Something’s Gotta Give

I’m hard on myself (maybe you’ve noticed) so this week has been extremely difficult because there are so many things vying for my attention — work, unpacking, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, working on my blog redesign, recovery meetings — and I want to accomplish them all. Right this minute. Obviously I realize that’s impossible, and I understand the value of doing tasks little by little, but there’s more to it than that.

While on the phone with my recovery mentor on Friday I said, “This work, life, play balance is a bitch.” She laughed because she knows exactly what I mean. She said to me, “Something has to give and sometimes that’s our expectations.” Holy guacamole batman. In my mind, when she said “something has to give” my immediate thought was the cleanliness level of my house, i.e. taking that off of my to-do list but accomplishing everything else on it. So when she said instead that my expectations can give, my mind was blown. You mean I can throw away my expectation that I’ll have unpacked all of my belongings by now? You mean I can throw away my expectation that my blog redesign will have been completed by today, Sunday, the day my new posts go up? Whoa there. Just whoa.

I feel like this woman sometimes.
I feel like this woman sometimes.


What I love about this is I can take myself off the hook. I allow myself more wiggle room. I allow myself the understanding sometimes things take longer than I think they will. And that’s OK. It means I don’t have to take anything off my to-do list but I do get to adjust the when. My self-will is subtracted out of the equation because instead I acknowledge some things are out of my control, even if they seem like they should be in my control! Unpacking, washing dishes, doing laundry, it seems like these things are in my hands, but I’m realizing they are and they are not because they are working in tandem with many other factors, thus when they get done is in this instance not up to me. I’m only human and I can only accomplish so much in a day.

In essence, I’m trying really hard to practice the acceptance part of the serenity prayer. I’ve heard many times that:

“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake … [U]nless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

This means I also accept I’m not perfectly practicing this passage. It means I’m letting go of my expectations that just because I want to no longer feel fear, insecurity, lack, or what have you, doesn’t mean the feelings will necessarily disappear this instant. They could, but it’s foolish (and troublesome) for me to expect them to. I’m doing my best and that’s good enough. And in this instance, I’m releasing my expectation of what “my best” means.

I dream of a world where we release our expectations. A world where we understand sometimes things take longer than we planned. A world where we realize life is messy and chaotic and dramatic and doesn’t always fit in neat, orderly boxes. A world where we live in acceptance of what is while also understanding some things can be changed. And sometimes that thing needs to be us.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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