the curse of should

i’ve been thinking about how to best reflect on the new year of life i find myself in (as of last tuesday). i suppose that within this particular blogging context, it would be most appropriate to see how my life of campus ministering relates to my new found age but all i can come up with is how relieved i am (at my age and station in life) to no longer have to process your typical college student troubles. and that seems lame and unkind so the question still remains: what’s there to write about?

after a really full weekend, i really don’t have the physical or mental energy to say anything…and yet i feel as though i should. and that feeling is, perhaps, what i will talk about. indeed, i will. focus your eyes, dear reader, and prepare to unpack The Curse of Should.


let’s begin by switching up the expectation. i expect, so i’m guessing you expect, that i’d start by recounting ways i’ve allowed “i should do xyz” to disrupt my life, but i’d rather not go down memory lane right now…not that lane, anyhow. instead, i want to focus on words that i’ve kicked out of my healthy-living vocabulary. words such as “balance” and “excellence.” yuck. bad aftertaste. they create unrealistic expectations and in my current line of work, one that isn’t quite predictable or redundant, the last things i need to be focusing on are creating a balanced life that produces excellent results. that’s a heart attack in the making. no joke. trust me–i’m not exaggerating. sleepless nights, tense relationships, stress chills…i’m so over all of that nonsense.

“should” isn’t any better. it’s a molasses-kind-of-sticky-guilt that clings to me and holds me back. “could” is so much lighter, much more optional. but “should” says, “i’ve failed. again. no doubt about it.”

okay, so i can’t really continue well without giving an example of how this recently played out in my life. last tuesday was my latest birthday and as someone who really enjoys writing i thought of how wonderful it would be to pen/type some meaningful reflections on that day. and if not on that day, then no later than the day after. i had what seemed like a reasonable window within which to work. i created the window based on what seemed to be the best choice. (and i’m clearly still struggling with excellence coz i i’ve used the word “best” twice now in this post.) somehow writing about my birthday two or more days after my birthday was just wrong. so when thursday rolled around, the “should’s” began.

i should have made more time. 

i should have planned to take the day off in the first place which would have automatically given me more time. 

based on how much i enjoy writing, i should be in a daily writing routine by now and if i were in that routine, i would have been able to write about my birthday on my birthday…or at least a day later. #ilackdiscipline


yeah, i’m so over “should” right now. more so because of all the ways it has affected major parts of my life, creating regrets that never demanded an existence. so in this, my new year, i choose to live without “should” and i already feel freer.

and in case you’re wondering if this way of selectively excluding everyday words is my way of making my life more convenient, let me say this: very little about serving others is convenient; however, choosing not to let certain words direct my steps actually makes me more available to serve.

here’s to another year of growth, a more available year, in uncharted waters…

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