I got caught up today in my own thinking to the point of driving myself close to the edge. In fact, I think I was teetering off the cliff’s edge when I finally jerked myself back and put it in perspective.
Jon took the kids up to his folks for the day and I got to head south to Washington Courthouse for lunch at Bob Evans with my four best girlfriends from Cincinnati who I have known since first grade (one of them I met in high school but it feels like I have known her, too, since first grade). My thoughts during the entire trip south were “what more I can do.”
What more can I do at work?
What more can I do for my organizations where I sit on the board?
What more can I do for mothers who are in need of support after having a baby?
What more can I do for men and women who face a scary world after being incarcerated?
What more can I do for Maria and Mario?
And the list continues and continues and continues….
The same thoughts swirled through my head on the way home from the lunch and throughout the afternoon as I waited for the kids and Jon to arrive home. I researched grant opportunities for my organizations; I read about ideas for assisting new moms; I learned about programs to help men and women released from jail.
And then I sat.
And I sat.
Then I walked through the neighborhood.
I become so overwhelmed with all of the ideas of what I could do to make this world better, and then I get irritated because I never act on them. I shouldn’t say never. I forward grants of interest to colleagues and my organizations. I contact individuals about causes I believe in and try to make them more aware. I educate Maria and Mario about giving back. But, I feel like I do nothing because I want to do something BIG and HUGE and AMAZING and WIDESPREAD. But how can I do that when I cannot even concentrate my energies on one cause? And when I do concentrate on one cause, I still want to do something BIG and HUGE and AMAZING and WIDESPREAD so I have no interest in the little steps that may be necessary prior to such doing.
As I walked home this afternoon, I thought about why I was hard on myself. Why couldn’t I pat myself on the back for taking care of two kids, working full-time, serving as president of one organization and chairperson of another, keeping in touch with friends, loving my husband…? Why did I feel like everything I did had to be a little more?
I have an all-or-nothing mentality in every aspect of my life. If I workout in the morning, I am good about what I eat throughout the day. If I don’t workout, I eat candy and junk all day long. If I workout, I do it intensely with a hard run and heavy weights. If I don’t workout, I lay around all day. If I get a project at work, I put all my energies in it. If I am not the lead on a project, I ignore it.
So, I understand that this personality disorder rears its ugly face in all aspects of my life. I know I need to continue to work on it while not losing sight of all of the causes that I am passionate about and want to advocate in the community. It is difficult. I want to do so much, so fast.
I read in a book a few months ago that up to age 35 or 40, it is mostly ego. You want the good job, the house, the nice clothes. Then, all of a sudden your priorities change and you start to question what this life is about. You want to have a purpose. You want to feel like you have added something of value to this Earth. Jon always laughs at me “Look at everything you do for people, look at your happy kids, look at what you sacrifice for your friends and family, look at the boards that you are on in the community.” That is wonderful and good.
But, clearly, I believe there is something more for me out there or I would not be struggling so hard. I may need to calm my all-or-nothing attitude to some extent, but that does not mean I need to calm my quest to do more.
2 thoughts on “What more can I do?”
Welcome to the border of 40, where perspective do begin to shift as you realize the reality of your mortality. The all or nothing approach is really ego, too, I realized sometime ago. “I can save the world.”
Do what you can, where you can, and you’ll do more than most. Which you do, as Jon rightly said. Cathedrals are built stone by stone.
Thanks for the thoughtful and understanding words. I hope you and Margie and Dagmawit are enjoying a fabulous week. Maria and I are heading to the OSU Women’s Basketball game tonight for a charity outing. Should be fun. Give the two gals kisses from us!