“Don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 149
This has been one of the most important pieces of advice I have ever received in AA. I have a tendency to do too much self-examination, take things too seriously, and create drama out of thin air.
In therapy last year, my little social work intern therapist suggested I repeat this mantra to myself during the day: “It’s only a f—ing job.” Seriously. And I seriously did it, and it seriously helped me.
I met with a friend at work yesterday. He thanked me for something I said to him last week. I knew I had crossed a line to say something this frank to him, but I did it anyway. He was complaining about how tired he was and how he had missed a school event for his daughter because he was working. I just looked him dead in the eye and said “You know what I regret as a mother? I regret that I thought my job was so important that I was willing to miss my kids’ childhoods. I can never get those years back, they are gone, and a lot of the time, I just wasn’t there.” I didn’t get “ahead” doing that, I don’t even work at the same place. I bet those fools I was trying so hard to please do not even remember me. But there is a grown man in Montana who remembers when his mother didn’t show up. Now, that is some kind of messed up! There are no do-overs with this stuff.
Here’s another thing I regret. Heresy alert! I regret all the time spent in AA meetings and doing “service work,” while I should have been at home tucking my kids into bed and reading them a story. Maybe we should tell the new women that “going to any lengths” might mean staying at home with the children instead of running out to drive every drunk in town to meetings. Ok, I said it was heresy.
I don’t get to do-over. But I do get to behave differently with the relationships in my life today. And I get to be a “present” grandmother to my grandchildren. That’s awesome. Thank you God.
Today I get to go into my office and hopefully help to create an environment that is productive as well as not soul-destroying. I still haven’t had that conversation with the employee. She had some life-stuff going on yesterday and I thought it would be a really bad idea to pile on. Hopefully I can get it done today because it needs to be done and over with.
Tonight I get to go to Eucharistic Adoration as a substitute for someone who can’t be there. I have my stack of books to read during that wonderful silent hour. Sometimes I bring books, but get so busy with prayer, I never open a book. In any event, it will be the highlight of my day.