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I have a routine…

Well, I USED to have a routine.

I’m a type A personality. I like to have a plan, know what the plan is, and check off the steps in the plan as I complete them. Focus has never been an issue for me…I’m usually the one who works harder and longer than is necessary (and/or healthy) and gets more done in a day than should be humanly possible. And I LOVE finishing my to do list every single day.

That’s how I USED to function…until recently. Currently, I make a to do list and schedule my day but I rarely complete any of the tasks on the list. I struggle with staying on task and get sidetracked constantly. I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to complete anywhere near the amount of projects I used to do in a single day without even thinking twice about it. My brain goes round and round trying to figure out why this is and what has changed to affect me in such a dramatic way?

I think it may be long term stress which is now coupled with a new challenge in this stage of life…anxiety. I had no idea that anxiety could start so late in life and be so disrupting. To be honest, like a lot of things in life, I used to think certain things were blown out of proportion and the person dealing with it just needed to “get a grip” I’ve gotten softer and more compassionate the older I get and the more things I experience for myself. Life is humbling and empathy is gained through experience. I truly see everyone through the eyes that say “I see this tiny glimpse of what that person is going through, but I have no idea what the entire tapestry of their life entails and I can’t see inside their mind and heart to observe the hurt and trials that have led them to this moment in time.”

What if we were all a little kinder and looked at others through the eyes of compassion and the assumption that there are hard things going on in everyone’s life? …things we hide because they’re painful or embarrassing or shameful. What if we assumed everyone was just doing the best they can at that moment and behind those irritated or angry eyes is a heart that is about to break?

I know there have been periods in my life where I was just trying to hold together and get through that one day…it wouldn’t take much on those days to tip my scales over the breaking point. I can only imagine that this is a common human experience…we all have days or seasons in which we’re not sure we’re going to make it through. A harsh or critical word can be devastating on those days. Sometimes we hold it all together and move on into a new season with relatively little obvious collateral damage. Sometimes the scales tip and we can’t hold it all in and the stress spills over a little or a lot.

What if we daily remind ourselves that everyone is just doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt and some days that’s simply much easier than others? I know I would be grateful for a small measure of grace on those days when I feel like I’m drowning….

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