Marilee and Amy Julia smile at the camera. They are wearing winter coats and matching white stocking hats and are standing in front of a river.

It’s Always Too Much | Four Thousand Weeks

So I’m in a really overwhelming time right now. We are in the midst of a long and drawn-out move. I’m staying in a rental house with Penny and Marilee in one town while Peter has started a big new job in another town. They are close enough together for us to visit each other a lot, but not close enough to live in the same house right now. Once Penny finishes her senior year, we will all be under one roof again.

Between the move and the two houses and the new job for Peter and Penny turning 18 and graduating and having four schools between the five of us. It’s a lot. Too much, in fact.

I’ve been reading Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, and one of the points he underscores again and again is that yes, it is always too much. He explains that philosophers looking at humans and our relationship to time agree:

“…the core challenge of managing our limited time isn’t about how to get everything done–that’s never going to happen–but how to decide most wisely what not to do, and how to feel at peace about not doing it.”

I can’t say I’ve mastered some sort of system of making decisions about what not to do. Or that I’ve found peace. But I have been grateful for Sundays this month, where we’ve taken walks outside and cooked together, and I’ve curled up in the corner to read books (even if those are time management books!). 

Life with three teenagers might just always be too much. Life might always be too much. Maybe that’s part of the point. That I can’t do it all. That I have to ask for help. That I need to admit my limits and needs. And that sometimes those limits themselves can even bring me back to love.

More with Amy Julia:

Season of Waiting and Impossibility

How to Reflect on a Just-Get-Through-It Year

Turning 18 and Guardianship Decisions

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