NOTE: Welcome back to MML! I’ve definitely needed the time I’ve taken off to recharge and prepare for 2011. I have some housekeeping to do here a bit later on over the next week. In the meantime, I’d like to jump right into one of the best lessons I’ve learned over this holiday break. Enjoy!
On December 28th at 6:18PM I sat on the Orange Line train at Midway waiting to return home after a trip to see my family in Pennsylvania. Due to the snow storm that hit the east coast over Christmas, flights were delayed and my entire trip (with a layover in Minneapolis) lasted about 10 hours.
As I sat in the train I had a mini-breakdown. Immediately after landing in Chicago there was a daunting list of things to do over the next six days.
- I had to go home that night and eat dinner with my boyfriend, Mr. Lively.
- I had to unpack and clean my apartment.
- I had to prepare for my best friend and her boyfriend to stay with me for a few days – they were arriving the following afternoon.
- I had to go for a run before my friends arrived.
- I had to entertain and hang out with my friend and her boyfriend for several days.
- I had to go to a Black Keys concert as a Christmas present on Thursday night.
- I had to get ready for New Years Eve and go to a nice dinner at a friend’s house.
- I had to clean my apartment after my friends left.
I felt overwhelmed, tired, and dismayed at the mountain of tasks that needed to be done. To be honest, I practically had tears in my eyes.
Eventually, I started to reflect on the to-do list that scared me so much. Everything on the list was something I had been excited about for weeks. In a matter of hours I had turned everything I wanted to do over my holiday break into a set of tasks that needed to be managed, controlled, and completed. At no point on that train was I recognizing how incredibly fun each item on its own would be. I wanted to eat dinner with Mr. Lively. I wanted to have my friends visit for a few days. I wanted to see the Black Keys in concert. I wanted to clean my apartment, run, and celebrate NYE with friends.
I had taken everything that I wanted to do and turned them into things I had to do. I had turned fun into work.
At that point, I managed to take a step back and recognize how fortunate I was that Mr. Lively was picking up dinner for me. I also asked my friends to arrive a few hours later to give myself more time to prepare for their visit. And I started to reconnect with how grateful I was for the amazing holiday break.
I’d like to say that this is the only time that I’ve ever taken my “want tos” and turned them into a huge list of “have tos.” But that is not the case. I think there is a good chance that we all may live much of our lives swapping “want” for “have” in our vocabulary and attitudes. Perhaps by taking a step back and looking at our perspective a bit more we might be able to restore many of our “obligations” back to what they were in the first place: fun.
Free Desktop Wallpaper
The wonderful Kendi has inspired me to do a series of desktop wallpapers for MML. This month’s wallpaper is the graphic above (Don’t Turn Your Want Tos into Have Tos) – a great reminder was we start a new year with fresh intentions.
You can download the full desktop size image here.