Facing Down an Overwhelming Schedule

Theresa Cashman
March 8, 2021

Alright y’all. This one might be a little tough for some to hear. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague about how I “HAD to go to work,” then I “HAD to go grocery shopping,” and “HAD to finish the laundry.” (Sound familiar?) I was still teaching at the time and was completely overwhelmed with the workload I needed to take on to do my job well and still live my life. 

Hearing my plight, my friend gently pointed out that I did not, in fact, HAVE to do those things. I was choosing to do those things. 

I balked. “What do you mean I’m choosing to do chores!? I’d much rather be out hiking or going out for a nice dinner.” She said, “but you’d like to have clean clothes to go out to dinner with, so you CHOOSE to do laundry. And you’d like to be able to pay for that dinner, so you CHOOSE to go to work. And you’d like to have snacks ready to bring on your hike, so you CHOOSE to go grocery shopping. In order to do what you want to do, you’re also choosing to set yourself up to do those things comfortably.” 

She continued, “Even if you HAVE to go to the DMV, the fact of the matter is that you’re choosing to. You’d prefer not to be stopped by the police, and maybe it even makes you feel good to be a law-abiding citizen? You choose waiting at the DMV over the potential to have your vehicle impounded.” 

This was eye-opening. I started making a shift in my thinking from HAVE to’s and GOT to’s to CHOOSE to’s. I wasn’t forced to do the laundry, I was choosing to have fresh sheets for my guests. No one was twisting my arm to cook, I chose to cook because I like the feeling of knowing what’s in my food (and it’s nice to save some money for other fun things as well!) 

So my challenge to you this week is to catch yourself if you start listing off all of the things you HAVE to do. See if you can find the values behind WANTING to get those things done, and see if you can make the shift from HAVE to, to CHOOSE to.