving creative, I’ve always struggled with trying to fit myself into one simple, concise sentence that defines who I am. To say, “I am an overachieving creative and business owner” is painfully accurate, but it isn’t remotely close to defining everything that I do or who I AM. And yet, I’m constantly fretting about how I can succinctly define myself to people I merely meet in passing – because networking is everything. It’s silly, and yet, I know I’m not the only one. Any person who understands how social media works knows exactly what I mean.
Anyway, I sat there, watching two beautiful, contented souls from the sidelines. As they danced, I caught my own reflection in the mirror – a wistful grin on my face as I observed them, seated at my desk with a neat stack of work that refuses to shrink. Instead of fully participating in a moment that has quickly evolved into a pleasant memory, I was merely in the background. Why?
My long To Do list oddly seems to get longer each time I complete one task. I didn’t walk away from my traditional career to forfeit living a well-lived life on my own terms as much as I sensibly can. There’s not enough time in a day to take care of everything, and I need to accept that. When I chose to become a mother, that day I made a commitment to putting my little one and my family first. But there are days when the struggle to balance career, writing, and family life is tremendous. It’s hard to do it all, and do it well.
Stop chasing after doing and find contentment in simply being.
Next time, when I’m at a social mixer rubbing elbows with folks that judge and are being judged, when someone asks me what I do, I want to take a breath, smile, and simply say,
When you feel yourself chasing your dreams a bit too hard and you find yourself out of breath, stop yourself, look around, and remind your inner critic with a booming voice of self-assurance: “I AM ENOUGH.” (And then whip out your favorite album and sing in front of the mirror at the top of your lungs.)
Sending Love and Light to all of you.
Luck of the Irish, Holiday Heartbeats#3, goes live on August 8th. Preorder now.
©Atina Atwood 2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™
– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.