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Bethany: Hi. I’m Bethany. I’m lowering the bar.

It’s my new mantra. Let’s hold hands, take deep breaths, and recite after me:

“I, [insert name here], am going to not push myself to the point of exhaustion.  I, [insert name here], am going to let others help me. I, [insert name here], am going to let the chips fall where they may AND stay focused on the long term goals.”

Really, it’s been a rough few weeks here.  If it wasn’t a sickness thing, it was work.  And if wasn’t work it was a family thing. Or an errand to run.  Or a work call to take. Seriously–does it ever end?

The short answer is no.   Life will keep throwing stuff over the fence at you all the time. It’s up to you whether to take it as it comes and go with the flow.  Or the alternative.  Which is stressing out and causing everyone around you to feel the pressure.

Naturally, I’m a perfectionist. I’m a Type-A (just like Miranda).  I want to do it all. Hell, I try to do it all. But these past few weeks, the plain truth is in front of me.  It. Is. Impossible.  Honestly. Take a look at yourself.  All that you want to do.  And that all that you can really get done?  Does it match? If you’re like me, you ask too much of yourself.

So this week–and hopefully more long term–I’m trying to be more honest with myself.  Take inventory. Look around. And see what is realistic.  And more HEALTHY in expectations. Can I not write this week?  Bummer.  But guess what?  I got to spend quality time with my family and friends without the guilt.

And I’d like to think a little less that the bar is lowering. It’s more about putting the bar at the level where it should be, and balancing on it the “right” way.  Anyone else care to join me?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I don’t know, Bethany. I guess it depends on your needs as a person. I feel a great sense of imbalance in my life right now. I miss my fiction. I need to get to work on it again. For me, “lowering the bar” means no hour blocks of time – maybe I might get a few sentences in per day – but just to give it up… well, I’ve wasted enough time in my life, is how I feel. I am happiest and most at peace when writing and kids dovetail. So I guess my Shangri-la is to make that happen more often than it does now?

    March 20, 2008
  2. This is a really tough call. Yes, unrealistic expectations, pressure, and guilt can all blow up in your face. It’s important to be able to enjoy the moment, whatever it brings. But there has to be a safety net. Many of us have experienced how easy it is to slip in to a completely creativity-free stretch of time: days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and then–digging out feels like building a pyramid–by yourself.

    Some of us feel the clock ticking–and reminders of our mortality are hard to ignore. While none of us can say we know how much time we have left to enjoy the good Earth, most of this blog’s audience would probably say that they want to leave something behind–something in addition to their beautiful children. I’m proud of my children, but I don’t feel “authorship” of how they’re turning out. In the nature versus nurture question, I guess I’m not inclined to take much credit. I don’t see the kids as my “creations.”

    And I don’t want to wait until retirement to finish a novel and see it published. Yes, there will be days and weeks when I can’t bring my goals to fruition–but being creative is vitally important to my sense of self. I am never more aware of that fact than when I’m NOT being creative.

    That said, I’m going to use the last portion of nap time to work on my book.

    March 22, 2008

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