I wrote a mini novel to tell you that it’s OK to drop a ball

My parents always told me that God never gives us anything we can’t—or aren’t meant to—handle.

I’m not sure if it’s the guilt I felt for having to postpone a Riding On Insulin camp, the growing tire around my midsection that haunts my reflection in the mirror, or the fact that I bailed on a friend’s Christmas party today. Whatever it was, it hit me.

I realized that something in my life has to change.

I’ve blogged about this before—this crazy affect that the universe can have on me when I least expect it. I’ve got all these moving pieces in the air; one minute they can be in an intricately choreographed samba line (if there is such a thing), and the next, a riotous mosh pit. Eventually, a ball (or two) is going to drop. And if you’re smart, and aware… you’ll be sure to drop the ball that’s least important.

It’s about priorities.

Here’s how it started. At one point this fall, I was training for a century ride, writing this blog, tutoring a few hours a week, studying for Organic Chemistry, running a nonprofit full time, serving as the interim associate editor for a regional magazine, being a friend, and being a wife. Life was on overdrive, and I was OK with it.

Slowly but surely, the tasks started to drop, one by one. The tutoring ended…the magazine editing slowed down…the century ride ended (and I felt amazing)…and I passed my O-chem final exam. Eventually, I told the magazine I couldn’t keep up with the workload (by which time they’d hired a new staff member) and I stopped riding by bike as much. Then, as the Riding On Insulin day-to-day workload picked up in the past month, I’ve struggled maintaining the only tasks I had left: School, Blogging, Working Out, Friends, and Husband. I knew Husband was my top priority… and then friends should have been second, but Riding On Insulin and School kept creeping into the top spots. Working out all but dropped off the map (enter: the aforementioned tire around my midsection). I kept telling myself that things would get better—that I would find a break. Last week, I actually wrote a post explaining to you, the readers, that I would be blogging less because I was finding my balance. In my head, I rationalized that I just wouldn’t blog as much—it had to go.

But, if you know me, then you know that life without blogging is like a french fry without ketchup. Just wrong.

Then today, things sort of blew up. Coming off an amazing high of Riding On Insulin’s Oregon event at Timberline Lodge this past weekend, our camp this coming weekend in Southern California needs to be rescheduled because there’s no snow at Snow Summit (no snow = no camp). Telling families that the camp is temporarily canceled is by far the worst part of the best job in the world. I had an Anatomy Quiz that I hadn’t studied for. The Realtor called and asked if we could show the house at 4—it was a mess and would need cleaning, but I said yes. I told friends I couldn’t do yoga in the afternoon because I was busy and I cancelled on a friend’s Christmas party and sent her flowers as an apology.

All this so I could get my thoughts straight in my head.

It’s all moving too fast, and it didn’t dawn on me till today that I have the power to slow it down. Rushing through school so I can apply to my master’s program by January 15th is absurd. It stressed me out every day and get this: GAVE ME HEARTBURN LAST NIGHT. I’ve never had heartburn before, but you know what? I gave it to myself. I went to bed with heartburn, stressing about life, and woke up with heartburn, the same stress, and new zit on my upper lip to show for it. Then, I reminded myself: There is no rush to get the degree done… it’s the fact that I will complete it someday that matters. I am not quitting class—I’m just going to stretch things out a bit more so that I can take this next year to really study hard and get the most out of my prerequisites. I’m 26 years old—I’ve got more than enough life ahead of me to accomplish this goal. As long as I stay in school, I’m on the right path.

Once I removed that pressure, it was like a weight was lifted and my priorities came into crystal clear view:
1. Me (and my physical/mental wellbeing and my emotional outlet—The Mollie Shambeau Show)
2. Husband
3. Friends/Family
4. Riding On Insulin
5. School

Five priorities, all in a row. Those are the most important things in life right now, and I need to keep reminding myself of that fact. Lesson for the day? Don’t be afraid to drop the ball at one point or another. You might just walk away from the situation as a less-stressed, more balanced you. And when in doubt? Sleep on it. Unless you have heartburn—in which case I would absolutely recommend you take some Tums.

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