Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Saying No

At the American Library Association Conference last week, the higher-ups in the organization were heavily recruiting new members, new worker bees. One person, it might possibly have been the new president, said, "Say yes!"

My immediate, gut reaction was, "No."

From the first day of high school, when an excited, scared, group of 200 children wearing our crisp uniforms crowded into the smelly cafeteria, my generation has been encouraged to be "well-rounded." Well-rounded, for all intents and purposes, really means "so busy you can't see or think straight and your family and friends start to despise you." That's what it means. For the past thirteen years, I've been told that I need to do a little bit of everything.

Well, my friends, that just doesn't work anymore. In high school, and to some extent, in college, we could feasibly commit to 100 different things from cultural clubs to jobs to religious organizations to family and friends, and not really disappoing anyone. How busy we were was somehow interpreted as a measure of our future success.

But I'm tired.

No, I'm exhausted.

And mostly, I'm tired of being exhausted.

I'm sick of apologizing to people for being late or for having overbooked myself.

I've gotten a lot better at this in the past few months weeks, and I've got to tell you, my quality of life has dramatically improved.

I also apologize a whole lot less.

In the past, oh, fourteen months, I've finished graduate school, gotten a new job, gotten actively involved in my professional organization, taught at my church...I could go on, but this isn't a contest...anymore.

And, in the past two months, I've tied up three major commitments, and I find myself looking for the next thing I should be doing, for the next drain on my time and resources.

But, I'm not looking too hard to find that next thing.

Instead, I'm taking a breath. If I don't have so many extracurricular commitments, maybe coming to work each morning won't seem like such a burden. When I say "no" to more professional involvement, I'll open the door to actually enjoy a weekend.

So, to those I know and love, I say, for the second time in five months, I'm back!


Bre said...

A breath is an important thing to take.

Personally, I am far better when I'm overplanned - if there's nothing for me to do I get bored and let everything slip!

Good for you for knowing what works for you AND for saying "no!"

Sarah said...

Bre, generally I function better when I'm completely booked. I feel smooth, professional and on top of things.

Sadly, the people who get rearranged and rescheduled start to feel like rather unimportant cogs in my constantly moving army tank of productivity.