Setting limits

No, not for Molly. For me. I think, at my core, I’m a pretty lazy person. I’m pretty content to just stay home all the time. And yet I have this annoying compulsion to sign up for things. All the time. I sign up for things regularly. And then I drop them. Last fall, I signed up for an interior design class and then dropped it before it began. A few years ago I accepted a job as a waitress (during the Great Pumpkin Fiasco of 2007-08) and never went. I’ve analyzed this quality (deficiency) of mine ad nauseum. Am I just flaky? Am I trying to prove something? Do I find it liberating to quit things? Am I a loser? Do I have trouble committing? Am I just annoying? I don’t really know the answers, but I think it’s a combination of not always listening to my instincts/pretending to be someone I’m not/optimism. And then sometimes I think that what I signed up for just turns out not to be what I really wanted it to be.

And that’s where I think I find myself today. Or at least sorta. I knew that when I signed up for a three-hour landscape design class, held in the summer on a weekday evening, that I was sort of setting myself up for failure. It takes a special someone to want to sit in a classroom for three hours after a full day at work on a summer night. But I thought that it would be a good investment for our home. And maybe it would have been. I did learn some interesting things on that first night. But I also learned some very boring things. And some things I have no interest in. So, over the last week, I thought all about whether I would return. For most of the week, I thought I would. I realized today, though, that 90% of the reason that I wanted to go back wasn’t because I wanted to take the class. It was because I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t flaky. Ten percent was because I want a landscape plan. But after just taking a walk through part of our beautiful Marquette neighborhood, and some searching on the Google machine, I’m pretty excited to come up with a landscape plan outside of class. And after talking with GAOOG, I realized that I just don’t want to take the class and that that’s enough of a reason not to take the class. It seems so simple, and if it were anyone else questioning this, I’d tell them to have their head examined. It’s a simple decision! You don’t want to take a totally elective class? Don’t. Take. It. But for some reason, I’ve made this more existential than it ever needed to be.

So, dear reader (and by that I think I just mean my mom because I’m not sure anyone else reads this anymore), I won’t be taking the class. In case I hadn’t already made that abundantly clear. And I’m going to try really hard not to sign up for anything for awhile. I’m currently on two boards of directors and one city commission. I’d like to work on getting our lawn in order and some house projects. And I’d like to have a really nice summer with my family and friends. And that all seems like more than enough for me.

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6 Responses to “Setting limits”


  1. 1 Mary Lloyd June 9, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I totally agree. I think you got my genes in that regard. The idea of taking a class etc is always appealing but reality is, I don’t want to put in the time. The only thing I stuck with was tennis. AndcI was rewarded for that. Fun game a I met great people. I still have not mastered the word NO. But recently turned down a book club invitation. 👏👏 Small improvement but I am determined to set limits before I begin my next decade. And by the way, it’s ok. You are a great human being. Spending time with family in your home is a wonderful thing. You will never regret it. And full time work and two board appointments is a full platter. As our friend Aaron Rogers says, ” just RELAX”. You owe that to yourself.

  2. 2 satcla June 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Hooray!!!!!! I’m so proud of you!!!!! You’re my hero!!!!

    I definitely do not think it’s a deficiency, nor that you are a loser, nor flaky, nor anything bad. I have many theories on why so many of us tend to take on more than we actually want to- and sure, since you insist, I’ll go ahead and get into one or two of those theories. 😁

    I find a lot of women I know (including myself) tend to feel the need to push hard, because frankly, often society pushes us hard. We feel the need to be perfect at everything we do, and often we feel guilty taking care of ourselves or resting. Needless to say, this usually manifests in ignoring our instincts and muscling our way through life. To be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t men who don’t suffer from this as well. When I used to see people who were good at setting their boundaries and taking care of themselves, I used to feel resentment and then I realized, “oh, I guess I could just try to do that for myself.” I still find I need a bunch of permission/ support to say no to something but I’m getting slightly better at it, and hey, that’s a start!

    My other theory is that Americans in general tend to be very hard workers and we tend to keep busy and do, do, do. I remember when we were visiting family in India years ago, my uncle said to me, “I don’t know how you Americans do it, working 40-50 hours a week. When do you ever rest? And spend time with family?” I’ve never forgotten that and when I’ve traveled to many other countries (not all, of course), I do find many other cultures are very comfortable taking time to rest, enjoy life, connect.

    I think learning how to enjoy all the down time and relaxation I need without stress and guilt might be my new aspiration.

  3. 3 kateandgracie June 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I think it’s a good one. I mean, who ever regrets taking down time? And frankly, when I don’t take it, bad things happen. Like I end up sick. Or really down. Or having a seizure. Ok, maybe not that last one. But maybe.

  4. 4 Tammy June 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Good job Kate! (And I read everyone of these…)

  5. 5 Jane Roe June 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    How very timely. I was at my library board meeting this afternoon and learned of another meeting at five that would have been good for me to attend, but hadn’t been planned for and didn’t really fit my schedule. Guilt said I should go but reality or selfishness or… Said no. I did what I’d planned to do after my original meeting and went home and said no. There is only so much time and so much one can do. Good for you to get your priorities right. And I, too, always read your blog.

  6. 6 kateandgracie June 10, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Yay Jane!! Good for you!


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