When Life Is Hard, We Learn Good Things

girls eating at Whole Foods

Since I’ve been a grown-up, I’ve been very slow to realize that Life Is Hard. Before I reached the age of 21, I earned enough Life Is Hard points to last me through to the next life. I endured really, really, really hard stuff at too young of an age. The problem is that I thought that this would get me off the hook for the rest of my life. If my childhood was hard, than the rest of life would be a piece of gluten-free cake, right!?!

This is why I have this tendency to throw a tantrum when life feels hard. My expectation was that things would be easy! I’ve got Jesus, I’ve been through years of therapy, I’ve worked through so much inner junk, I have a great family, I’m a doctor! This adulting business should be easy!

You would think that, after 33 years of adjusting to Earth, I’ve had enough time to come to terms with this false expectation of life being posies 24-7. Yet I’m still caught off guard, every single time Life Is Hard. I’m working on it.

This past school year was really hard for me, even though I didn’t expect it to be. Yesterday was my girls’ first official day of summer break. (The picture above is a phone snap from our lunch yesterday at Whole Foods!) I couldn’t be more excited that the school year is over. The school year being over means that the hardness is over. Although, we shouldn’t be too quick to rush the hardness because the hardness has a lot of gifts for us.

Hardness teaches us brilliant things about ourselves that we couldn’t have learned any other way. 

With this past school year’s hardness, I learned that I need to simplify and slow down. I thrive when I get rest. I learned that I need an “anchor day” during the week — a day during the week where I can stay at home and catch up on all of the household tasks. Otherwise, I’m in a constant state of drowning. Drowning in housework, drowning in charts, drowning in texts to respond to, drowning in emails to reply to, drowning in every single thing in life… When I can’t catch up, I’m barely floating. That’s a lot of calories burned just to stay alive. Simply put, I can’t stand living like that.

I see patients Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays at my clinic. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days “off”, but they are never spent lounging around in yoga pants. During this past school year, Tuesdays and Thursdays were my “soccer mom” days even though my kids do not play soccer. I use that term to describe the “Mom driving kids around everywhere and living out of a car” thing. Thursdays were worse than Tuesdays, because I spent 4 + hours in the car. Although the golden nugget to Thursdays was that I got TWO HOURS to myself, which was usually spent going to the gym, followed by a mandatory errand.

Then there was our puppy, Penny, who joined our family last November. Oh, poor little Penny Pupster Pufferhead. I hated coming home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, after soccer-mom-ing it all day, to have this overly hyper dog that needs to go outside ASAP and be the center of attention. I would often take Penny outside before I went to the bathroom, even though I had probably been holding my own pee for just as long as Penny.

What I learned this year is that I need down time at my house, on my off days, to clean my house, do dishes, make archerfriendly food, and wash laundry. And maybe take Penny for a long walk.

Maybe this sounds trivial to you and that’s OK. I’m in a state of burn-out and adrenal exhaustion from living at this extremely fast pace of life since I’ve been in medical school. I’m looking forward to the summer because we’re being overly intentional on making things as simple as possible. We need rest, down time, less things on the schedule, less obligations, and less driving around. I’m even going to have a little staycation!

By the way, I got the term for the anchor day thing from a post on The Art of Simple blog.


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