Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sometimes quitters are winners

I wish I had written this post last week, when everything happened. I wasn't ready to write then, but now I've forgotten a lot of the thoughts and feelings I had that I wanted to remember.


Lets refresh. I'm in my last semester of studying dietetics (nutrition). It's really hard. I have a full, tight schedule of challenging classes and research. I work nights and weekends (basically whenever I'm not in class). I have a leadership role in my church over women that takes quite a bit of time. Clint is just as busy as I am with work and school so the majority of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc, falls to me because he doesn't have the time either. I was also supposed to start volunteering for experience in my field as well as working on internship applications and things like that. I'm pregnant which includes lots of doctors visits, childbirth classes, being pretty sick, and about a billion preparation "to-dos". I can't put into words

I've been going nuts. At the end of the day I just want to cry because I'm so tired, and some times...I do. And homework? Forget that. I'm already falling asleep at 7pm there's no way I'm going to stay up all night and write a research paper. I've treated my calling in church as a burden rather than a blessing. I was having to skip doctor's appointments because I couldn't fit them into my schedule, and when I was making it to the doctor I was having to miss class. I missed friend's birthdays (sorry!) and ignored promptings to help others because I just didn't have enough time.

Clint has been supportive of me quitting my job for awhile now. Frankly, he's surprised I've made it this far given how difficult this pregnancy has been and how much I've got on my plate. So we've looked at our budget several times trying to figure out if we can make it if I were to quit. It was inconclusive. We have lots of expenses coming that we don't really know how much they'll cost. Plus, we don't know how long I'd go without working. There are a lot of variables we don't know how to plan for. We've been praying to know what the best thing to do was.

Then General Conference came. There were several talks that really touched me. One was by President Uchtdorf.

"Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.
Is it?
I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.
I can’t see it.
Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time...

Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. "
(The full talk really is fabulous and everyone should read it. You can find it here: Of Regrets and Resolutions)

I realized my priorities were way out of whack. As far as my schedule goes, I was in complete survival mode. I was going around like a robot trying to frantically check everything off my list. That wasn't going so well.
I know that we're not just here to check things off our to do list, but also to enjoy life, to find the things that make us happy, and to help others and share our joy with them.
Another talk that really helped me was from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.
"...the Lord’s purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the Spirit. I believe that the more we act upon the inspiration and impressions which come to us, the more the Lord will entrust to us His errands. I have learned, as I have mentioned in previous messages, never to postpone a prompting."
I recognized that I was not doing this. Not at all. I didn't have time to listen to what God was telling me, and this is not a good way to live. It's actually kind of miserable. I know these messages were an answer to my prayers and I was able to see clearly what to do.
It still wasn't easy though. It's hard for me to feel like I can't do it all. I was guilty of what President Uchtdorf described, wearing my busyness as a badge of honor. I'm proud of how I spend my time, the problem is there wasn't enough time for it all. Being busy isn't important at all if it's at the cost of the things that really matter. I realized working was the least important thing I was doing in my life and so, as I'm sure you could have guessed by now, I quit my job. I finish the month up and then I'm done til further notice. It feels good. Even though I'm doing just as much as I was doing before, my stress level is so much lower because I know there's an end coming (soon!). Plus, I know I'm doing the right thing, even if there's still part of me that's sad I couldn't fit in everything. You should know that I'm definitely not telling everyone to go out and quit their jobs, but for me in my situation, I know it's the best thing to do at this point. This hasn't coming out as eloquently as I had planned, but I'm hoping you get the idea. I'm not happy that I had to quit but I'm happy that I followed what I knew was the right thing to do. Being busy can be a good thing, but isn't, by itself, admirable.
What do you think? Do you feel society values being busy way too much? Are you too busy?


Ali Mills said...

