The Cup

It was a warm March day and I was on my back deck basking in the glorious sunshine. At least that is what I wished I was doing. Instead of resting and enjoying the sunshine, I was actually feverishly transferring a monogram onto a shiny, rainbow wine glass with a tool that looked like a kitchen scraper. As I press, peel, and curse under my breath, I think to myself that this is not my calling. Getting this particular cup complete would put the end cap on what was my short-lived online retail career.

All the while, my house was abuzz with children in virtual school and my mother helping me by cleaning out the pantry. All the while, I was sweating and scolding myself. Why did I do this? 

Just then the phone rang and my neighbor’s face lit up the screen. A welcome distraction from the angst-causing cup.

I answered. 

Her mother had died. 

It was not expected. 

Time stops.

As I ordered flowers and created a meal train, I reflected on the cup. While well-intentioned, as a means to raise money for my child’s camp, it was a drain on my time and energy. It was not in my wheelhouse of expertise. I faltered with getting the lettering to stick perfectly and dammit I am a perfectionist! But this well-meaning time-suck detracts from what is really important. From my relationships. You see in creating these things for others, I am sacrificing a bit of my sanity. Everything has a cost, even the well-intended things we do for others. This cup was taking time away from reading to my child or comforting my friend during a time of need. 

This year I am focusing my energy on what matters and making some lasting changes. I am resolute to use my pen and voice to make this world a better place. That, unlike the cup, is in my wheelhouse. I am steadfast in my resolve to take a hard look at my priorities and ensure that my limited time is being spent where it counts. 

This past year has been a blur. Hasn’t it been for all of us? I have been treading water and quite frankly, have been trying to keep a family and a practice afloat all while succumbing to the tidal wave of personal anxiety and depression.  But I vow that this year, I am taking back my life. This year I am getting back to what really matters. A wise woman once told me, “not every cause is a calling.” We must not overcommit. We must protect our sanity. We must actually be present in our relationships. It is time to look closely at what fills our cup. I know now what fills mine. Share with us. What fills yours?

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