Celebrating What Gets Done

I sometimes get really down on myself about what doesn’t get done. At the end of every day, there’s usually a list of things that I’m putting off for another time. When I’m having a flare or sudden illness, I can guarantee that very little is getting done. Then when I start to feel better, the self-berating grows louder: why didn’t you get anything done today?

I’m thankful that I have my husband to remind me that I need to celebrate what does get done, instead of being upset about what doesn’t. When I am sick, he is good at reminding me that my only job is to get better. That means resting and not self-berating.

Being busy

Part of the problem is that I like to be a busy person! I bring it on myself! So when I can’t get the things done, I feel badly about it. I am trying to be more vocal about my limitations, that lately my illness has been a bit erratic, which means I need more flexibility. I may not be able to do things today, but hopefully tomorrow. I try to spread activities and responsibilities out through the week so that I can get a little bit done every day.

Expecting a lot from yourself

Another challenge is that I have high expectations for myself. I’m willing to give others more latitude than I allow for myself. Oh, the irony! So I need to be a little more forgiving. And I also need to recognize that I generally do not let people down. Once I make a commitment to do something, I try my best to fulfill my promise.

But it’s so true that I let my failures weigh on me. I should be counting all the things I check off the list and not the ones that are delayed or never get done.

As I age and (hopefully) grow wiser I have worked on accepting that I cannot do all the things. The world working at its best requires a multitude of people with a variety of talents. It needs people who are carpenters and who are physicists—of which I am neither. It needs many people, doing many things and I am only one. The other things will get done by other people. I just need to stick to my part and do my best at it.

I’m thankful for my husband for suggesting I write on this topic because it’s so easy to either pretend that everything gets done as I aspire or that I don’t worry about failing to do all that I want to do. Neither is true. I don’t get everything done and sometimes it eats at me.

But I want to turn a corner!

I want to celebrate what gets done and appreciate my accomplishments, especially in light of the challenges of living with rheumatoid arthritis and all the demands (and surprises) of the disease. I want to minimize those bad feelings. Sure, it’s OK to feel them but not to let them make me feel badly for long.

Ultimately, it’s more important to celebrate the life I get to live than to feel bad about all the things I cannot do. So I am going to do better about doing fewer things, but doing them well and feeling the pride of accomplishment that comes with the experiences. Here’s to celebrating what gets done!

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