I’ve always liked being a “slashie.” I like being able to say that I am a marketing professional / writer / blogger / emcee / singer / teacher / homemaker, even though I do not practice these professions all at the exact same time. Somehow, more slashes always made me feel more accomplished. The more things I had on my plate, the more successful I thought I was.
Recently, I was supposed to add another feather in my cap: being a writing teacher to young kids every Saturday. It would have allowed me to earn extra income, which, at this time of my life, is crucial to me. The lure of another title, plus the allure of more money, pulled me in. But recently, I was given more responsibilities at my current day job, and taking this other opportunity meant that I would be spreading myself too thin. Teaching is not the kind of job where you can just show up and do your thing. It requires a lot of preparation like creating lesson plans and thinking of fun and creative ways to make kids more interested in normally boring stuff like the difference between “past participle” and “present progressive.” (Yawn!) And don’t forget the checking of homework and test papers! Teaching is the kind of job where you still work even after your working hours.
Hence, I had to make that hard decision to say “no.”
I also made a decision to accept that I am not a superwoman. I am only human. My limited human powers can only take so much. I don’t have an infinite supply of energy and I only have 24 hours in a day.
I accepted that though I would like to be a lot of things, I cannot be everything all at once. I needed to choose the roles I needed to play, and when to play them. I needed to focus.
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I also accepted that I may not always be the best person for certain tasks. Somebody else deserved that job – someone who had more time and would be willing to make time, someone who not only had the skills but also the passion for the work, and someone who was 100% ready to make a commitment. Although I like teaching, especially little kids, I knew that that someone wasn’t me. To pretend otherwise would only be selfish on my part. Sometimes, it’s not enough that you have the knack for something. You also have to have the heart for it – your whole heart.
It took me a while to admit to myself and to the people involved that I couldn’t go through with it anymore because a part of me still wanted to do it. But a big part of me also knew that it’s not always about what I want but about what other people need. I asked myself if I was ready to be that person. Without the added responsibilities at my full-time work, I believe my answer would be yes. But things have changed, and those changes made me conclude that the right decision would be to respectfully turn the offer down.
I have to admit that yes, I chose rest over a chance to make more money. It may sound like I’m being lazy but really, I am just honoring my body and knowing that I cannot keep pushing it to its limits. I am just acknowledging the fact that if I do too much, the quality of my work (for this job and my other job), my health, or my relationships may suffer.
A counselor once told me that “our lives should be like a perfect square.” Each of the four sides represent something. If I remember it correctly, they are: health, career, relationships, and spirituality, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, each of the four sides should be equal in length and size, or else it wouldn’t look like a square. The point is, there should be a balance in all four sides.
I thought about the things I would be letting go of if I did not take the job: an additional PHP 5,000 (more or less) every month, the things I could buy or save up for with that additional cash, getting to be with adorable little kids, and another feat to add to my resume.
And then I thought about the things I would be missing out on if I did take the job: extra energy for my present job even though I do not exactly love it, better performance at work because of the reserved energy, the luxury of sleeping in an hour longer on Saturdays (which I never get to have on weekdays), spending more time with my partner and having the whole day to bond with him, having more “me time” (which I also never get to have on weekdays!), joining my family and friends at reunions, and just simply looking forward to a weekend when I can do anything I want because I don’t have work to think about. This morning, for instance, I had the pleasure of waking up early to read a good book by the pool while enjoying the cool morning air and the sounds of children laughing — things that I don’t get to revel in too often. These things may not make me richer money-wise, but it will make me wealthier in other ways. I have accepted that it’s okay to choose pursuits or passions that don’t necessarily let you earn, so long as you derive pleasure and fulfillment from them.
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I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a slashie. But now, I know that success cannot merely be measured by slashes.
If you’re doing your best at what you do and you’re doing what you love, that’s already an accomplishment in itself. Cape and sexy superwoman costume not necessary.