It took me a while, but I eventually grasped the concept of expending energy judiciously. I have always tended to be a go person. I go and do, as efficiently as I can. I think part of this has to do with the fact that I know that if I’m not staying productive, then I tend to be impressively unproductive. So I kind of beat myself to the punch by just already being in go mode. Perhaps it’s a learned coping mechanism. Heaviness of heart was an all-the-time thing when I was growing up even though I wanted to shake it. Now I can see that depression and anxiety were both forces (both internal and external) that I was up against from a very young age, and I kind of instinctively figured out how to preempt it as much as I really could. Purposeful activity is an effective tool to fight these kinds of things in life because it gets your mind off the stuff you’d rather not think about and focuses your attention on something meaningful. It’s a channeling of our energy. (Of course, avoidance and denial and just plain ignorance only gets you so far, and eventually we do have to face the root causes of our depression and anxiety (for example) if we want to break completely free from it, which we can do and we will do if we keep walking this road of self-awareness, self-betterment, tough choices, and surrender.)
But (back to the idea of channeling our energy) if we aren’t paying attention enough to the way we steer our energy, we may find that we are being pulled in too many directions. It doesn’t help us feel better to be over-extended, over-committed, or over-exhausted for the long-term. We have to be selective. Once we have children, this life principle has never been more important to our health and well-being. For some of us, our children are our excuse to stay up to our eyeballs in stress and busy-ness. But for others of us, we decided that we don’t want to stay like that because we are, frankly, tired of the stress and busy-ness and we have come to admit that all the stress and busy-ness really takes us nowhere except into the abyss of distraction. Which is pointless.
So we have to make choices. We can’t do everything no matter how much we wish that we could. We can’t be the superwoman (or superman) that we envisioned us being. It’s just not feasible. Not if we want to finish this race well. Not if we want to continue to do all of this for our children and our family and not just for ourselves. Yes, we have to do it for us, too (like, because it’s the right thing to do and because we’ve found a way to like it and enjoy it and take pride in it). But we don’t do all of this for credit or recognition or accolades. We do it so that we can be proud of the job we have done. We do it so that our children can be glad that we are their parents (which doesn’t mean that we give in to them all the time so that they stay “happy” but that we are perpetually empathizing with them so that when things don’t go their way or when they can’t get their way or when we have to say no or when we have to otherwise be the parent, they know somewhere deep inside of them that we really and truly care about them and not just about how good we feel about ourselves for being “good” parents).