The juggle is on: making time for lupus in a hectic schedule

I have some juggling to do. On the heels of my post on Monday, announcing my upcoming appearance with the pillbags on September 24th, that fundraising event kicks off a whirlwind of activities here at Despite Lupus/Pillbag headquarters. Here’s how my fall is shaping up:

9/24 - Rock Paper Cocktails Ovarian cancer fundraiser in Alexandria - set up shop with Pillbags
9/29 - Bernie and Deirdre's birthday party - which wouldn't be complete without our 20 closest neighbors.(Note that we don't even invite Dee's school buddies - neighbor kids only and our two beloved local cousins.)
10/5 - 10/6 - To Philadelphia to give LFA Lupus Symposium Keynote
10/10 - Meet with local retailer about Pillbags
10/11 - Back to Philadelphia for a bridal shower
10/19 - To NYC to make a Pillbag sales call to retailer - only day available.
10/26 - Back to Philadelphia for my niece's confirmation - for which I'm the sponsor. I'm so honored!
10/27 - Fly to Nashville for bachelorette party
11/3 - To Baltimore for LFA Maryland Annual Lupus Symposium to set up Pillbag shop
11/14-11/17 - To Los Angeles for wedding

Whew. That’s a lot of stuff to pack into just a few weeks. This list, of course, doesn't include the doctors' appointments, meetings, school events, and all the other stuff I have littered throughout the month, nor the fact that Johnny's traveling two of the weekends mentioned above. In addition, October is the month we're supposed to move out of our house into the rental. Yikes!

So before I say “yes” to all of these events, I have a little noodling to do. Can I do it all? Should I do it all? Am I putting my “living well” status in jeopardy? And what can I do to make sure I don’t overdo? 

First things first. Like any high-achieving, driven, pushaholic, I want to do it all. When I look at this list, I see one commitment after another that screams, “Do me, do me!” I don’t see a single event that I want to sacrifice. I desperately want to make them all happen. 

So I have to approach it another way. Instead of asking myself, "What has to happen", I have to ask myself, "What doesn't have to happen?" I have to eliminate the lowest-hanging fruit first...then make the harder decisions after that, if necessary. I have to remind myself that life will go on, whether or not I make most of these events in the first place. Sometimes it's hard to admit that I'm dispensable...but in this case, it's a good reminder that a list of to do's is really just a list of words on a page, and nothing more.

Of course, before I eliminate anything, I want to consider logistics. As you can imagine, with each out-of-town event, there’s a logistical laundry list of stuff to consider – mode of transportation, travel times, nap times, sleeping arrangements, etc. etc. When I find myself with back to back events like this (as I did at the beginning of last summer), I find it beneficial to map out the details of each event to which I've already committed. That way, I can see how the days surrounding those events need to shape up - and how much other stuff I need to clear away in order to give myself a moment (or even two) to breathe.

So this is my homework for the weekend. Figure out how these dates are going to fit into my life with lupus, and make a plan to try and ensure that they don't take a toll. I'll keep you posted!


Sam said…
Wow Sarah, That is an enormous list and just reading it makes me feel concerned for you. I know you are a long way down the road with "Living with Lupus" but you also know the ramifications of over committing. I have had a year of having to juggle commitment after commitment and I know it's not easy. A friend asked me to be MC at her wedding which is in another state and would require a 2 hour drive after I’d flown in just to get to the venue. She also put a clause in her email that she knew I may not be able to come but she wanted me to know I was her first choice. I have had a number of additional health battles this year on top of RA and have major surgery in a week so I knew the sensible thing was to say with deep regret "no, I'm sorry but I just can't". I actually said yes first and then after sanity set in I had to go back to her and explain that my heart was willing but my body told me otherwise. Do you know, her reply was beautiful. Because my husband and I can't attend she and her new husband are coming to visit us in January so we can have a wedding dinner together and she has ensured that I have been her confidante for all things girly leading up to the wedding. Sometimes saying "No, sorry I can't" brings new blessings we wouldn't have otherwise received and even presents opportunities of new ways of being involved in events and peoples lives. I hope it all works out for you and you get to be a part of all (or some) ofthe wonderful things you have going on, even if it's not quite like you imagine at the moment. Happy planning. Take care Sam
Debs said…
Wow, Sara. What a schedule without all the school things, meetings, & moving. I think Sam said it all very well. These are things you've written about & have lived through before. You'll have your schedule & "rain checks" for some opportunities if you can't do it all. I hope you get to do everything your heart needs you to do, so you are still the core you. Everything sounds exciting. I know you'll work it out. It's just so hard sometimes, isn't it?
sg - thinking of you. just the move and the renovation alone would have been enough crazy, right?!!! love you. xoxo
Sara Gorman said…
Thank you ladies! I really appreciate the comments, and definitely wrote the post hoping others would be able to identify with this concept of strategically saying "no". I see you guys know exactly what I'm talking about! See my upcoming post for the outcome - and know that your encouragement came in handy. As I made my eliminations, I reminded myself that I'm not alone in having to do so!

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