Confession. I’m starting to resent American culture, like, a lot.
No, I’m not claiming any other part of the world gets it all right or that all of my problems would be fixed elsewhere. But I am starting to learn (the process began a year ago) that the hustling and rushing and toiling just isn’t sustainable.
Here’s how it has been lately:
I don’t have a full time job. (Haven’t in quite awhile). To compensate, I say yes to EVERYTHING. I’m volunteering all over the place, never turning down babysitting gigs even if I am completely run down, offering to help anywhere I see a need…And yet I still feel need to laugh at myself for being the one with “no life” when I’m surrounded by my friends who have successful careers. This isn’t healthy, but it is a pattern I’ve seen since the week I left my last full-time job.
One of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist has phrase that’s kind of become her motto. “More love, less hustle.” The first time I heard it, I thought, “Duh. Love is good, stress is bad…What else ya got, lady?” But more and more I see myself kneeling at the altar of business and filled time slots. It isn’t for the sake of those I’m “helping” or even for the sake of broader career goals. Its all just a feeble attempt to scrape together little bits of self-worth scattered around in various activities that never amount to much.
So clearly, America is not the problem. But I do think we glorify some unattainable, unfulfilling idea of how life should shake out. I think this idea of “having it all” leaves us with nothing of actual value. I think saying no to more and giving more of myself to few would be a win at this point. And it isn’t all about taking better care of myself, its about taking better care of the people God has actually called me to.
I hope one day I can take pride in a life that is not like the typical middle class American one tends to look. One that doesn’t feel frantic or out of control. Why I feel the need to apologize for the rare rest I get now, heaven only knows.
I’m one of those, what you’d call, works in progress.