Monday, October 18, 2010

Stop the Ride ... I'd Like to Get Off!

I'd like to take a little poll here.  By a show of hands,  :)  who would agree with the following statements:

  • Every time I cross something off my "To Do" list, another two tasks take it's place.
  • There are items of my "To Do" list that have been there for the past 6 months.  (What is the statute of limitations on Spring Cleaning?  Does it technically have to be "Spring"?)
  • I am feeling a bit outnumber by the people who need me.  1 to about 132 ...
  • When I look at my day with the hopes of cutting something out ... it all appears to fall under the category of "Essential".
  • I periodically start my day with, "Whew!  I'm already pooped!"
  • All the stuff on my list today is "good stuff" ... I don't want to drop any of it.
  • I need about 3 extra hours to my day to feel like I could get it all done.
  • I really just want to play.

So ... anybody feeling the same way?  I know it's not just me.  :)  Actually, it seems whenever I talk to any of my other friends (Mommy or otherwise) this seems to be the overwhelming response.  We are fried, frazzled and full to the brim with responsibilities.  Even if it is an overwhelmingly common way to feel ... it still doesn't feel good.  

We can feel like life is flying past and we are just (barely) taking care of the basics.  We can feel like we are not in control of our days, that we are at the mercy of whatever needs to get done.  We can feel like our days are on fast-forward and there's no way to press stop or rewind.  We can feel like we are missing out on the good stuff because of the urgent stuff.  We can feel like we are losing our significance in the itty-bitty details of life.  We can feel like we would like to stop this crazy ride and get off for a bit.

Jack Johnson has a great song that sort of puts to words this feeling of wanting to have life be different.  Wanting life to halt, slow down, pause.  Wanting to not feel like we are busy for no reason.  Here are the lyrics to "Breakdown".  I strongly urge you to listen to it, but reading the lines are powerful, too.  Play close attention to the last lines in verse two  ... it strikes me as so very true.


I hope this old train breaks down
Then I could take a walk around
And, see what there is to see
And time is just a melody
All the people in the street
Walk as fast as their feet can take them
I just roll through town
And though my windows got a view
The frame I'm looking through
Seems to have no concern for now
So for now

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh please just
Let me please breakdown

This engine screams out loud
Centipede gonna crawl westbound
So I don't even make a sound
Cause it's gonna sting me when I leave this town
All the people in the street
That I'll never get to meet
If these tracks don't bend somehow
And I got no time
That I got to get to
Where I don't need to be
So I

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh please just
Let me please breakdown
I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh please just
Let me please breakdown
I wanna break on down
But I cant stop now
Let me break on down

But you cant stop nothing
If you got no control
Of the thoughts in your mind
That you kept in, you know
You don't know nothing
But you don't need to know
The wisdoms in the trees
Not the glass windows
You cant stop wishing
If you don't let go
But things that you find
And you lose, and you know
You keep on rolling
Put the moment on hold
The frames too bright
So put the blinds down low

Isn't that so great?  "I got no time that I got to get to where I don't need to be."  That about sums up some of my days!  But what to do with it ...

I don't really know, because while the above poll was kinda funny, it's also painfully true in my life.  I think the only real response I can have to this full, fast-paced life is to try to do the following:

  • Take a serious look at my "To Do's" and perform a little surgery.  It's essential to eliminate the extra stuff that isn't essential.  That might be a tough process, but it is necessary.  (Kinda like taking off a band-aid ... right off!  Thanks Seinfeld!)  I might even have to get some outside perspective from Brett ... find out from him what he thinks is important for our family and marriage and me.
  • Take time to talk to God ... it's entirely possible that I have said, "Yes," to more than I should.  I know that He'll confirm in my heart the things that can stay in my schedule and the things that have to go!
  • Take charge of what I can have some control over and let go of all the rest.  When I don't try to have control over everything, my stress level drops significantly.
  • Take a break.  One item that needs to be near the top of my list is down time.  It is very easy for me to run straight to empty.  There will always be something to do, so it's important for me to daily take a rest.  I try to make a commitment to have play time with the kids every day and one-on-one time with my hubby ... they truly are my priority.
  • Take time to enjoy the ride.  Life is full.  Life is crazy.  Life is a dizzying ride of highs & lows.  But life is intended to be fun.  Even if your head is spinning and you kinda want it to slow down ... we don't necessarily want it to stop.

