After reflecting on the year that was, I've realised that I was running life at 100%. On paper it all fitted. I could logistically keep it going. Sure it was juggle but it was possible and mostly achievable. If we had a smooth week, I felt that it was totally doable. It was pretty rare to feel like that though.
The schedule was just so packed that there was no flex. No flex for just the ordinary extras like a concert. No flex for thinking about anyone else much other than ourselves. No flex to remember to ask other people how their lives are going. No flex for cooking a meal for a sick friend. It was hard enough to cook a meal for our own family. No flex for having people over spontaneously for a meal (hey, they couldn't have even come for breakfast there was so much on).
I've been thinking a lot about older women I've admired over the years. My favourites are the ones who I always felt were happy to see to me. They weren't in a rush to finish our conversation. They weren't often seen to be 'doing' lots, but they always had a sense of peace and contentment with their place in the world. One of the women I was friends with had suffered with chronic fatigue so had learnt what her boundaries were. She lived at 80% because if she went past that, her health would fall apart.
I'm going through some of those thoughts again now as I think carefully about how to use my time. I don't want to be careless or lazy with my time, but wise and thoughtful about the best use of my energy. Through crashing and burning too many times over the past few years, I'm hoping that I'm gradually becoming more like those older women I've admired over the years. More confident in my boundaries and limitations but less likely to collapse as often.
I'd hope that even though I'm perhaps 'doing' less by living at 80% capacity, it's leaving me room to be flexible, more thoughtful and more energetic about the needs of others in my life.