All the while, each member in this idealistic family smile and cheerfully engage in conversation and obedient behavior.
But being that well-rounded doesn't happen. In teaching high school students, I see them trying to achieve all of this - after all, that's what college is all about, right? They are exhausted, their parents are exhausted. Somehow, in an effort to be everything every article on the internet says we are to be, we have a society of frantic people trying to fit everything in via last minute efforts of accomplishment, most of which don't present themselves with equal satisfaction.
More often than not, the things, the people, we care about most are the ones who become the hill bearing the weight of our well-roundedness. And if we make it to the top, if we can balance that stone there, in front of us is another stone, another hill, another person we are supposed to be.
What if, instead, we as a society took a step back and became grounded in the things where we have a natural aptitude, the things that bring us joy, the things that let us have deeper, more meaningful relationships with the people we love?
For example, I'm deficient in the talents that have a more of a domestic nature. I'm a pretty decent cook, a less decent baker. I deep clean well, clutter clean sporadically. I'm a devoted friend, but get burned out quickly during this season of never-ending mix and mingles.
Yes, there are other things I could be good at, but where I'm at, right now, fills the necessary cups of self-worth, and fill my days with work I feel to be productive and beneficial.
I challenge you to take an inventory of your life for just a minute.
* How are your personal relationships? If they could be improved, how so? What would you cut to do that?
* How satisfied are you with the work you do right now that fills your 9-5 time? Is it something you see being equally satisfying five years down the road? If not, what can you do now to change that and what plans are necessary for the future?
* Does each day pass by in a frantic pace? Is this caused by your choices or determined by others who impact you daily?
* At the end of each day, do you reflect on what you accomplished and feel satisfied? Do you feel like the harder you work, the further behind you get? How could you change that?
I can't answer all of these in a manner that is satisfactory for where I want to be. But compared to where I was even a year ago, I'm getting closer. And I think that's the key - to keep moving toward a goal, a dream, a life that is nearer to what we hope for.
How have you filtered unrealistic expectations from your own life? What techniques have you learned to hang on to those dreams when life doesn't seem to have the same plan?