For the first 1 1/2 years of our marriage, both Andrew and I were full-time students. We went year around, both working 20+ hours a week (at the same job – awesome!), and took really time-consuming classes. It was very normal to be out of our one-bedroom apartment by 6:30am and not arrive home until 9pm, eating all of our meals on campus. I loved that life! I loved the full days and the feeling of accomplishment that came with falling into bed completely exhausted.
Then we moved to Sandy and I started student-teaching. I also had morning sickness, so after a full eight hour day teaching teenagers, I would crash on the couch. Our days started early, but my day also ended by walking into the door of our apartment. I struggled having more time in the day but not more energy to use, but at least I could look back over my teenager-filled day and be satisfied that I did something.
Now we are in Indiana. The second day we were here we took a walk around campus and it hit me that I was now living in a college town, on campus, and not a student. I looked around for the first two weeks for a job (not a huge success at 7 months pregnant – not to mention it is hard to convince this tired body and brain that it wants a new job). To top it all off, moving really took a lot out of me and I found that I was not capable of much more than making it from the bed to the couch with an hour or two of work during the day. Kind of depressing when I thought about how BUSY I was 7 months ago, even 3 months ago before I graduated.
I was talking to Andrew last week about this abrupt life change and he made the comment, “You are not defined by your to-do list.” Oh boy, that is totally what I was subconsciously doing, defining myself by how much I did. A line from a talk Elder Uctdorf gave last October popped into my mind. A search on LDS.org brought me to “Of Regrets and Resolutions” with this insightful section:
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.
The answer to this question in one word is “no” (although he has a much more eloquent answer). The combination of these two thoughts have set me free. I had the best week this week. When I had energy I got things done that needed to be done around the house and worked on projects that I am excited about (more coming about that in the near future). When I didn’t have energy I read or slept or just laid on the couch and did nothing. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about how busy I was, but that I did what I could and that was satisfying enough.
I am not defined by my to-do list!