A little snow can be fun, but a lot of snow can be dangerous

Whenever a situation is not too my liking, my brain often flashes back to a completely different time. Things moving too slow? I’ll daydream about an exciting whirlwind time in my life. Things seeming too hectic and can’t slow down? I’ll reminisce about a relaxing vacation where I somehow managed to turn my cell phone off.

As I write this, it is 101 degrees outside. No, I’m not exaggerating, I just looked it up. I’m craving chilly mountain air instead of this unforgiving desert sun. If there was snow, I would stick my face in right now. Enough with the snowcones, bring on the hot cocoa weather already!

There’s a photo on my desk of my boyfriend and his son playing in the snow last December. The scorching heat outside of my office makes this day feel like ages ago, but my mind takes me back to frolicking through snowy fields and snowflakes on my eyelashes. I’m pretty sure that all kids love snow, but kids who live somewhere where it doesn’t snow often and doesn’t manage to stick for long seem to love it the most.

As we were walking to the park for a snowball fight, my boyfriend’s little boy looked up at me and said, “you know, a thing I learned is that a little snow can be fun, but a lot of snow can be dangerous.”

At first, this struck me as an odd thing to say. There was so much snow here all winter long, and it was still fun and not dangerous at all. He went on to tell me all of the things that he had been learning at school about weather, specifically about blizzards and avalanches.

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking about all of the tasks that I take on. Owning a house, cooking dinner every night, a full time job, nonprofit board positions, running for the board of my Home Owner’s Association, yoga, contributing to political campaigns, side projects at work, volunteer projects, taking care of two dogs, going to the gym, family time, tackling my to be read list, fostering friendships, professional development…oof! The list really does go on and on. The problem is that I really, truly enjoy doing all of these things. I never have a moment where I wish that I didn’t have so many commitments, I just wish that I had more time.

But I don’t. And I never will. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year. I don’t have any more or any less time than anyone else out there, and that is a fact that is simply never going to change.

A little snow can be fun, but a lot of snow can be dangerous.

I can do a lot, but I can’t do it all. Sure, I may be really great at some of these tasks that I take on, but does it always have to be me?

I have two huge problems when it comes to time management and stress management. Delegating and saying no. It’s not that I am a control freak, I just have serious fear of missing out. But no matter how hard I try to balance it all, it always ends up snowballing when I least expect it. How many avalanches can one girl take?

A little snow can be fun, but a lot of snow can be dangerous.

Such wise words from such a young person.

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So I am trying. I narrowed down a list of causes that I am really passionate about, hobbies that I truly love, and things that I really must do. Everything else, I bowed out. When I see others who care about those things, I use my networking abilities to help make those connections. By showing others how to get involved, I have more time to devote to keeping my sanity.

I’m trying to wait longer before saying yes. This is hard for me because I am such an enthusiastic person. But I am learning to say “let me get back to you” and “let me see what my schedule looks like” before committing myself to anything. It’s really helped. Glancing at a visual of my commitments and telling myself that I cannot do more than what will fit into the boxes on my planner has worked wonders for me. It’s so easy now to say “I literally cannot fit that in.”

Lastly, I’ve stopped giving excuses. I used to always revert back to, “I don’t have the time” or “I’m not sure if I am the right person for that job” and every single time I would get wrapped up into doing the thing I was trying so hard to not commit myself to. People are always quick to respond with “aren’t we all?” or “it won’t take very long” or “oh you’ll be so great for this” without realizing the damage that they are causing. People who don’t suffer from Over Committal Syndrome or People Pleasing-itis (both things that I completely just made up, no need to WebMD the symptoms…I’m sure you know someone with these conditions) don’t see how hard it was for someone to muster the strength to say “no” in the first place. But too much snow can be dangerous, and I know that now. So when I say “thank you, but I can’t…thank you for thinking to ask me”, that’s it. No reason, no excuses. And if they ask why I just say “I can’t at this time, maybe in the future I can do this”.

Looking at this picture on my desk has reminded me to recommit myself to these three practices. I want to make people happy, but I have to start with me. I want to do all of the things, but I need to be able to do them well…and that requires time to rest. Memory lane sure has been a necessary trip for me this afternoon.

Perhaps we all have something to learn from the little people in our lives. So pay attention. You’ll never know what childlike wisdom you really need to hear.

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