I’ve been thinking a lot about focus lately. I guess one does that when one’s life seems somewhat like a blur, or in my case, not so much that I am moving at a fast pace, but more my uncertainty of how many and which things to focus on. As my energy levels out to the half-century mark, taking a look at where I continue to expend it seems like a worthy exercise.
Those who are close to me know that I am a list-maker. It helps put my ever-analyzing, ever-questioning, ever-scheming mind to rest, as I make judgments on things to buy or chronologically order each of my tomorrows, etc. So today, as I wrestled with this problem of this life-in-dilution, I made a list all of the “beings” I am. Could there be something I cut from my life? How can I change or re-direct my personal phenology (in nature, the study of what happens, when and where) to, as Oprah Winfrey eludes, “have it all, just not all at once,”
I’m sure most people feel this tension, but for me it has always had a bit of a sting to it. Most of my female peers had their lives defined fairly readily out of the gate by either a job or children…and a few by children later in life. My lot of passions (creativity, contemplation, nature) fell in areas not whole-heartedly embraced or understood by the church, where I spent way too much time looking for validation. So I dabbled in all those passions to some degree but never fully…the list was too long and too diverse...and when you’re young, you always feel in a hurry.
And even though I have discovered God's validation, and that my heart’s desire is no further than my own backyard, the dream of doing a few things really well, even expertly, still haunts me on occasion. So, these are the 17 hats I wear, which sometimes dilute my life for good or bad (in no particular order):
- A Wife who knows a quality relationship takes quantity time
- A Gardener of Native Plants & Vegetables...for two landscapes
- A Friend to 5 or 6 local compadres', with whom I love & need to connect
- A Retreat Leader who needs to be thinking & planning 3 months ahead
- A Business Owner who needs to be marketing regularly
- A Naturalist who continually needs to be “in the field” learning more
- A Writer of fiction, poetry, 3 blogs, a daily journal and a website
- A Domestic Goddess of 2 houses, one that must be ready at all time for patrons
- An Aunt who should do more
- A Mentor to several 'tweens in the neighborhood Kid's Club
- A Contemplative, who needs time to reflect, read, commune with God
- A Designer who needs some creative downtime...and rarely gets it.
- A Body that needs feeding, washing, exercise and sleep
- A Counselor to young married couples
- An Environmentalist who’s choices are never convenient or easy
- A Disciple that needs a degree of community and sacred connections.
- A Child of God who needs to just BE and know she is Beloved
None seem frivolous (at least not to me), all are important, all need time, all need creative thought and all need prayer...that I see the lamp at my feet bringing more and more of my life into clarity. I'd love to hear how you manage all your hats, how you have learned to do it all (or not) or let it go...and how you decide what to focus on (or not). Maybe we can help each other.