Too Many Obligations – So Little Time

“There is no question that people in the Western world can become consumed by work, travel, family and all kinds of demands and distractions. This is true for so many of us that we can often find ourselves unnecessarily irritable at the mention of another demand. Even when we plan to slow down, we can still become drawn into activities because we are habituated to doing so.” Science of Mind Magazine, May 2008 p.46

You know, I AM irritable these days.

Stress is one of those things that creeps-up on you little by little. At the time you join a new club or volunteer organization you have great intentions and your enthusiasm is high. You’re not thinking about how rushing to another meeting a few times a month will affect you. But, after adding layer upon layer of new responsibilities and commitments to our lives the pressure to meet them all puts a big squeeze on the time we have to just be.

When my Toastmasters group approached me to be the secretary I said no. We all have but 24 hours a day and just 7 days a week, so shouldn’t we be focusing on the pursuits that support the vision of our lives we’re working to create? Years ago I would have felt it impossible to say no to taking on the position of secretary, but not anymore.

This got me thinking about an aunt who always said, “Why not?” when asked by family to join them in an outing. She was always ready and willing to visit family, or when she was younger to entertain family in her home. She seemed to enjoy her life. Why is that? I think it was because she wasn’t so over committed and pressed for time that in between commitments all she wanted to do was be alone so she could decompress.

At times I don’t even want to answer the phone. I feel stretched too thin. Phone calls are stressful because in sales they’re never ending - plus many clients haven’t a clue of how that one last call at 9:30 pm could possibly push you over the edge. For parents it may be one more request by a child, or cleaning the counters of crumbs – again or finding dishes in the sink – again. In any case, downtime which is so underrated in our society is quite necessary and healthy. Without enough downtime I tend to go to the other extreme by pushing away all commitments even ones that might be fun.

That being said I’m thinking a lot more these days about the commitments I’ve taken on. Part of maturing is learning to say no. I think it’s healthy to disengage from activities that no longer contribute to creating the life you desire. Sometimes in order to ‘keep on keeping on’ we have to move on.

3 Responses to “Too Many Obligations – So Little Time”

  1. Vicki Pearson Says:

    I totally related to what you wrote. I love my life simple. All the years I raised my kids alone I felt like I was on a conveyor belt. There was never enough time to do the things that I wanted to do for me, like crafts, etc. I found myself learning to say “no”, which was difficult for me. After the kids grew-up, I finally had time for me and really tried to keep my life simple. I found I was happier and had a lot of peacefulness. Now I am living with my daughter to help care for her baby so she can work and I watch her in the same situation that I was in. She is now on the conveyor belt and and she has no time or money to do the things that feed her soul. My life is no longer as simple as it was and I miss that. I personally think that the elite/controllers of our world like keeping us busy and stressed, then they will know that we have no time to get into their business and understand what they are doing to our county and the world.

  2. steve Says:

    After spending a week in a small fishing village in Mexico, disconnected from email and depressing news, untethered by a cell phone and commitments, I could not agree more. We keep cranking up the tread mill, and adding to our load, not realizing life is passing us by.

  3. Vicki Sola' Says:

    Technology — so many of the devices that are supposed to enhance our lives — just complicate things and add stress, exponentially, often making me wish there 48 hours in a day (until I really stop to think about it, then I become horrified by that wish!)

    And, as Vicki writes, it’s true, we end up so wrapped up in everyday life — our own personal conveyor belts — that we lose sight of the bigger picture, and what’s critical, in terms of what’s actually happening in the world. (And the important things in our own smaller pictures — our relationships and other facets of our everyday lives. Things we take for granted until we lose them!)

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