When frustrations rise…

I was anxious and nervous about returning to my seemingly never-ending journey in the pursuit of finishing my Bachelor’s degree this September. I was not sure what it was. It had been roughly 18 months since I had actively studied academically and I was struggling to wrap my mind around keeping up with everything.

If you asked me this week if I was “keeping up with everything,” the resounding answer would be a maniacal laugh and the crass “Hell no!” That is the truth. Today, I am not even sure how anyone thinks that I have it all together. Yet, that is a common thought among friends. “How do you do it all?”

Confession #1

The truth be told, I don’t always do it all.

Case in point, yesterday Lance turned 17 years old. Traditionally the kids get whatever they want for dinner and a cake made by mom. Lance left for school thinking that he’d get lasagna. What he got instead was pizza delivered and a store-bought cake from Walmart.

He almost didn’t get that cake. I was at the cash register about to pay. The guy had like 5 items left to ring up. It was there at that moment that I remembered the very thing that I came in for – the birthday cake. I went in for the supplies to make lasagna, a small cake, and ice cream. And there I was at the register remembering the cake. I quickly checkout and then immediately went to the cake counter and found a small chocolate cake. And checked out a second time with the cake.

Crisis averted!

Until I got home and was standing there gathering all the supplies to actually make the lasagna sauce in one place and realized that I forgot the Italian sausage. Fortunately, Kyle works past the Walmart and could stop on his way home from work. I send him a text with a list. He agreed. Fast forward to about the time that Kyle is getting off work and this “list” has grown a few items and increased in quantities on others. An additional $35 in groceries that I forgot.

Confession #2

Today, I am grateful for children that can help take care of some of the things that I sometimes drop the ball on.

Last night, I made the lasagna sauce so that it was ready to go today. We agreed that we’d celebrate with Andrew tonight. Kate came along too.

I was not going to drop the ball today, but this morning, I was not certain that’d I’d be able to get through it all. I was so stressed out and frustrated with school work that I was letting it disorient my mostly level brain. Some think I’m crazy sometimes. It may not be far from the truth when I have weeks like the last three weeks. The frustrations rise. The stress rises. The crazy starts to come out because I start to get angry, irritated, and frankly annoyed, and not so nice about things.

There is always a chance to do better

This morning, however, I was determined to break the cycle one way or another. The homework would get finished. The group project would get done. The alterations would be completed. The cake would be made from scratch. The lasagna would be made en mass. The garlic toast would not get burned. And, I would even make myself something to eat. I would do it all.

Except, the truth is, I did not…

See, what people think is that everything gets done because they don’t know what all was left undone.

Today, I did not shower. I did not even comb or brush my hair. I did not step outside and walk through my garden. I did not eat lunch because I did not eat breakfast until noon. I did not finish all of the alterations that are lined up on my sewing table. Today, I did not finish the group project or the last of the homework for the week. Today, I did not do it all.

You are you, measure yourself by you

I write about this because we tend to judge ourselves by others’ successes, but we fail to see the failures. I want you to know that my successes are accompanied by just as many failures or shortcomings. The difference is that I have spent a couple of years focusing on the things that I do accomplish when I get down about all the things that I don’t get done. See, I am not perfect and I find myself doing the same thing and I just can’t see how I can do even more than I am already doing.

Here is the trick…

I have learned to let go and walk away for a little while if I need to. Sometimes it takes me a little while to recognize that I need to do this, but when I do, I can step back and recognize my own successes and focus less on the things that I still have to do and that will be considered failures until they are done or no longer important.

I have learned to prioritize certain things. Yes, I make lengthy to-do lists sometimes. Yes, I check the small tasks off because they matter. Yes, I sometimes need a minute to just not think about the struggles, the frustrations, and the annoyances.

I have learned that even though I make a plan for the week on the various things I need to get done or when I want to get them done, it does not always work out like that. Sometimes, things can and do wait a little bit longer than expected and I have come to accept that as okay.

I have learned that sometimes just doing something right then is easier in the long run than procrastinating because I am tired, I don’t feel good, or I simply don’t want to do it.

It doesn’t mean that I am perfect. Far from it, but today I made a dent in my list and managed to bring down my stress level back to a point where I could cope with it better. I am happier. I am more energized about finishing work that I have put off two days past when I planned it.

The successes

I think about how long my list was and how many changes were made to it and I have to remind myself that it is okay. Today I did okay when measured against myself. Not by someone else, but by me.

  • Today, three more assignments were finished and turned in. They may not have been perfect, but they were done. Yes, I still worry about one, but I have decided that it is out of my hands today because I need it to be good enough.
  • I finished an alteration that I had been putting off because the required return date is still 2 weeks away. Today it is done. This weekend it will be picked up. And today, it felt good.
  • I assembled six 8″x8″ lasagnas – two for dinner and four for the freezer. I have enough sauce for 1-2 more, but I ran out of Italian sausage and need to get some more.
  • I baked a two-layer chocolate cake from scratch and the chocolate cream cheese icing to go on it. I even iced it and made it look as good as it tasted.
  • I picked a random Fetuccine Alfredo recipe to make to combine with Chicken Meatballs that I pulled out of the freezer for myself. These were made from scratch by me a month ago. Tonight I got to enjoy something to help offset the frustration that I was making one of my favorite foods and I could not eat it.
  • I spoke with one of my group members for the project that is due tomorrow. It was a great Zoom meeting and while we did not get things finished and turned in, we calmed each other’s stresses on the assignment.
  • I helped my daughter-in-law with her sewing machine. I ended up having to send her home with one of my student machines so that I can look at the machine in more detail this weekend after I finish all my other work. But, I had one to send her home with that won’t interfere with my ability to do my sewing work.
  • I met my sister, Ann, 30-minute away as they stopped at a Bu-cee’s to get gas. She forgot to take my gift to my niece, Brianna, after the wedding. She and her husband, Dan, were driving back from picking up a large propane tank in Oklahoma. It was a quick visit, but I made it.
  • I did a load of bedding that I pulled off the guest bed in anticipation that I’d have Ann and Dan staying overnight the night before. They decided to drive straight through to their destination.
  • I loaded the dishwasher twice. I am grateful for my husband that unloaded it in between.
  • I even got a chance to sit down and look at the Meal Planning Magazine that I bought on Thursday morning.

Unwind and try again

No, I didn’t get it all done today. I got a lot done today.

Tomorrow, I won’t get it all done. Tomorrow, I will get a lot done.

Today, I was reminded that taking a little time away from the things that make those frustrations rise and the stress increase can improve our demeanor and outlook on things. Those little things that we do just because we enjoy them, mean a lot too. The baking. The sewing. The quick stroll through the garden. Those things are an escape for me. They bring me back down to level again.

Remember to always find level. If you do that, you will look like you have it all together.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.