I really am my own worst enemy. I’ve kinda known that for a long time, but it’s really hitting home for me lately. For the longest time I thought I just couldn’t say no to other people when they requested something of me, mainly my time and effort. Turns out that wasn’t exactly true. I do say no to others, and it gets easier every time I do. I just can’t say no to myself.

Maybe can’t isn’t appropriate, especially since I’m locked in a death match with that word. I don’t. I don’t say no to myself, or rather, I say yes to far more than I have time and energy for. This is how I find myself with a multi-level to-do list and the feeling that life is just passing me by as I desperately check things off in an attempt to control my surroundings.

My husband and I attended the SENG conference in Orlando this past weekend. I went last year and it was good. I learned a lot, met so many people, had a great time. This year, with my husband also in attendance, it was life-changing. While I have notes upon notes to review and digest, one line from the very last session I attended has been ringing in my ears ever since.

Is what I’m about to do going to get me to where I say I want to go?

The part that shouts the loudest to me is the “I say” tidbit. Remove those two words and reread the sentence: Is what I’m about to do going to get me to where I want to go? It has a different flavor, doesn’t it? The “I say” intimates a goal has been set, people have been told, something is on the line.

I say a lot of things. I say I want to exercise (I currently do not, and feel it with every staircase I face), I say I want to write more (right now writing is something that gets pushed to the end of my daily life because I feel selfish when I do), I say I want to dive in and enjoy summer (or what is passing for summer in Chicago this year; slippers and sweaters in July is WRONG) I say I want to read The Hobbit with my boys (see earlier line on the varying degrees of my to-do list, imagine the time involved with that, guess if we’ve been reading). I say I want to do a lot of things, very few of which get done because I say I want to do a lot of things. There’s a heartbreaking irony right there.

Is what I’m about to do going to get me to where I say I want to go?

Because there are so many things I say I want to do, few of them have any urgency or importance. I run into this with my sons and their piles of treasures; if every single thing is the most important thing ever, then nothing has any importance. Pick and choose, dude. Pick and choose, Jen.

In less than two months I have a birthday that ends with a zero. By the time that date rolls around I no longer want to be my own worst enemy. I want to pick and choose the most important things to me and focus only on those. I want to have time to think and play and enjoy my life guilt-free.

It’s time to say no to myself a little more often, and yes to a more satisfying life.

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