As I shared last week, the New Beginnings household has entered a new chapter. We now have a full-fledged preschooler - with all the enthusiasm (and attitude) the change brings. The transition hasn't just affected her - it has altered the rhythm of our entire family. Our morning routines, daytime diversions, and evening rituals have shifted to accommodate the new reality.
The babe's school prides itself on creating community that extends beyond the classroom. In the past week alone, there have been five (!) different activities to engage parents. When I received the school calendar, I added all the events to my schedule, eager to learn as much as I can about - and contribute as much as I can to - the people and activities that will shape her in these early years.
The enthusiasm of the fellow parents was inspiring, but I quickly found myself growing anxious. I I should join these committees. I should volunteer at the upcoming events. I should lead a service project...
But as the sign-up sheets came by, I paused. In recent years I have begun to recognize the consequences of being driven by should: Too many things on the schedule. Too little time to meet my existing commitments. Too little energy for the people and things I love. Too much hurry. Too little joy.
A small voice within whispered that this is an opportunity for a fresh start - a new beginning for me, as well as my daughter. This is a chance to move past should and operate within the parameters of what is meaningful, sustainable, and authentic. Yes - I will pour my time, energy, and resources into this place that will have such a significant influence on who my baby girl is becoming, but I will choose carefully.
Whether or not your life operates according to the rhythms of the academic calendar, Fall always offers a multitude of opportunities for engagement. It is easy to overextend ourselves if we are not intentional about guarding our time and energy. Before you dive in, consider where you can add value, how you can contribute meaningfully, and what activities allow you to be your most authentic self. Choose carefully...and live more fully.