Susan L. Farrell, Author

Anything, but not Everything


We can do pretty much anything in life, but we can’t do everything.

This is because of limited resources. The most important limited resource we have is time. We only have 24 hours in a day. How do we spend them? If we spend time doing activity “A” then we no longer have that time to spend on any other activity. And that’s okay. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not doing everything. It’s not possible. We’ll come back to that concept.

Although there are many aspects of life that could be used as an example of doing anything but not everything because of time limitations, I’m going to use travel. You can apply the same principles to other aspects of life.

My husband and I traveled to several of the Western National Parks recently. We flew into Las Vegas and drove to and visited Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, and Grand Canyon National Parks.

It was a great trip! We saw beautiful natural wonders. But we didn’t see them all. We hiked some amazing trails. But we didn’t hike all that were available. We had some amazing, tasty meals. But we didn’t eat everything, everywhere that was available. There was no way we could have done everything in two weeks, and two weeks was the amount of time that we could spend on this vacation.

Instead of seeing and doing a few things in each park, we could have spent all the time in one park and explored that park fully. But then we wouldn’t have seen or done anything in the other parks. We decided we’d rather visit each park, even if it was only for a day or two. We prioritized those things that were most important to us. That’s all any of us can do.

I used to feel that I had to do everything. And that if I was on vacation I had to see and do everything that was available. It was exhausting! It was also frustrating, because, of course, I couldn’t do everything. To help with the frustration I would tell myself that I could come back another time and do the things I missed.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that going back is not always the best option. And sometimes it is not an option at all. There are many places that I would like to visit again. And there are many places I would like to visit for the first time. So far, I have opted to visit new places rather than revisit places I have been before. I could do either, but I don’t have the resources to do both.

Now when I travel, I accept that although I can see and do anything, I can’t see and do everything. I’m not as exhausted, I’m not as frustrated, and I’m happier since I have given myself permission not to try to do everything.

I think our society sometimes pushes us to do more than is realistic. And then it pushes us to feel bad when we don’t do the impossible. Don’t let others do this to you. Prioritize what you want to do most, and balance this with what you need to do. Figure out what your “anythings” are and don’t worry about doing “everything.”

If you like this article, you will love my book series, 52 Weeks of Wisdom: A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment. Click here for more information and to order.


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