Considering I was in school for 22 out of the 27 years of my life, the fall always seems like the start of a "new year." A time of year when I want to go to the store to buy freshly sharpened pencils and new notebooks and highlighters. And a time of year when I want to set goals for myself academically and athletically.
Although I am taking one class this year, I'm not enrolled in school. Yet I still feel that itch to start fresh and set new goals. So instead of waiting till New Years Eve, I'm making my new years resolution now. And one of my resolutions is to take a lot of my usual yearly-to-dos off my list.
Unlike some people who have bounds of energy and/or time, I realized (a long time ago) that I cannot "do it all." And I'm finally learning that this is ok. I can't cook all the time (or often), train for a marathon (or even a half), have a full time job, make weekly visits with my closest friends in and outside of the city, make new friends, spend quality time with Alex, have a disciplined writing schedule, spend quiet time with God, go to all of the hip places in New York City, take up painting, attend weekly meditations, volunteer, complete my homework, and research techniques for healing trauma victims.
My first reaction at not being able to "do it all" was slightly depressing. I felt guilty taking life goals off my list considering that there are people in my life who appear that they can do everything and still function. And if you are one of those people, well, good for you. (Show-offs.) But this isn't me. It's not when I'm doing everything that I live up to to my true potential. My true potential only blossoms when I'm taking care of myself, and taking care of myself often entails a lot of letting go.
So my new years resolution includes crossing things off the list so that I can focus on the things that pertain to my simplest and deepest desires. This year, I'm freeing myself from my pressures to be a good cook (or just "a cook"), to be in great cardiovascular shape, to find the trendy NYC spots, to take an artistic class, to go vegan (or just vegetarian), and so on. I won't bore you with what I'm giving up...but there's a lot. As my mom often reminded her children, "stop should-ing on yourself." In sum, I'm letting go of what I think I "should be" doing.
And let me tell you, there is freedom in giving stuff up.