Turning Off the Shoulds
Encountering something three times wakes you up to the idea. I’m making the third time.
I have been pondering this idea too for some time. I have come to the realization that a lot of my hesitation to ‘take’ my dreams stems from how I was raised. When I was a kid it was drilled into me that I could only do what I wanted to do after I did what I should do. Want to go to the mall, or hang out with friends? Clean your room, do your homework, and help out with the household chores first. Not a bad plan, really. But I find as an adult, there is never a time when my should-dos are actually finished, and that makes it very hard for me to take the time to do the things that I want to do. I’m trying, for the first time in my adult life, to figure out a way to balance the stuff that needs to get done with the things that I want to (need to?) do to feed my soul.
Oh. The shoulds. I have the shoulds, too.
Then I encountered it a second time. AnaBegins spoke about what she learned from vacation, and how to apply it to every day life.
The “shoulds”. This is my issue. I just can’t relax until everything is done, and there is always something to be done! … My brain just runs through the list and calendar I keep in my head (they are copies of the actual ones I keep, I DO write things down!) — home, work, kids, dog, others — making sure I haven’t forgotten to buy a wedding present or schedule a dentist appointment (two things I need to do today!).
The shoulds again.
Until I read it in these two places, I hadn’t really put my finger on this division: the people ruled by the shoulds and the people who give equal weight to the shoulds and the everything-elses. Josh is really good at carving space for himself so that when he tackles the shoulds, he tackles them productively. Whereas I am so focused on checking off each item on the shoulds list that I often get to the end of the day and realize I have done nothing for myself. My entire day was lived to do work and take care of the house and take care of things for other people.
Here’s the thing: sometimes I note this fact and feel resentful, which is probably a sign that I should have set aside the shoulds for a bit and played a game or read a book. But other times, my day goes the exact same way and I feel good getting into bed knowing how many things were checked off the to-do list.
The problem is not knowing which way my brain will process my loyalty to the shoulds.
Does your day feel ruled by your shoulds, or are you decently good at setting aside the shoulds from time to time and prioritizing other things?