I thought you wrote this VERY well and eloquently ;) When I got pregnant with Rory we went through the same things you and Clint are. It ended up being better for us in the long run for me to quit work to raise our daughter than to continue being miserable at the job I had and only making a little more a month. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't work or anything cuz I think to each her own. For us, it was easier for me to quit my job and keep my sanity and as soon as we made that decision (after prayer of course) Andrew was able to get a full-time job so now we can actually have a tiny bit of a cushion thanks to the pay and hour increase ;)

Good luck girl and I know you'll do what's perfect for you and Clint and little Ainsley!

Mary said...

Beautifully said! I know that I would much rather be busy than bored. But I do know that when I can say, "Oh, I do this and this and this" I feel proud of it. I think it is important to keep busy- but only to the point where you are not being lazy, and now being a stay at home mom- is what I am fighting. So I try to do things so I don't sit around and watch Netflix and neglect my daughter. I plan things so I can make sure that I am living a righteous life. So, I guess I am seeing the other side of your situation. I feel like a lot of people nowadays value being busy, but at the same time think that many people have lowered what they expect people to do, just because we have all gotten so lazy.
I always remember to get the important things done first- and everything else will fall into place, and it normally does. =]

Gentri said...

I totally agree. i loved those talks. I think that badge of honor statement really hit home to a lot of people. :)

Annie said...

SO Happy for you!!
So glad you will have some time to breathe! And I am coming over one of these days to wash your baseboards or wash baby laundry (heck, even adult laundry!) or something!

Kelsey said...

Really Alexis I am so happy for you that you will finally get the time to do things more important to you! What a blessing to be able to turn your focus to what really matters now. You are a rock star and have always impressed me with how much you are able to do each and everyday, I can't imagine doing it all especially while being so sick throughout your pregnancy. Hooray for breathing room now!! You are awesome!!

Autumn said...

I've been there before...wearing business as a badge. I quit my masters program last December because with teaching and trying to be a new wife...I couldn't do everything at that time.

Now that I am unemployed, I learned that I didn't invest a lot of time into myself and as a result I have really struggled figuring out hobbies or ways to connect with people.

I think it is amazing all that you're doing, but I'm glad you can get a break soon!

Maggie B. said...

Yippee for making a decision that makes your heart feel better! =) Happy you = better pregnancy, I'm sure.

katilda said...

Girl. GIRL. I am so with you on this. Conference made me think a lot about how I'm spending my time. I ended up cutting out a few good and even great things to make more room for the essential things, like spending more time with my family. It is definitely hard to let go of other good things though. Hard life lesson but way to be!

Tisha said...

That "busyness as a badge of honor" bit hit home. A busy life does not equal a full life!

One of my favorite quotes is from Oprah: "You can have it all, just not all at once." It made me realize that if you try to get everything all at once, something's got to give. And that's where priorities come in. It's wonderful that you know what yours are--some people are not so lucky (or honest with themselves).

Courtney B said...

Every time I read your blog or see your facebook posts I ALWAYS wonder how the heck you do it all?! I work 2-3 days a week and am not in school and I feel like I don't have enough time in the day! And I'm EXHAUSTED all the time... and I haven't even been sick. You are seriously Wonder Woman to me! But I admire even more how you took those talks to heart and are willing to make changes! It's so frustrating to feel like we can't "do it all" but this really is the best choice. Your sweet little family will be blessed like crazy for you sacrifice! You're amazing!

Chelsea said...

I really don't know how you have handled such a busy schedule . . . especially while growing a human! You are magic, girl. I am so happy that you've been able to cut back a little bit. I am kind of in the exact opposite situation right now. I don't have a job, I'm done with school, and no baby yet . . . and I've been feeling so unproductive. I mean, my toilets are wayy clean, but other than that I have basically nothing to do! I wish I could get over to Arizona and help you with your stuff!!

Annie said...

had to come back to this post and I am totally second-ing everyone ^^
I don't know how you did/do it all! You're superwoman. And you quitting your job doesn't change that.Now, let's go make some carmel apples!

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