“How do you do it?”
That’s a question I’ve been getting a lot these days. That’s because my life is a bit weird. I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and a dad who worked a normal 8:00 – 5:00 shift. Of course there were little league games and school events and birthday parties on the weekend, but for the most part, the basic structure of our weeks and months were pretty static.
My life now is nothing like that. I am on the road about 125 days a year. Sometimes, my family is on the road with me. Most of the time, they’re not. Every single one of our 52 weeks is different from every other. The only constant is that there isn’t one. Kim and I run a business together and are in the midst of preparing for our second annual Escape Adulthood Summit. We are both work-at-home parents, split childcare duties, and also homeschool. Bambino number three is on the way, which means we’ll have three kids five and under. It’s pretty crazy.
Let me be clear. I’m not complaining at all, because I LOVE the variety of my life. Nor am I the busiest person I know. Not by a long shot. But I’m not a stressed-out mess, either.
And I think that’s why people ask, “How do you do it?
The real answer? We have had to be ok with disappointing people. A lot. Which is really hard, because we’re both people pleasers.
But we also believe in preaching what we practice. And our insistence on being authentic overrides our people-pleasing desires. Kim and I have embraced the truth that we — and we alone — are responsible for our own story.
And so sometimes we say no to extended family get-togethers in order to say yes to a family day at the fair. We turn down a lot of opportunities with friends in favor of date nights to make sure we’re getting enough quality time with each other. I say no to a lot of volunteer positions because I know that being on some board will take me away from my family even more than I already am.
All of these no’s disappoint a lot of people who want us to do their “thing.” The tricky part is that their things are usually good, fun, and worthwhile invitations, and it’s really hard to say no. But we regularly remind ourselves that saying no to something good allows us to say yes to something even better.
Despite all of the advancements of modern technology, we are no different than cavemen in that we still only get 24 hours a day. When it comes to guarding our time, we protect our sabbaths and we’ve gotten pretty good at imitating a mama polar bear.
Now. These choices we make are not always easy or fun or even right all of the time. But we try our best to be mindful of all the choices we make.
I don’t presume that the choices WE make are the ones YOU should make. My only hope is that you are aware of the choices you’re making, and more importantly, WHY. It’s easy to shirk responsibility by acting like other people are making choices for us, but unless you’re still going to school and living at home, that’s not really true, is it?
None of this is easy peasy lemon squeezy, but it’s the only way I know of to avoid the regret of looking back one day to realize you’ve been living a story you never intended.
Let me ask you: How do YOU do it? What’s your best tip for making sure you’re living a story that’s your own, and not someone else’s?