My son hurt his ankle, my back went out, the fish died, and the remote stopped working. But worst of all, my little doggy was doused in hot tea. And I’m so thankful.
It really was a horrible scene. She had been underfoot, enjoying the promise of a dropped morsel. Thankfully she was ok. In fact, while frantically trying to flush her body with cool water, my Merrily was distracted by the smell of cooked bacon. Relieved to see that she had forgiven and forgotten what must have felt like a betrayal, I gave her the bacon. I’m pretty sure that’s what started this mess in the first place.
It took a few days, but I can’t tell you how happy I am that she’s ok. I felt terrible that she trusted us, assumed only the best from us, and in the process was hurt. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I really think that moment may have changed my life. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that I can say that, but I’m pretty sure that moment was just the miracle I had been praying for.
I have been struggling with the age-old question of work/life balance. For months I had been trying to figure out how to manage my time between home and work. I tried every combination between working later, working earlier, working weekends, or not. In every scenario, the family has been supportive and understanding. They reassured me that they don’t need me. It’s ok. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine.
But if everything was fine, then why was I still feeling so out-of-balance? Why did it all still feel so not-ok-with me? Multitasking. That’s why. We are sure that we can write an email, fold the laundry, talk on the phone, milk the cow, and drive the car all at the same time. Slight exaggeration, but you get the point. The reality is, there is no such thing as multitasking. The brain will make you choose. You are not actually doing these tasks at the same time; you are actually switching between them. So instead of doing them all more quickly or doing them all well, you are making the process take longer, doing all of them less well, and stressing yourself out in the process.
The same is true with my so-called work/life balance. It feels out of balance because it is. Every time I pick up one thing, I am dropping another. The scale is always tipped in one direction or the other. It will never be in balance. I will always be choosing one instead of the other.
I’m just sorry my dog had to feel the pain of my lesson learned. But in that moment, there was nothing more important. In that moment, what was waiting for me at the office did not matter. In that moment, the scale tipped in the other direction. That is the miracle. As much as I love and value my family, I now see that the scale was not tipped in the favor of what I most value. It was tipped toward, “they’ll be fine” and “they don’t need me”.
Thankfully, my scale is now much more in balance, toward what I value most. One thing at a time. That way, when I am forced to make a choice, I can know that what is waiting for me at the office “is fine”. What is at the office “will be ok” so that my priority gets the best of me instead of my leftovers. Thank you Merrily. Life is but a dream.