Truths In An Overwhelming Life

Do any of these images represent how you feel today? Are mealtimes eaten at a table without connection where everyone is glued to their technology? Have you been on a plane to somewhere and wondering if you left something or someone behind or not done? Are you like this man who is overwhelmed by his work and doesn’t know what to do next? What about this couple above whose body language is speaking volumes?

Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What am I missing?” This is a huge generic question, but if you keep your eyes closed and wait there for even a few seconds you will hve your answer. What am I missing right now in my life?

Here are some common answers:

  1. I want some peace.
  2. I need some quiet.
  3. I yearn for a slower pace.
  4. I want to work less and enjoy life more.
  5. I really need a personal retreat of my own.
  6. I want to world to be a less violent continuous place.
  7. I want life and decisions to slow down; I can’t keep up.
  8. I need some balance between my professional life and my private life.
  9. I need a long, long vacation.
  10. I don’t know what I need, but I need something to CHANGE!

Yep, those are pretty typical of the answers I hear almost every day. The problem is we don’t know where to start. It is as if we are completely disconnected from our own bodies, mind, and heart. Do you agree?

Let me ask you:  Who is in charge of your life, or who or what is running your life today? When my husband and I were raising our children, he was ruled by his position and the constant travel of his job. Yes, he chose it, and he loved it. The rest of us, not so much. We rarely saw him in daylight hours. As a stay-at-home mom, our children, their school schedule, and other activities ruled every moment of my day, and when they were in school, my duties as a wife and mother and wearing the pants in the family took all of the time left between 8 am and 3 pm. I never had trouble falling asleep because when the kids went to bed, so did I, and I was utterly spent.

This may not be your scenario, but it may be similar. So who or what is running your life? 

Since COVID, we have a new word in our lives: “The New Normal.” I don’t know about you, but I do not like the “New Normal.” Let’s look at some ways we can adapt our own “Normal Lifestyle.”

Let’s begin here:

  1. What is the most important thing you want to do today? Juliet Funt says this in her book: “A Minute to Think” – When you take all the “norms” that exist and put them together, that’s your culture. Norms around communication, urgency, time off, meetings, email, etc. have their own “norms.” If we want to create a new normal, we have to want to set boundaries around what we want.
  2. Create your own “White Space.” This means taking your calendar and blocking off sections of time for YOU.
  3. Every Labor Day in our household, we gathered around our family table with colored Post-it notes and had a family meeting before the school year started. Each family member wrote one thing they wanted if they achieved their academic goals for each quarter in school. Then they wrote down the reward they thought they should receive for achieving said goal. We took the school calendar and blocked off the holidays and time off, teacher in-service days, church, and so on. We blocked off big family occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and vacation trips, and that left white space on the family calendar. These became our own family, “Do Not Touch Days.” Conferences, work travel, and other important things were worked around our family days. Yes, there were times when being out of town was necessary, but sometimes you might go to a conference one year and not the next. [If you’d like to know more about how we did this family meeting, email me at the address below.]
  4. My husband and I took a “Married Vacation” once a year, just us two since our youngest child was 2. This was a sacred no-touch week on our calendar. We left all business, contacting us, and emails and phones off. My parents came and stayed with the kids and knew how to secretly contact us if there was a dire problem and 911 couldn’t help. Do you know in our first 20 years of marriage, we never received a dire call for help?
  5. Next time you feel like you just need some breathing room, stop and take a moment to think about who or what just “Stole Time” from you. Make a decision to stop that intrusion even if you initiated it.

At the very end of her book, Funt quotes some very standard regrets of dying people in our society today.

  1. I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3.  I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
  6. And I’d add this one; I wish I had told those I care about “I Love You” more.

So, What’s Your Truth Today?

My name is Janice Bastani. I am a certified coach, mentor, trainer, speaker, and published author since 2003. My joy is to help others work through their challenges and realize their dreams. If you are looking for a partner to walk beside you, please contact me.