The Simply Mortal Life

Photo courtesy of Leanne DeShiffart as pinned on Pinterest

I am finally coming to terms with my mortality. I know. That sounds super somber for a Monday let alone for the holiday season. But it’s true, and perhaps at the tender age of 30 it’s the perfect time to read and take the mortal memo to heart. I am mortal aka human. I have limits aka I can’t do it all. Sigh.

I’d been anticipating this trip to San Francisco for weeks. Ever since I happened upon cheap tickets online a few weeks ago. It was a complete surprise to find tickets as cheap as they were especially for travel during Thanksgiving. Nonetheless I found them and was grateful. In fact I would say my gratefulness stepped it up a notch with each passing day. Life was exhausting and sleep wasn’t coming easy. I’d either sleep for easily 10 hours and wake up feeling like it was a 10 minute nap, or I’d have dreams that were a cross between the various losses I  experienced this year and and my own anxieties about not doing or being enough in relationship to those losses and in my current work.

My sweet Sundays were starting to be bittersweet as I gave myself permission to let a little prep work here and there for the work week commence. My Saturdays were smattered with work related events, whether it was a conference a few states away or a retreat a few buildings from my office. My work days were longer with an event here and an event there. Events I really wanted to attend but weren’t lending themselves to my need for rest and to really acknowledge that I was maxed out. I’d reached my limit.

Photo courtesy of Swathi Prasad as pinned on Pinterest

I don’t like to think of myself as having limits. Boundaries, sure. I am pro boundaries. But limits, not so much. And about the only person or thing (I don’t know is God a person or a thing?) who isn’t mortal and has access to endless time, energy, creativity, etc is God. The rest of us mortals, us flesh, bone, thumbs, upright walking, mammals also known as humans simply don’t have endless anything.
It’s disappointing. I know. I kind of type that with a scowl and a sigh.

I kind of want to do everything well. Like really super well. I want excellent excellent excellent all the time all the time and oh yeah, all the time. I don’t ever want to think or feel that I gave anything less than my best at my best. And while my transition should have smacked me out of this need, it hasn’t…until now. Until I am two weeks my of completing my first semester and I am like um, can we end now. Can we give all the students 4.0 GPAs and faculty and staff 4% raises and just see everyone next semester? But that’s not an option. What is an option is me reigning in my acceptance of my mortality and being a better steward over it.

Bishop T.D. Jakes once said “The most important thing you are spending is your life. More than you’re money, more than hours at your job, more than time in and of itself, you are spending your life.” And as well all know at some time life stops. I know. Somber again. Sorry. 

Photo courtesy of Nana- Mbra Idun as pinned on

Yet, it’s true. We are, I am, you are, spending our lives and we don’t get any of  it back and we don’t really know when they will end. I suppose then, we, I and you, ought to figure out how to best spend our lives. And I can tell you trying to do everything and be on all the time ain’t it. Being a glutton for packing more into your day, week, month, or year won’t do it. Being a jack of all trades and master of none won’t do it either.

What I’m learning however is that accepting mortality, our finiteness, our limits totally will. It makes you want to hone in on what you do really well, what you want to learn to do better, and who and what matters most and to make those the things that get you at your best and the best you have to offer. I’m learning that we think with age we want more, more pay, more getaways, more dinner parties with more friends and family, more acres of land or square feet for our dwelling spaces, etc. But it’s about the less. It’s about the few really valuable people and things that can allow us to LIVE wonderful, full, rich, 100% mortal, limited lives.

It was hard to got to San Francisco and not let everyone that I know there that I was coming and to have days choc full of coffee catch ups, brunches, hangouts at cute bars and lounges, and live music in the sweetest hole in the bar venues. But I knew I needed the break, to slow it down, and to be companions with my mortality, to love my limits.

Photo courtesy of Hakima s pinned on

So it’s holiday time for a lot of us and it usually means a time where we override our limits and we are saying yes to anything and everything from hosting the dinner again even though your brother promised to host the last three years, to seven additional relatives staying in your sweet little three bedroom home, to being the one to your child their other parent won’t be able to visit during the holiday as promised, to agreeing to stay late at the office so others can go home early, etc. I want to encourage you to say yes in context of of your mortality, in context of your limits. Say yes only in knowing that you will also say no, let me get back to you, that actually won’t work, etc. and make room for being the wonderful mortal that you are. See, unsomber xxoo

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