Want to meet for a drink after work on Friday? The text was the third invitation I had received this week.
Sorry, was my response, too swamped with work.
Like my dismissal of the other two invites, I didn’t give it another thought.
That is until I read today’s reflection. “The principle of simplicity,” Derek Lin writes, “…can be extended to cover excess in general.” Apart from my weight issue, I thought, where might I trim excess?
It hit me like a bolt of lightning – How about the excess that stands between me and my values?
I profess to value relationship, and long for deeper friendships, yet I find saying no so easy. Work above all else is my creed. I learned it from my father, who learned it from his father, and have even passed it down to my children. Everyone understands the importance of work, so it is a forgivable excuse – but is it an honest one?
If I put the amount of effort into my relationships as I do my career, I would surely have the bonds I long for. Is work an excuse? Could it be that I really am just afraid of intimacy? I certainly have experienced more than my share of rejection and abandonment, so maybe this is something I need to consider.
Teaching, with all the prep work involved, is time consuming. Coaching, while expected, just adds more hours onto the day, yet, I wonder if there isn’t another approach to the way I deal with the pressure? Is there any excess to be trimmed to make room for other aspects of my life?
I worry about something as soon as it is assigned. Once I know my classroom assignments, for example, I immediately go into overdrive trying to plot out the semester and thinking of ideas to engage my students. I push myself to be organized weeks in advance, and fret about the weeks beyond. The resulting emotion is one of being always behind, frantic.
What if I could change my approach – break tasks down into more manageable chunks – and leave myself time each day for something other than work? Is it possible to create balance, and with it calm?
“Trimming Excess”, with its simplicity of message, has caused me to reflect on the way I complicate things.