Wait, this is supposed to be an inspirational post...
So no one is more surprised than me to find these three inspirational quotes greeting me every morning as I make my peanut butter english muffin:
"Don't Be Overwhelmed"
"Live It Fully"
"Ask the Right Question"
Don't be Overwhelmed
You will always have more to do than you have time on this earth. This is the nature of a limited life span, the immortality we lost when Adam and Eve took that bite from the Tree of Knowledge and got tossed out of Eden. I wonder if Eve realized that giving into temptation meant she would never be able to get all the scrapbooking done that she wanted, or if Adam realized he'd never get to play all those holes of golf. Even if we give up the fun things we'd like to do, and the exercise that we ought to do, and settle for the bare minimum requirements of getting the kids fed and dressed and off to school, the work done, and the house clean enough that we don't land on an episode of Hoarders, the hours are still too short to get it all done.
Truth: There are never enough hours in the day. Feeling overwhelmed about it is a choice.
Being overwhelmed means you've figuratively (or possibly literally) thrown up your hands and given up. Being overwhelmed means you run like a hyperactive gerbil on the wheel, trying to get every last little thing done, then collapse when your body finally gives out. But when I'm forced to leave the planet, I want my last thoughts to be, at least I did the important things, not oh noes, there's dishes left in the sink! Ruthlessly prioritize and choose not to worry about the rest - you will have to give something up (see truth above), but it will be worth it. Sacrifices almost always are, if they are made for the right reason.
Live It Fully
This is actually a corollary to Don't Be Overwhelmed, because time is a dynamic, living, breathing thing. You don't need a time-turner to realize that time can zip by like an eight-year-old with a shiny new bike or move as slow as a two-year-old who has discovered a field of dandelions. In fact, we can take lessons from the two-year-old, who will lavish more time and attention on a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone than you can possibly stand. Children live in the moment, and they wring every ounce of enjoyment (or agony) out of it. Each moment of our lives is literally a treasure trove of sensation and emotion, just waiting for us to slow down and enjoy it.
Truth: Play with your kids. Spend a half hour listening to a friend with your whole heart. Focus your entire being when you pour words onto a page.
These full moments are the ones that make the journey worth taking, and your sense of being overwhelmed will slip away when you pack enough of these into your day.
Ask The Right Question
The wrong question: How do I get more Twitter followers?
The right question: How can I provide value to the twitter community?
An even better question: How can I enjoy the twitter community so that we both benefit?
An axiom in science is that asking the right question is more than half of the battle. In fact, often asking the right question is the entire battle, because the answer becomes obvious, once the question is properly framed.
The wrong question: How can I increase my book sales?
The right question: How can I write a book that people want to read?
An even better question: What book moves my heart so much that I must write it?
The wrong question: How can I balance my writing and my life?
The right question: How can I ensure that the things I value most get highest priority?
An even better question: What should I be doing right now to make my life fuller?
Go now and do that thing.
And when you've dipped into that moment, wrung every drop of experience and emotion from it, you won't need me to tell you, because you'll already know: life is short - live it fully and you'll have no regrets.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, a young adult science fiction/paranormal series, as well as Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a love story). Susan has several degrees in engineering and her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she spends way too much time on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.