Note from Mandy: You guys. Have you ever met a friend who you instantly knew — you just knew — you were simpatico with? That’s me and Lana. We have a lot in common, including over-volunteering and overextending ourselves. Whoops!
So she overextended herself one last time, just for me, and wrote this poignant article on #life and slowing it down a notch. Because sometimes saying “no” (thank you) is really what you need. What the whole family needs.
Read on to hear Polite As Fudge’s first-ever guest writer share her wisdom and personal experience with “Keeping up with the Safoian’s”.
By Lana Safoian,
“Less is more”.
While we can all agree the saying applies to everything from Bath and Body Works to your favorite dessert, is it really possible to carry through with the notion when it comes to our family calendar?
It seems like life is busier than ever. From working parents to stay-at-home parents, and every situation in between. Even the kids are stretched thin: social outings, classes, trips, errands, appointments, volunteering, play dates, date nights, double date nights….oh, and those school events!
Ask a mom what her upcoming weekend looks like and she’ll answer something like this:
“Well, Johnny has a soccer game, and Becca has basketball so Bill and I will have to split to make both, then we have a birthday party to attend, and then another birthday party in the late afternoon. Then we’ll go home and get ready to meet a new family we met from school for sushi. The babysitter will swing by and pick up the kids from sushi so we can go out for drinks with one of Bill’s coworkers and his wife.”
It’s like keeping a pace on a treadmill you can’t maintain and you can’t really stop because the “SLOW DOWN” button is missing.
I ran on that runaway treadmill for years. I used to be the Usain Bolt of that sh**. I thought it was necessary to take up every invitation. I suppose it was a fear-of-missing-out on something great, combined with the worry of creating children who were home-grown couch potatoes. I kept my children super busy with friends and parties. Kidz Bop was coming to town? We were there! Trolls premiere with 10 classmates and their families? Count us in!
Each outing seemed exciting when it was far off in the future, but with so many activities planned one-after-the-other, it became something I had to get through rather than something I enjoyed. I longed to make it through those kinda days so I could curl up in my bed and binge watch Game of Thrones. (I was late to the GOT game, but I’ve since seen the light, or winter, or whatever).
I juggled so many plates in my role as “mom” that my former life as an attorney at a major network couldn’t have prepared me for. I felt crushed under the constant need to go, go, go, be on top of things and not skip an opportunity. I felt pulled in a million directions all the time, without fully enjoying any of the things I was doing.
About two years ago, I hit a wall. The quiet anxious part of me was growing stronger and at that point, it boiled over from that nervous flutter in my chest to full-blown panic.
I could give a few good guesses as to why my panic attacks began. But what I know for sure is the way I was running my life wasn’t helping me.
I had to stop. I had to pull the red-string-thingy (treadmill reference?).
I took a break from everything and everyone. I saw a therapist for the first time. I quieted my life. I changed so that I could find the ground under my feet – not all the time, but certainly, more than I ever did before. I’ve said “no (thanks)” more in the past two years that I have in my entire life.
My life is so much quieter now. At times, it gets noisy and busy and my body immediately tells me “I don’t like this pace.” So that’s when I have to scale it back. I practice yoga 4-5 days a week.* It’s changed me in so many ways. It forces me to be quiet and stand still. The ending savasana pose aka corpse pose aka the closest-to-a-nap-you’re-ever-gonna-get-pose used to be so damn hard for me. It takes a lot of practice to learn to surrender, be still and quiet.
I look at so many people around me and feel like they’re running. I don’t judge them — I feel for them and I wonder if they’d want a change. Maybe the pace is okay for some, but for the rest of us – it’s too much. Maybe we can live that truth. The truth is: I’m tired of running, and sometimes I just want to sit and observe life. And that’s ok, too. I think those are the moments where you find gratitude, love – where you can look at yourself deeply and figure out what you need and what truly makes you happy. Maybe that’s what so many of us are running from.
*Editor’s note: Lana is on the right hand side on our little yoga video! And it’s her beautiful backyard.
And P.S. I so needed to read this article just as Lana hit the send button. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I wasn’t feeling so great about dropping the ball on multiple things this week. A forgotten snack for the preschool class, nearly missing a really important event, forgetting to call people back, double booking more than one thing. It’s time for me to slow. it. down. Keep what’s really important in perspective and stop overcommitting. I love a good blank-day on the calendar to just snuggle with my family (AKA chase Baby Shepnado, watch movies and order in Chinese food. BLISS!) <3