By Kate Kole
I love writing, baking, and yoga. So much so that in my early days of blogging, I had a site called Baking In Yoga Pants, combining my love for the three. I’ve dreamt of doing each full-time. Sitting down daily to write a novel, opening a bakery, running a studio.
During my yoga teacher training, we did an exercise where we jotted down all the things we wanted for our future lives inside a circle, and all the things we no longer wanted outside its perimeter. Of course, writing, baking, and yoga found their way inside my bubble. As did my husband, kids, dogs, and a house with a fenced in yard. The whole vision combined to create my utopia.
The family and the home are part of my reality now. And yet, all too often, I find myself taking for granted those things I once dreamt of having. I get caught up in the everyday shuffle that comprises this chapter of life and am so busy looking down at the high chair that needs to be wiped, the floors that need to be vacuumed, the dog food bowls that need to be filled, and the laundry that needs to be folded, that I forget to look around. At the family we’ve created, the walls we’ve filled with memories, the traditions we’ve established, and the house that has become our home.
I look down to read a new memoir, to open the door to a space filled with the scent of chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting, to see someone on Instagram leading a yoga retreat (always at a tropical location) and I fail to see the tiny hands reaching out to hug me, the dogs happily greeting me, the husband asking about my day. I forget to notice the love looking back at me for fear of what I might be lacking to create.
Sometimes I feel like I’m caught in a tug-o-war battle between the encouragement to say yes to the desire to do it all and the reassurance that it’s okay to say no to what’s not a pressing priority. Real or simply perceived through the lens of my own doubts and insecurities, I’m torn when trying to decide how many plates are worth juggling. I worry that if I turn down an opportunity today, I’m shutting the door for the future. What if my skills run dry? What if my experiences today don’t add up for the me I want to be in 10 years? What if I’m not interesting enough? Accomplished enough?
Alternatively, I know I have limits. Not just in a ‘you can only be one place at one time kind of way’, but in the sense that my energy, patience, and focus can only extend so far. That cliché as it sounds, saying yes to one thing inevitably means saying no to another.
In more ways than one, this is a season of not right nows but maybe laters. Of putting certain dreams on the back burner to focus on other ones in front of me instead. Of squeezing extras in the cracks and letting that be enough. Of baking cookies during Sunday nap time and scribbling random thoughts onto a notepad at bedtime. Of seeking contentment as much as achievement.
When I roll out of bed this morning, I’ll say yes to looking around at this dream I’m still in the process of fulfilling. I’ll see its messiness and feel its tiredness, but I’ll see its magic and feel its worthiness, too. Because, I may not be doing it all, but I’m all in where I am.