Posted by Elizabeth
I just want to live in peace and quiet. -Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA)
The Happiness Challenge is pretty much done. I’m still reading a few of them and posting when I feel led to. For this one, I was to look at my commitments and decide if they really are what I should be doing or if I should “let go of trying to do it all and instead, place [my] feet on the ground and say this is where I stand.” When I read that line, I seriously thought of Martin Luther’s quote, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Thankfully, I’m not facing the repercussions he was and I hopefully never will.
It’s easy to over-commit. I used to work in a call center. It didn’t take me long to learn that when this one supervisor asked, “What have you got going on today?” it was in my best interest to let her know EVERYTHING. If you weren’t busy, she would be THRILLED to find you more work to do. If I wasn’t busy, I didn’t have a problem with this, but I was busy and when she asked that question, she honestly wanted to know.
When our daughter was old enough to start participating in extracurricular activities, we knew we didn’t want to over-commit her. We decided to do only two things at a time. We reluctantly agreed to a third on the condition that it involved only a brief overlap between one ending and the other starting. When she was younger, it was pretty easy. She really only had two things going on – dance and softball. Then, in third grade, she joined the Science Olympiad team at her school. That’s when we reluctantly agreed to a third thing that overlapped. Dance was year-round. Softball was spring and Science Olympiad was twice a week with competitions in January and February. When her dance class changed days, she had to work it out with the Science teacher. Dance and softball on the same night? She either left dance a little early or got to softball a little late. Softball game the same day as Science competition? She went to Science competition. Softball tournament game the same day as an extra dance rehearsal a month before recital? That one we struggled with, but the softball tournament won.
Then came middle school with all its various and sundry clubs. Baby girl had some decisions to make and we are proud of how she went about making them. No to drama club because it was year round and met every day after school which would mean no other activities. She surprised us and said no to choir, but then explained that she’d been in choir in elementary school and knew that if she didn’t like band, she could go back to choir at any point with no problem. If she didn’t try band in 6th grade, it would be difficult to do once she’s in 7th or 8th grade. She knows that, in 6th grade, band isn’t a huge time commitment, but as she progresses, it will be – especially if she gets into marching band. She also knows that when that time comes, she’ll have some more decisions to make. As it is, she has something going on pretty much every day of the week and understands the commitment. Her logic is that THIS is the time for her to be trying all these things. And, for the most part, she’s right. We’ll guide her as best we can and support her.
But I’m supposed to be looking at my commitments. Wife, mom, employee (to two places), student, and now teacher. I’ve had a couple people asking about piano lessons again. I was torn on it so it was the one I decided to put to the question (so to speak).
When am I going to do it?
Really, the only consistently available time would be Sunday afternoons.
Why do I want to do this?
Part of me does want to teach piano. I do enjoy teaching others, but if I’m being truly honest with myself, I’m doing this because the child’s mom has asked me and the child is actually looking forward to it. They’ve recently moved, she’s in a new school and having difficulty adjusting.
Is this my work?
I do have two paying jobs. One is clerical. One is musical (church organist/pianist). This really isn’t outside my realm of “work” but does that make “teaching piano” my work? I had talked at one time about wanting to make that my work but it seemed that each time I made progress toward that, something would come up and the few students (one student) I had would have to drop. Needless to say, I’m a little gun shy now.
What am I willing to give up?
Am I willing to give up more family time? I don’t want to, but I also don’t want to let this girl (or her mom) down. I also decided to drop one of my classes. I put it to the question too and decided I could let it go. Got some family time back! Woohoo!
Is it aligned with my mission?
On Day 7, I decided that my simplistic life vow was to help people succeed and keep it interesting. I want to help this girl succeed, but with everything currently going on, will I honestly be able to do that? I’m not sure. I’m willing to try. And I believe I can make this promise to them: I will try and if it looks like I’m not going to be able to give this my best, I will help them find the resources near them. If I can’t do it myself, I can at least point them in the right direction.