For working parents, summer is not an easy thing. When the kids are off, our schedules get even crazier because typically WE are not off. Due to various choices we had made as a family – and some things outside of our control – I had a lot of anxiety around the summer of 2018 being a particularly hard and challenging one.
I thought managing Z’s crazy summer swim team schedule would be so hard… until I got used to it and grew to love it (and now, honestly, find myself missing it).
I thought getting laid off was hard and awful… until I realized it meant I got summer off with Zoe and time to really think about what I want next from my career.
I thought hosting an exchange student would be hard… until Napa arrived from Thailand and seamlessly, beautifully became part of our family and hearts.
In retrospect, the summer of 2018 may very well end up being one of my favorite summers of my entire life. Have you ever noticed that many times when we dread or fear something really difficult, it often ends up being doable and we’re able to cope, adjust and grow to meet the challenge? I think it’s just part of being a mom. Or maybe just part of being human.
As the growth mindset teaches us, there’s truly no such thing as “I can’t do that” – only “I can’t do that YET.” Those three little letters make all the difference. I remember when I first joined my beloved former gym, Rock N Shock Fitness – the workouts were SO HARD. Nearly impossible. But over time, I ended up loving them – and now I miss them so much!
One of my favorite bits of Whole 30 lore is the tough love quote from creator Melissa Hartwig:
This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.
After having completed one and a half rounds of Whole 30 (I’m right in the middle of my second round now!), I have to agree with this statement. Whole 30 is not hard… relative to other difficult things. But yes, it can be challenging to resist all the many food and drink temptations of daily life!
But I love the level-setting idea of viewing difficult things as relatively easy when you compare them to the true challenges in life – like illness, losing a loved one, or divorce.
Sometimes, it helps me to think “This is NOT hard! I can do this.” Sometimes, things we’re dreading do get easier once they’re right in front of us. Before we know it, we’re figuring out how to keep moving one foot forward at a time, and suddenly we realize we’re doing it. We’re really doing it!
And there can be great joy and personal satisfaction in looking back, remembering how hard we thought something was, and realizing that we knocked it out of the park. Whether we look back like “Wow, that wasn’t hard after all!” or “That WAS hard, but I did it anyway!” it’s a great feeling.
This post is dedicated with love to a dear, cherished friend of mine who just did something really, really hard. What have you done lately that was really difficult, and how did you find the strength within yourself to do it? Or what’s something that you thought might be hard, but ended up being easy? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences in the comments below or over on Facebook.