with equal parts compassion & hilarity

Hi, my name is Alexis and I choose to not try to do it all.

Around this time last year, John and I sifted through all the wedding and event invitations, vacation plans, and day trips that had come our way. We were trying to decide whether or not to attend a wedding cross country that fell a little too close to other already solidified vacation plans. I remember saying,

“Honestly, John, I don’t think we can afford it and I don’t think we can go.”

Now, as I’m reflecting on that sentence, I realize it’s not entirely accurate. We could have afforded to go. We could have chosen to put money that was intended for our savings towards the trip. We could have chosen to go. It’s pretty powerful to replace can’t/can with choose not/choose to, huh?

 “Honestly, John, I don’t think we should choose to afford it and I don’t think we should choose to go.”

After praying and discussing we ultimately ended up not going for a lot of different reasons. But, if we had, we would have had to postpone our savings, go negative into our PTO, and we would have been completely exhausted trying to rally for our already planned vacation.

I’m not saying that I advocate to constantly avoid RSVPing “YES”, but sometimes I do need to intentionally respond “NO” – even to something that is very good.

I’ve found that this practice is rooted in priority. A great example that highlights the need to prioritize is Minnesota summers. Summer in Minnesota is especially short and if you live in Minnesota, then you know how busy schedules can become. There are only 12 weekends to get married, go to the lake, take a family vacation, fish, camp, hike, host a family reunion, visit dear friends, remodel the bathroom, build a deck, cut down dying trees, and have bonfires. 

Essentially, there are only 12 weekends to cram 36 weekends worth of activities into. And, I’m sorry, did you say that you wanted to sleep too? Well, you can’t. There simply are not enough hours to “do all the things”, keep up with the Joneses at the end of the block, and also live your regular, ordinary life.

You physically cannot do it all. So, why are you trying to? 

I realize that might be shocking to some of you, but I care more about the truth of this message than how softly it’s given. It reminds me of swearing, actually. If I’m being honest, I legitimately felt like I cursed when I typed that line, “You physically cannot do it all. So, why are you trying to?“

It feels like a massively taboo stance to take in this vast land of 10,000 lakes where inhabitants embody ‘Minnesota Nice’ which, in actuality, is passive aggression boiling under the surface. Do you feel that on a soul level? Can I get a praise hand emoji?

In a counseling session a while back, my counselor asked if I would listen to talk relevant to our work. She first prefaced it by warning me that the speaker swore quite a bit, which she didn’t necessarily enjoy, but she found it helpful in that it was just shocking enough to make her patients pay attention and listen more closely. Like swearing, this sentence is intended to be jarring and wake you up a little bit:

You physically cannot do it all. So, why are you trying to? 

I’ve seen too many friends wracked with anxiety as they’re unable to get a quick work out in and eat nourishing food or as they leave town for the 7th weekend in a row or double book themselves or have to cancel on me because they said yes to another work project and they’re on a deadline. 

I was a little bit like that in college – running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make rent by working three jobs, make my grades, make friends through different campus groups, and make the the “B” boat for rowing by practicing 2 hours a day 6 days a week. It was not sustainable and I was *always* exhausted by the end of the week.

You physically cannot do it all. So, why are you trying to? 

In the same way that shock is a useful tool in this evaluation, so is compassion. Compassion helps me say, “Hi, my name is Alexis and I am human. I am limited in my capability, finite in my energy, and my body requires recovery time. I will choose to not try to do it all.”

Furthermore, I also don’t think we need to feel bad or guilty about not being able to afford a third cross country trip in the brief 12-weekend respite summer provides. And, we even have the power to choose not to deeply guilt ourselves for not keeping up with the false picture of perfection we have in our minds.

Now that we know we can’t do it all and that it is okay, we can focus on what we are choosing!


Practice

Say it with me: 

+ Hi, my name is ____________ and I am human. I am limited in my capability, finite in my energy, and my body requires recovery time. I will choose to not try to do it all.

+ I’m choosing to say no to stretching my wallet and limited energy to travel to this cross country wedding so that I can choose a weekend at home with my people relaxing and stargazing. 

+ I’m choosing to say no to doing “all the things” so that I can choose to honor my priority of a manageable schedule. 

+ I’m choosing to say no to attending every event I’m invited to so that I can choose to fully be present and invested in the events I RSVP “YES” to.

+ I’m choosing to say no to another drink in order to go to bed early so that I can choose to be alert, fully rested, and strong for what tomorrow will bring.

+ I’m choosing to feel okay about my choice.


What would you like to start choosing?


Self-Talk Help

If you find yourself in a similar situation where you keep saying “I can’t” or “I have to”, you might need to do a self-talk check-in. I created a resource just for that. The 60 Second Self-Talk Check-In is all yours when you subscribe to my email list

It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a step-by-step guide designed to help you figure out if you’re lying to yourself or not. It probably will still feel a bit disjointed at first, but my hope is that you use this guide to pause for 60 seconds, hold captive your thoughts, and speak good truth to yourself.

4 Responses to “Hi, my name is Alexis and I choose to not try to do it all.”

  1. Sonya fruen

    I am proud to know someone so well-spoken who is helping others to make good choices in their lives. I will enjoy all your writings.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Janet Crary

    I am excited to see all of your posts. You have written so beautifully and I am so proud you have made this choice. I wish I would have been so aware 40years ago. LOL 😆 Hi to John.
    Great aunt Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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