So, I’m supposed to write a blog post today. “Supposed” to. Where does supposed to come from anyway? It’s not like I have to get something written for print in the morning newspaper. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder pestering me for an article. Nobody is going to die if I don’t write something. At least, I hope not…

Sure, there are certain things that need to get done within certain timelines. But, there are plenty of things that don’t. I’m not pledging for laziness here. Oh no! In fact, I’m a strong supporter of just the opposite: efficiency and focus (which, naturally, in turn causes more things to be done in a shorter amount of time – much, much different than being lazy).

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good lazy day. You know, those days where you are all snuggled up in your pj’s and a fuzzy blanket, remote in one hand, hot chocolate in the other. Ah, yes… those are good days, and every once in a while I give myself permission to have one.

Where am I going with all of this? Honestly, I’m not even really sure, other than to make this point: Self-imposed deadlines and standards don’t always serve us.

Sometimes, we get overwhelmed. When there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all. I know you know about those days also, perhaps all too well.

So what do we do?

There are people counting on us, expectations to meet, challenges to overcome and occasions to rise up to.

Great! Just great!

When are we supposed to eat, shower, exercise, spend quality time with our kids, help handwrite those dozen thank you cards from a sixth birthday (which happened to be months ago – um yep, honest confession there), decorate the house for the holidays before they’ve past, and let’s not forget… oh, maybe SLEEP!

Okay, sorry that was a bit of a rant that maybe started to be more of a glimpse into my own brain right now than just a generalization. Hey, you all know I have nothing to hide (*wink*). Point being, we all have days or moments when the overwhelm starts to creep in. I’m guilty of it too. What I can offer you, however, is this: It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, as long as you don’t stay there. Did you catch that? You cannot stay in overwhelm!

Now I’m not the overwhelm expert, I defer to others for that, but what I am the expert in is self-care. I know that as soon as I start to feel overwhelmed I need to follow this protocol.

I stop. I take a break. I take a deep breath. I prioritize. 

And most importantly, I let things go.

Do I let things go forever? Like, to never be seen or done again? Maybe – it depends on what it is. But more likely I just renegotiate the deadline, the standard by which it is “supposed” to be done, or both.

Case in point, this blog post. I wanted it to be done at the beginning of the month because, well, because I hadn’t written one since October 13th (yeah, I know you’re checking right now, and that’s okay). So what’s the big deal? So it’s been a month? Who cares? You probably don’t, right? I mean, obviously if you’re reading this then it really didn’t kill you – you didn’t die because I didn’t write.

It was my own deadline and me “should-ing” on myself. Don’t do that. Don’t “should” on yourself – it’s really not flattering.

I had a lot going on (a 3-day virtual event for one, in case you missed that, along with all the rest of the “normal” life stuff). Writing a blog post just didn’t seem to make it to the top of the priority list. Am I beating myself up about it? Nope. Am I happy I’m writing now? Yep!

I just have one more thing to share with you all. The last couple of times I was thinking about my next blog post (this one here) I just happened to be in the bathroom. No, no, no… stay with me! I thought: Couldn’t I just write about the toilet seat covers? Something that doesn’t have emotional attachment or deep philosophical controversies to sort through? I mean really, it’s just a piece of thin paper! But you ladies all know… this paper… oh, this paper!

This paper taunts us. It offers false hope of sanitation and rest. The hope that we can actually sit on the toilet seat for a short, almost not-even-worth-mentioning moment of time to rest, instead of standing there with legs quivering, burning, as we squat over the toilet seat. And even if we do get to sit, we don’t ever really sit. We barely make contact. Just enough to give our legs that reprieve, to avoid the full squat that silently we’re all doing, stall after stall after stall, because inevitably, this thin paper we so delicately pull up and out, disappears.

It’s no mystery what happens to this paper. We can clearly see it, plain as day. We watch it, with tears in our eyes as our body deflates with the lost hope of sanitation and rest (as mentioned above), slowly sliding off the seat into the bowl. Yes, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back. Most likely, there’s not even enough left to salvage one corner of to attempt to sit on. Oh, no, that was it. Your one shot. Your one chance to time it perfectly.

You thought so hard about the timing. You hang your purse up, unbutton your pants. You reach over, you pull up and out. You tear the three little spots where the paper is connected (unless of course you are lucky enough to get the supreme, pre-torn, pre-separated kind), careful not to tear the whole damn thing in half. But even then, you know the worth of this thin paper, and you will make it work! Torn or not!

You slowly place it on the seat. You know not to rush because the swish of air from rushing will just make it immediately disappear. No, you take your time, placing it just right. You have but one chance.

You turn around, just in time to have one of two things happen. Either your placement was successful and remained, giving you just enough time to gently make contact with the covered seat, as you keep most of your weight forward anyway so as not to actually sit down. Or, as we all have experienced, the paper catches the swish of air not from you rushing, but from you simply turning around, and slowly disappears into the bowl.

Gone. Forever.

For a split second you think “Should I grab another one?” No. That’s wasteful. “Should I just sit on the bare seat? What’s the worst that could happen?”

You worked so hard. Your hope was up. You have nothing left except the satisfaction of knowing you got a mini leg workout, and next time you’ll just hold it until you get home.

Yes, ladies. This. This would have been a much better blog post!

Here’s to the Best Version of YOU!

Pamela Zimmer