I want to leave you with a little photograph ... but first the context.  This past summer, our family went to Santa's Village in Colorado Springs.  This was our kids' first taste of an amusement park and while the rides were pretty much geared to little people ... it was just our size.  We rode the ferris wheel (and was reminded again of my fear of heights!), the lady-bugs (Lydia's favorite), the boats (Aaron's "excitement" was obvious), the little horse & carriage (a big hit with Ashley) and the we have a picture of Norah doing a handstand at the North Pole.  But the highlight for me was riding the Tilt-a-Whirl with Aaron & Norah.

There wasn't much of a line for this ride so before we knew it we were headed toward our car, without a chance to give it a second thought.  We sat back and pulled the bar toward our bellies.  The operator came around and made sure we were secure and told us, "If you want the ride to stop, just put up a thumbs-down."  Thumbs-down ... check.  The rest of the cars filled up and the operator made his way to the controls.  Norah was a little excited-nervous and I tried to settle her by assuring her that it would be fun ... having no basis for that claim, whatsoever!  With a mechanical groan the ride started moving and our car swung back and forth kind of lazily.  "See," I said, "That's no so bad."  

Famous last words.  Within just a few moments, we began to pick up momentum and the car started Tilting and Whirling ... we all started screaming!  But it was that hysterical, "I'm laughing-screaming" kind of screaming.  The "I'm not sure if it's fun, but I think so" crazy screaming.  I remember being pinned to the back of the seat, hearing my kids insane laughter and the wild looks on their faces (as I tried to turn my head from side to side ... not an easy task considering the g-forces!).  The ride seemed to go for-ev-er and I don't think we stopped screaming (even to breath) the whole time!  I couldn't have raised my hand to give a thumbs-down if I'd wanted to!  Finally there was a subtle slowing of the ride and eventually we came to a gasping, throat-worn-out, dizzying stop.  The operator actually said, "If you want to go again, just stay where you are."  With a desperate, "NO!" we made our clumsy, bumbly, klutzy exit ... giggling all the way down the stairs.  When I asked if it was fun, they both replied enthusiastically, "Yes!"  Did they want to go again?  NO WAY!

Waiting ...

Tilting and ...


It's the same with some parts of life.  It can seem like a crazy ride that we want to give a thumbs-down to and get off ... but if we really are honest with ourselves, we wouldn't trade it for anything!  Even if it makes us a little sick sometimes. :)  So hang-in there ... and hang-on!  Life is a wild ride!


  1. You hit the nail on the head... this was a great post. Thanks! It is a great die, and I wouldn't trade the craziness of life for anything. I may have to listen to that song... Love you lots!

  2. I love when music inspires or puts words to feelings ... a powerful part of life! Thanks for being a faithful reader :)

  3. So, I'm a little behind on your blog as you can see. My ride has been in overdrive the past couple months. :) I can so relate to this post and love the song. I think I need to quote that line on FB. Love reading your blog! You've truly got a gift. I find myself wanting to ask you lots of questions for more details. Do you offer classes? ;)

  4. Ha! Sign of a true mom ... just keeping up! Glad that this post encouraged/validated/made you say, "yeah ... that's me!" I figure that's the purpose of a lot of my writing is to say: You're not weird ... you're just like me! But, of course, that doesn't necessarily mean we aren't weird!

    Thanks for reading ... fun to connect with you like this after too many years!


Thanks for visiting! Your comments are warm fuzzies! (And con-crit is always welcome, too.)