Friday, October 4, 2013

A Wonderful Terrible Problem

Last year, I felt the pangs of an identity crisis as I shifted from the role I'd played for nearly three decades to one where home took center stage and work remained to be defined. The freedom was delicious, but scary, as was the sense of possibility tinged with uncertainty. I wandered down a number of roads, enjoying the journey, unsure of where each path would lead, but trusting that I was headed in the right direction.

This year, the road is taking me to new places, and I am once again trying to adjust so that I enjoy all aspects of the journey. As I looked around "center stage" yesterday afternoon, I realized it looked more like a rummage sale than a showplace, and I wondered when it had gotten this bad and -- perhaps more important -- when I was ever going to have time to effect a necessary change. I took a few baby steps and by the end of the night, some places looked better. Unfortunately, others looked worse, and I was left wondering how the road I had taken had still led me back to a place of incredible busyness.

Please understand -- I am not complaining. I love everything I am doing. I love my family. I love teaching at the college. I love writing. I just don't seem to have enough hours in the day to give them all the love and attention they need and deserve. It's a wonderful terrible problem to have.

And it's complicated by the fact that, aside from those three main things, there are many other things in my life I want to make room for. Friends & family who (luckily for them) don't live in my house. Church choir. Leisure reading. My Thirty-One business. A house that doesn't look like a rummage sale.

But the thing that's not complicated is that now, for the first time in a long time, my top priorities have taken center stage. (Sadly, my house is pretty far down the list....) This restructuring happened pretty quickly last year, mostly because I'd decided what my priorities would be when I walked away from a career that had spanned nearly three decades. So I know that now, it's just a matter of evening everything out.

Last night, things were admittedly bumpy. And many nights are, as I feel that no matter what I'm doing, I should be doing something else.

But now I have something I didn't have before -- a special kind of hindsight. After spending a year righting the life I'd turned topsy turvy, I know that the big picture is what matters. Day by day, things begin to fall into place (or get returned to their proper places). And though I may not see that bit-by-bit progress, I need to be patient and have faith that things will come together. Or, as I recently told a friend who's even more overbooked than I am, power forward -- and pray.

So that's what I'm going to do. I will check this blog off my list (two days late) and power forward into the weekend, seeking balance, and keeping the faith.

Wishing you the ability to do the same.


  1. As Yoda has said, "Do or Do Not, there is no Try." That is the hardest for any of us, especially when we have so many varied interests. I've often thought it would be much better to be able to do only one thing well, instead of many things OK. Being a "Renaissance" person isn't always the best, but it seems to be what we do.

  2. I can't imagine not teaching or not writing -- yet both require the same part of the brain and creative energy. Sometimes one feeds the other and other times, they conspire to suck me dry ;-) Not a bad way to spend a life, though. Thanks for reading, Joel!