More Than Enough

Last weekend was the $10 bag book sale at our local library and we made out like bandits.  In the mad rush of fellow bibliophiles grabbing titles off the shelves and shoving them into bulging bags, I snagged a copy of Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.  I started the book Saturday afternoon and finished it Sunday evening.  Needless To Say, I’d highly recommend it.

In the same vein as some of my other favorite books, Necessary Endings and Essentialism, Shauna provides a raw view of her journey from busyness addiction to whole self healing.  There were plenty of chuckles along the way and I interrupted my husband’s reading at least a half dozen times to share a particularly poignant passage.

What really struck me about this book; however, wasn’t the funny anecdotes or deep wisdom.  As I read Shauna’s story of hustling to the point of exhaustion, I saw myself–but not my current self.  I saw my high school self and my college self before senior year. After three years of literally running from classes to meetings to events, I knew exactly how far I could push myself and what I was able to accomplish.  In my last year of college, I wanted to find out how little I could do and still be a productive, well-rounded, grounded, contributing, and happy soul. I hunkered down in my underground single dorm room, went to bed at 10 pm and exercised as much as I wanted to.  I still do that and it’s wonderful.

Not to say that there aren’t days when I let the lust of others’ affirmation and the pride of being a do-it-all direct my steps and steal my joy.  But those days are few and far between nowadays. Just the other day, Luke and I looked at each other and realized: we have more than enough time. How crazy is that?  Each day feels sufficient for the work, play, walks, reading, and reflection that we desire and there’s often time left over to let the mind wander.

After watching this Ted Talk with Laura Vanderkam about time management, I made a personal vow to never say “I don’t have time for X” when I really mean “I am not prioritizing X right now.”  It’s forced me to be more truthful with myself and others. We always have time for what we prioritize, irregardless of whether our priorities are aligned with our long-term goals and happiness.

Necessary Endings: 5 Ways to Clean Up Your Life

As I eagerly await the beginning of a new semester and school year (t-minus 1.5 hours!), I am thankful for the quiet time to metabolize the experiences of my summer with the intent of building upon those bits of life learning gained throughout this next year.

In June, I read a book called Necessary Endings. The book lays out and expounds on some basic principles:

1) Things end.

“…endings are a part of life. they are woven into the fabric of life itself, both when it goes well and also when it doesn’t.” pg. 6
2) Endings are natural and needed and should be made normalized.

“Just time and activity alone brings more relationships and activities than you have time to service.” pg. 47

3) It’s easy to get stuck BUT pruning leads to thriving.

“But sometimes people get stuck in a type of misery in which they are prone more to inaction than action.” pg. 58

4) A lack of action is a decision.

“Time is working either for your or against you in terms of your needed ending. If you are stalling or waiting, then you are tacitly agreeing to more of what you already have or worse.” pg. 150

5) You attract what you are.

“The clearer and kinder you are in your communication of endings and bad news to people, the better the people you will find yourself surrounded by in life and work.” pg. 209

BONUS: Metabolize experiences and create closure for what you leave behind.

“Keep what is usable to you, and eliminate what is not…The pain, the bitterness, the feelings of failure, the loss and grief, and the resentment all need to be eliminated and left behind. But left behind consciously as opposed to just denied and forgotten.” pg. 217

If my rough summary and out-of-context quotes left you wanting more, I highly suggest you find a copy of the book and read it. It has revolutionized my perspective on senior year, my e-mail inbox, my schedule, and my closet.