Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Yeah, but....

....one of the short term individuals who crashed here for a few weeks in September was a former student who was in between housing and had no other options. He had just gotten out of a relationship and as the housing/rental market in Portland has gotten tighter, it was taking him a bit to find something worthwhile in his budget. During his time here we had several "deep" conversations, but one of the lessons he imparted onto me was that of the "Yea, but...." clause. His ex-girlfriend was one who apparently operated under the "Yea, but..." frame of mind....there was always an excuse, always an exception, etc.

Somehow today it dawned on me that as much as I tend to be a "stop and smell the roses" type of person...I also take the "yea, but..." mentality to a whole.new.level. Basically, I am my own worst critique and my expectations are always aiming to be higher. I also tend to hope or expect that others in my life will operate "up to my standards," and this can create a whole realm of other issues :)

There tends to be a thin line at times between not doing enough and on the other side, doing and expecting way too much. I feel incredibly fortunate that just when I tend to over-push or exhaust myself...something or someone tends to come along that nips me back into a gentler frame of mind.

I've had people in the past ask me what I'm striving for. The truth is that I aim to strive. Striving is part of what makes me who I am. I like to push myself outside my comfort zone in some ways, I like to run that extra mile a lot of the time, I'm constantly working on being a better, stronger version of myself. That doesn't mean that I'm dissatisfied. It just means that I prefer to be working toward something rather than not heading in any particular direction. I want to soak up moments of life (even though frequently I need to remind myself to truly SOAK it in...).

Today reminds me of the balance that must exist however. Yesterday I was so stoked at my level of productivity. I woke up after a solid sleep. I finished grading everything for one institution, had a solid lunch and made time to catch up with my housemate who had just returned from a weekend away, I spent the next four hours prepping for today's lecture, then took the dogs on a 2.5 mile jog (finishing off our mileage goal for the month), all before cleaning out the gutters, picking up the yard, showering, eating a solid dinner, and then allowing myself time to read until later in the evening for fun (although always work related). Ironically, as happy as I was at yesterday's productivity, today I woke up tired, drained, feeling like my lecture didn't go as planned, wanting to use my in-between hours to work but instead taking a nap, worrying about how quickly I can make financial goals, etc....and that's when the notion of the "Yea, but...." came to me and how much I need to work on loosening up and reframing.

I had a GREAT day yesterday...yea, but now today's exhaustion is frustrating. (Not every day is going to feel like a million bucks.)
I spent solid hours prepping....but felt like the students weren't as satisfied. (Not every lecture is going to feel like I nailed it. The students still learned.)
My finances aren't where I want them. (I still paid off a pretty decent chunk of money in the two months of these contracts. The debt WILL disappear, be patient.)

Instead of "Yea, but.."ing about how things should be or could be better, I would be a whole lot better off if I would continue to focus on granting grace. Allowing for "off" days, rest days, and recognizing the work and strides that actually have occurred.

So here's to continuing to straddle that thin line, but doing so in a better frame of mind.


  1. I was nodding my head as I was reading this post and I'm older than you and should have learned by now. The good day followed by an off day happens so often. I think its because I set myself unsustainable targets and I can keep going for so long and then I flop - still not sure though whether this is just the way I am and to live with it or to set my sights slightly lower, build in a little down time and perhaps continue for longer.
    I was reading an article about work habits and targets, that they should be "sane, humane and sustainable", seems a good thing to aim for.

  2. I struggle with establishing balance in my life as well. I have gotten to the point where I am not striving as much in my career, though. That's not to say that I'm not working hard, because I am. I just don't really want to move up any higher any time soon as I don't want or need anymore licenses or schooling, which is nice because for a while it seemed like I was always chasing some big career-related accomplishment. I think I'm at a point that where I am at in my career is 'enough' for me. I have a hard time even writing that because it sounds like I am settling or being lazy! See, that just illustrates my unhealthy relationship with the word enough. This seeps into other areas of my life. I constantly question if I am exercising enough, eating healthy enough, spending enough time with family and friends, and the list goes on and on. I actually have a half written post about this very idea!