Can I just be honest for like .5 seconds here?
I feel like a failure 90% of the time. And no, I’m not talking imposter syndrome. I’m talking about “doing it all” (whatever the heck that means).
I am engaged in a constant battle, and it’s one I am destined to lose. My life = the front, and the opposing troops include me, myself, and I. I’m fighting tooth and nail to do everything I want to, and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day (you’ll recall the pink sweater example). I want to do a lot. I want a meaningful career, I want to go back to school, I want to run regularly, I want to write this blog, I want to sew curtains, I want to practice yoga, I want eight hours of sleep, I want to write a book, I want to socialize with friends, I want to
cook eat healthy meals, I want to travel, I want to clean my house, I want to renovate our bathroom, I want to start my own business – jeeze I want an awful lot.
The thing is, although I want to do those things, I also on some level I feel like I need to do everything. Be everything to everyone. I need to be winning at everything. Always.
Is that a manifestation of my own over-inflated ego? Or is it a indicator of something larger, something happening on a societal level?
I know part of it is my all-or-nothing thinking. If I can’t do it all, then why try at all. Like if I can’t pull everything off the counters and scrub them to a glistening shine, then I can’t really deem the kitchen “clean” (I know, it’s insanity). Trust me, I know this flaw about myself and I work on it every day. BUT I feel there is an undercurrent of social standards I’m trying to meet and I just keep falling short. For example…
I work all day and when I come home, I have standards to meet. I have to cook, clean, do laundry, work on the blog, iron, plan out my next day, and try to wind down and be in bed by 9:00. All so I can wake up at 5:00am and bust ass again.
I don’t give myself credit for earning a living.
I hold myself to impossible standards.
I refuse to accept any accomplishment.
What is wrong with me?!
If there are constant dust bunnies it can’t possibly be because I live in an old, dust-prone building. It’s because I’m failing at keeping my house clean. My inner talk is “Why can’t you seem to keep your house clean?! You’re living in filth, aren’t you embarrassed? You need to hire a cleaning lady. Wait no, you cannot afford a cleaning lady! You need to earn more money. And in the meantime, find the time to clean your house because it’s looking disastrous. Make a schedule – ok every Monday night is going to be Clean House Night. Wait no! You have class on Mondays! Find another night, I don’t care when, just get it done because this really is gross Kira.”
Man, if I spoke to someone they way I spoke to myself I’d be punched in the nose for being such an a**hole.
Even if do manage to clean my house, it won’t stay clean forever. And when the next surge of dust bunnies appear I’m back to thinking I’m totally failing at life.
And so this problem persists. I work on it, I do. Just last night I was cooking dinner and had to keep reminding myself, “Stop thinking about cleaning your house – focus on spending quality time with your husband.” I remember when I was a young girl I was visiting my cousin Melissa in Madison. She had just had her first daughter, Emma (who you’ll remember from this post) and I thought, “Ooooh I’m going to surprise her and clean her whole house while she’s away at work!” And so I did. And Melissa was beyond grateful when she came back home. (We still talk about it to this day!) But she also said something that really stuck with me. She said, “The reason I don’t prioritize cleaning my house is because Emma isn’t going to remember shoe prints on the floor or dust on the shelves. She’s going to remember if I sat down and read a book with her.”
I think about that lesson almost every day. When I look back on my life am I going to remember the sparkling floors and clean countertops? Or am I going to focus on my memories with family and friends? Will I think about the dirty dishes in the sink? Or will I remember the warm and cozy dinner Tom and I shared while talking about our day?
I know there’s a healthy balance somewhere. Problem is, I want to do a whole lot in just 24 hours. And something (ok lots of things) inevitably fall by the wayside. Which prompts the “I’m a failure” rabbit hole. You can see the cyclical nature of this beast.
Am I alone in this struggle? Is it just me? Or can you relate? I’m curious to know if this is a battle I’m fighting solo (it very well could be – we’ve already established I’m insane).