A lot of folks seem to be overwhelmed with everything they’re trying to do in life.
I often feel a bit overwhelmed at work, but since my brain shuts off after a certain amount of hard thinking and I start making mistakes, I hit actual hard limits on work work, and am thus forced to do things that are not part of my regular paid labor. But I don’t feel overwhelmed with the things I need to do in non-work.
When I look at the lists of things that other people are trying to fit into their days… I realize that there are a lot of things that I just don’t do. I don’t get in a morning jog. I don’t work out after work. I don’t clean the house (except when company is coming). I don’t have a particularly onerous commute. I don’t watch much tv and I’m way behind in Netflix watching (we really ought to decrease our subscription). We don’t do date nights. I don’t do mani-pedis. I definitely don’t do book clubs. Nor do I do girl’s nights out, except the occasional once every two years shopping trip. I’ve been considering getting my hair highlighted because I don’t need to look old when I’m not teaching, but have been turned off by the time commitment even more than the monetary commitment (I noticed at a recent conference that my prominent female economist colleagues almost entirely have one shade of hair color– they dye but don’t highlight). I don’t have hobbies other than the blog and mostly brainless romance novels (I’ve been assuming that my brain will be up to say, Malcolm Gladwell level non-fiction, while on leave but it really isn’t yet) at the rate of one or two a week (mostly before bed or while in the restroom). We pile responsibilities and habits on our kids as soon as they’re able to take over them (DC1 most recently is in charge of cleaning hir bathroom).
I’m just not trying to do as much stuff as a lot of people.
I don’t think that’s better or worse than other folks. Just like I don’t think having stuff (that you can afford) is in any way worse than not having stuff, despite what the minimalist movement suggests. I try to pack stuff in at work and look towards my leisure time (including home production) to contain the chores I don’t mind doing (food, laundry, finances) and have everything else pretty much unplanned. So it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out. Maybe I am. I’m sure I could fit more stuff in my leisure time if I made an effort to organize it, but I’m not sure that would make me any happier than being my standard lazy disorganized self. Really, so long as I’m getting enough sleep and my kids are getting enough attention (and DH and I get enough together time) and everybody is healthy and happy and doesn’t smell too bad, we’re good.
I do, however, wish I were more productive and organized at work. I’m just going to have to keep working on that.