Today (or rather, the day I wrote this :)) is the day after Labor Day. The official first day of fall in my book. It’s the day kids go back to school, and even those of us not on that calendar seem to fall back into more established and regimented routines after the relaxed summer months.
I love routine, goals and rituals, so I love this changing of the season. I had been planning for weeks all the new and fun things I would make a part of my new fall routine:
- I was going to get up early, put on the cute outfit I chose the night before, and make breakfast at home each morning.
- I was going to pick up a pumpkin spice latte to celebrate the new season.
- After checking everything off on my work to do list, I was going to be able to leave work early (since I arrived early) and have time to workout and cook a Pinterest-inspired dinner.
- I was going to have time daily to blog and spend time in the Word.
And today, I was going to accomplish all of this before 6:45 PM when our small group friends would arrive at our house.
Well, then I woke up an hour late.
- No homemade breakfast, just a cold pop tart at my desk.
- No pumpkin spice latte, because everyone else wants one and the line is around the block and I’m late already.
- Worked hard, but there’s still items on my work to do list.
- No working out, devos or blog time because I didn’t get to work early and therefore would have to drive home through rush hour and rush to make dinner, so we could eat and clean up before people started to arrive.
As I was sitting at the gas station waiting for the tank to fill (I also forgot I was on E, and therefore would be later to work), my mind was racing trying to figure out how to redeem the day and fit the most things in with less time.
Anxiousness was rising in my stomach, and instead of pushing it down, I slowed my mind, and asked the simple question, why?
Why do I need to workout tonight? Why do I need to make a fancy dinner? Why do I need a pumpkin spice latte? Why do I need to cram more into my days?
The reasons were lame or nonexistent. My life wouldn’t end if I didn’t do one of these things tonight. In fact, I realized by cramming them in I wouldn’t actually enjoy any of them and wasn’t that the reason I was setting these routines? To be happy and healthier?
I realized the only way to redeem the day was not to frantically try to catch up, but to stop and be present. To take the moment I’m in and fully live it, not worrying about what comes next or what might not fit. To have a blank canvas with nothing that needs to be on it.
I realized the best way to make the most out of each day is to focus on quality, not quantity. It’s not about fitting the most, but experiencing the most. As much as I want to change things, there are only so many hours in the day and I have limitations in what I can do with that time.
There’s always going to be things you need to do. That’s the sad reality of being a responsible adult. But I find that I often only need to do 2 of the 10 things I think I need to do.
- I need to work 8 hours.
- I need to eat and have the house and my mind ready by 6:45 PM for small group.
That’s really it. I realize I have so much more time when that’s all that’s on the docket and that brings so much more peace. If I accomplish those two things I’m good. That means everything above and beyond that, I get to do.
If I workout tonight, it’s not because I had to, it was because I had time to and that’s what I chose to do! There’s a lot of freedom and joy in that. A lot more than checking it off a list that reminds me of all the things I “failed” to do today.
I know it’s cliche, but it changes so much in my mind when I change my to do list from have to’s to get to’s.
What are the things you need to do today? Are any of them actually not necessary?
How will you redeem today by being present and looking at your tasks as get to’s?