This month has been an absolute whirlwind. Things are so busy, and every day there are so many things that need my attention, between work, kids starting school, general parenting, appointments, and house chores. Honestly, it's just all too much. I recently realized, however, that as my to-do list grows but my time and energy shrink, I've started asking myself this one simple question to be really honest with myself about my expectations. "What really matters?"
Some days I try to do it all, and I feel defeated (and angry, negative, powerless, frustrated) when I can't do it all. Other days I realize that it's okay not to do it all because I was never meant to in the first place. My expectations were too high. So asking this quesiton, "What really matters?" allows me to focus on the things that matter most and put off other things until my time and energy allow. It's been a lifesaver this month.
This question can be so valuable to language learning. Whether I'm stressed about not reaching the highest levels of Italian or not being what anyone would consider "fluent" in German, if I ask myself what really matters, then I realize it's okay. I'm doing okay. I can still keep working toward the highest levels of Italian, but what really matters is that I can converse with my Italian-speaking friends. I keep working on my German, but what really matters is that I feel comfortable communicating in the situations that arise living in the country. I can do both of these things, so keeping that in perspective helps me progress from here in a joyful, low-stress way. Because everything else doesn't really matter right now. They're just extras. So I can give them my attention when my time and energy are higher.