For years, I was an avid scrapbooker. My daughter’s life was dutifully (and decoratively) recorded in one full scrapbook after another. This was back before digital scrapbooks like Shutterfly. This was hands-on, cutting pictures in a variety of shapes, cutting papers in another variety of shapes, stickers, the works. And for many years, this worked for me. Until it didn’t.
Fast forward a few years. I’m behind in my annual scrapbooks and became newly engaged on a beach in Hawaii. (At sunset. Yes, he’s a keeper!) The need to do a scrapbook of our Hawaiian vacation was overwhelming. But I didn’t really have the time or desire to agonize over the paper, lay-out, and accessories of every page. We had a LOT of pictures! Not to mention I had a wedding to plan. For the first time ever, I used the pre-printed pages. These are pages with designs pre-printed on the page and boxes for the photos. There are still some ways to alter the pages to meet your needs, but for the most part the heavy lifting is done for you. For those of you who don’t speak scrapbook, it the difference between cooking a meal from scratch and making Hamburger Helper. And it felt like a betrayal to my “real” scrapbooker status.
Materials and prints ordered, it was time to get to it. And I got it done in record time! And I reconnected with how much I enjoy scrapbooking and how much I missed it. And did I mention? I got it done!
Then it occurred to me, the expectation to create every album from blank was not realistic for me anymore. There’s nothing wrong with it. But there’s nothing wrong with using pre-printed pages. Or going digital. Or using an album with slide-in pockets. My goal was to have my memories in a format that could be enjoyed for years to come. (Being able to torture guests with the modern-day version of vacation slides is just a happy bonus.) That led me to thinking about how many of the bars we set for ourselves could probably be lowered without causing death or destruction. Will the world come to an end if the house isn’t home magazine ready when company comes over? Will we be kicked off the island if we don’t iron our underwear? (Seriously. Do people really iron underwear? And if so, Why?!?!)
Sometimes these bars are set by our upbringing. Sometimes we impose them on ourselves. Either way, I believe that every once in a while we need to reevaluate if they are working for us. What once worked at one point in our lives may not work now. And that’s okay. We may come back to, say, scrapbooking from a blank page in the future. Or ironing underwear. (Still. Seriously?!?) Or we may not. Whatever the “rules” you create for yourself, make sure they are working for you – bringing you some form of happiness – and not adding stress to your life and keeping you from doing anything at all. “If I can’t make an entire five course meal from scratch, I’m just not going to invite people over.” Because here’s what I’ve discovered: Most people will never know the difference! They’re coming to your house because they want to see YOU. And they would be just as happy with pita chips and <gasp!> store-bought hummus. (And wine. They probably want wine.) Everyone is busy and everyone has to determine how they choose to spend their limited time. And it’s not going to be the same for any two people. And that’s okay. (Yes, I said that before. It’s because I’m a teacher and trained to repeat the important things.)
So the next time you find yourself not doing something because you can’t do it at a certain level or doing something that makes you miserable because of an expectation, I beg you to really examine that expectation. Is it really going to matter next month? Next year? Next decade? If the answer to any of those is no, it’s time to readjust the bar. And no one will even know you’re wearing un-ironed underwear.
Kellie is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who loves to bake…and eat. She strives to reach a balance among the three with healthy habits most of the time with the occasional splurge. The struggle is real. So real. Part of that balance is training for and participating in half marathons. She also strives to improve health through creativity – in whatever form that works. Currently this includes baking (see above), scrapbooking, journal writing, and a brand new herb garden.