See Your Obligations as Privileges and Joy Will Come

so many dots

Obligation. The word sounds negative, doesn't it? We all have obligations and unfortunately, the negative thoughts, frustrations, and anxieties that often accompany them. Whether it's that 5 AM meeting that your boss scheduled on your birthday or the family picnic involving themed shirts and relay races that your significant other swears is cooler than it sounds, you've got to go. These are the events that we usually know about in advance and therefore, have adequate time to get frustrated, anxious, and in some cases straight up pissed about in the days/weeks/months prior to the event. These are also the things that we likely waste valuable thought-time on as we relentlessly rack our minds for excuses to get out of them. It's likely that many of us even use obligations as excuses to get out of obligations. I'm so sorry I'm not going to be able to make your equestrian-themed birthday party but my jackass boss scheduled a meeting that I really need to be at. Let's be real. We've all been there at one point or another.

I come from a big family. My big family is also a close family. Really close. Like close as in we all live within a 10 mile radius of each other and have houses or apartments off of the same two main roads spread across two bordering towns. Close as in we have a family business which employes more than half of us and have weekly scheduled dinners (Yes, dinner is pluralized). Many would probably see this as slightly excessive and overwhelming. Completely understandable. There are times that it is, especially on those Sundays when all I really want to do is spend time with the boyfriend and do couplethings like hang out at the apartment pajama-style while thinking about cleaning or scaling the county's shorelines looking for ducks to feed (He really is a great guy).

The point is, if I considered these parties, grandma hangouts, dinners, lunches, and occasional girlfriends' of cousins jewelry parties (please don't get me started on these) to be obligations then I would straight up hate my life. But I don't hate my life. In fact, I kind of like it. There's some innate selfishness in all of us and there's likely not much we can do about it. Regardless of who we are or what we stand for, when all is said and done we want to do what we want to do. This, however, doesn't mean that we can't also be selfless and appreciative.

As I get older, I realize how fortunate I am to have such an extensive list of "obligations". All of these scheduled requirements are on my calendar for a reason. They're here because I have people to love who happen to love me back. They're here because I have goals, and dreams, and ideas, and I need to start somewhere. Granted, it can be a lot to handle but as I learn to see these obligations as privileges rather than a list of things I'm required to attend, a huge weight is lifted from my back, not to mention the headaches from the metaphorical kicking and screaming. I begin to notice that these are the things that I want to be doing; that I'm choosing to do in order to make the people I love smile and to make the life I want happen.

Some examples to make it easier for you:

I have a crappy meeting to attend but I have a job and this is helping me get to where I want to be in the longrun.

I have to walk my neighbor's obnoxious diva shitzu in her creepy hot pink blinged-out stroller but something hilarious is bound to happen and I'm sure it'll make for a great story down the line. 

I have to attend a party for a college friend who hasn't realized that they've left college despite the fact that they have a wife, two kids, and a 9-5 job at Bank of America. Did I mention that this party is themed Boats N' Hoes? I'm going though because I am a good friend and hey...YOLO

See? It's not so tough. Once you begin to look at things like this I think you'll notice that all those annoying obligations are soon replaced by total awesomeness. Our minds are all that we have and they, my friends, are scary powerful. If we can revamp our thought processes and look at our schedules from a different perspective we're ultimately going like and appreciate our lives a lot more. So strip yourselves of those unnecessary stresses and let the joy radiate.


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