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A Slow – and Painful – Death

Losing Ourselves to the To-Dos, Checklists, and Hustle & Bustle

I have always admired how effortlessly cool actresses look when crawling into their beds after a supposedly hard day.

Movie after movie. TV show after TV show. The scene is always the same.

Silk pajamas — a matching set of course — with blemish-free skin glowing in the evening lamp light. Her hair is always effortlessly tousled, as if she simply grew more beautiful over the preceding 8 hours of work, motherhood, school, errands, or whatever else her scripted life called her to that day. The sheets and comforter are always supremely elegant, pulled tight and wrinkle-free as if to match the actress’s face. To top it all off, the actress always seems to pause before turning out the bedside light and falling into a slumbersome abyss, as if to simply soak up the perfection of her day.

I submit to you Exhibit A — The Faux Woman.

I, on the other hand, find myself nearly crawling, on hands-and-knees, to my bed at the end of each day. Though I am often swindled into purchasing Target’s flashiest face masks — let’s be honest, we are all sorry suckers for Target’s face masks — I count it all a victory if I am simply able to slather on a coat of drugstore moisturizer before shuffling my tired feet to my bedroom. There is no matching set of pajamas for me. T-shirts kept from college — somehow peppered with bleach stains, though I do not own any bleach — hanging loosely over sweatpants stolen from my younger brother. And there is no moment for soaking in the day beneath effortlessly assembled bedding. In fact, my bed is likely still rumpled from when I rolled out of it earlier that morning, and my eyes are half-way shut before I have turned out the light.

I submit to you Exhibit B — The Bedtime Monster.

Though I knew all beauty concerns would be amiss the very moment I so proudly declared myself a law student, in thinking of the actress in the silk pajamas who does bedtime so well, it becomes perfectly clear that I do bedtime . . . so bad.

Though I am being dramatic — though perhaps not about the bleached t-shirts . . . I mean seriously! Where do the stains come from? — I have a point.

I promise.

Though — fortunately — the world is blissfully unaware of the monstrosity that is Katie by 10:00 each night, I am certain that the world is aware of the busy Katie that is present the other 8 hours of the day. Carefully jotting down to-dos, highlighting those to-dos once completed, shoving microwave lunches in her mouth while reading assigned case law hurriedly before class, and *briskly* walking to and fro each *carefully* planned agenda item.

It is this to and fro, these carefully planned agenda items, and this heaping mountain of to-dos that creates The Bedtime Monster.

You may be reading this, identifying easily with The Faux Woman.

But, let’s be honest. I (cleverly) named her The Faux Woman for a reason.

Because she’s faux. Meaning, not real. So, this leaves you with only one option.

Admittedly, you likely too become The Bedtime Monster.

All your effort gone by the end of the day, diminished from pleasing those around you.

From working endlessly to exceed others’ expectations of you.

From meeting those weighty, self-imposed objectives.

From running around like an Energizer bunny, checking items off of the imaginary list in your head titled, “To-Do List to Become a Successful and Fruitful Woman.”

Is this really what I am called to be? What you are called to be?

There are a lot of things in life that I am unsure about, but I am sure of one thing: I am not called to be The Bedtime Monster. I am not called to be to-do list, agenda item, running to and fro Katie that I have become so comfortable with.

I should point out that it’s also doubtful that I am called to be The Faux Woman either. I mean, who actually wears matching pajamas every. single. night?

So, who are we called to be?

I — like you — was given a brain, powerful and quick.

I — like you — was given ears to listen to others’ stories, experiences, sorrows, and secrets.

I — like you — was given passion for people, causes, and injustices that I feel called to fight for.

I — like you — was given hands and feet to carry me where I need to go in order to serve the people that I was made to serve.

I — like you — was given a laugh, meant to respond to those around me and fill the room, making others smile.

I — like you — was given a mouth to encourage, to uplift, to fill up, to spur on, and to befriend.

I — like you — was given a heart to feel joy, to feel peace, to feel love, to feel sadness.

I — like you — was given imperfect skin, crinkling easily when happy or sad.

I — like you — was given a soul that desperately longs to feel rest.

We were gifted these things — the brains, the ears, the passions, the hands, the feet, the laughter, the mouths, the hearts, the skin, the souls — so that we might experience the world around us. To experience the people around us. The moments around us. The tastes. The smells. The sorrows and griefs, the joys and miracles.

More importantly, we were gifted these things so that we may serve others.

Yet, the paradox of it all is that we are all running ourselves so ragged that we are neither enjoying life nor adequately serving others. We are not listening, laughing, feeling, befriending or encouraging adequately because we simply do not have time.

Instead, we are all just spending each day becoming a Bedtime Monster.

There is evil in this world — we can likely all agree on that. Evil in our town and evil in our state. Evil in our country and across the entire globe.

Yet, the evil that each and everyone of us are unprotected against — so naive to — is the evil of busyness. Of productivity. Of feigned importance found in our lists, our plans, our schedules, our planners, our emails, our assignments, and our stressors.

We seem to pride ourselves — find our worth — on going, going, going 24/7.

And for what?

We are not using our gifts to experience life.

We are not using our gifts to serve others.

In fact, it’s impossible to serve others when your cup is not full, your soul is not rested, and your schedule has exceeded capacity.

These God-given gifts, powerful tools meant to weaponize and arm women just like me and you to make a difference in the world, are getting lost in the lie that tells us that we must be exhaustingly busy to actually be productive.

But it is merely that — a lie.

You are valuable because of who you are. Because of who you were designed to be. Because of your brain, your ears, your passions, your hands, your feet, your laughter, your mouth, your heart, your skin, and your soul.

Not because of how hard you work each day.

In fact, when we go, go, go all day, trying to be more valuable, we merely end up as The Bedtime Monster.

I am not advocating against hard work. I merely am advocating for the truth that you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to pile on more activities to be a valuable woman. You don’t have to stretch yourself thin to be a valuable person.

Really, you don’t have to do anything because you were already made to be equipped. Made to be valuable. Made to have a purpose, a place, a time and an opportunity to make the world a better place.

When I find moments in my day to just let my soul rest — when I first wake up, during my walk to class, as I chew my food, in the time I find to exercise, when my mom calls to chat, in the hour before bed when I can either journal or look at Instagram — I am actually a better, more useful, more successful, and more fruitful Katie than when I focus my attention on my to-do list.

I find that when I let my soul rest, I am more responsive to others’ needs, more attentive to those around me, and more in-tune with my soul’s purpose. With my purpose. With the path on which my feet should carry me.

So today, your “to-do” should be to let your soul rest.

You should let your soul find peace in the truth that you are already worthy.

You should let your soul rejoice when rejecting the lie that says you should try harder. Do more. Sign up for more.

Because — the truth is that productivity cannot change your worth. You are already enough.

So, so long Bedtime Monster.

You won’t be missed.

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