‘Margin’ is the word of the year in my house.
So many of us live with chronic schedule-squeeze, and while there will always be these seasons, it’s left me wondering if we actually try to be that busy. It provides handy excuses. We aren’t available to help others. We’re too stressed to be kind and thoughtful. Our kids need these opportunities or they’ll never thrive.
My husband and I lived with no margin for a little while, and when unexpected circumstances required us to grieve, we didn’t have room in our hearts for everything. Either we couldn’t process grief in the ways we needed to, or something else we thought was important had to be ignored. We were finite creatures trying to be infinite.
If a cup is full to the brim, it will overflow when something else is poured in.
Strive for an Interruptible Life
We get to choose how full our cups are on the daily. I want capacity to deal with my own life’s curveballs, and I want capacity to help others with theirs. I also want capacity to fully soak in the good times. An interruptible life is important to me. I want simple, focused living, where people — not opportunities (even for our kids) — are most important. The air is cleaner there. Phones are put down. Eyes meet. Hearts meet.
When life has no room, we don’t have to face our flaws. We don’t have to improve our relationships and make them really count. We can be irritable all the time. All we do is go. And go. And tell ourselves we’ll deal with it later.
But that’s not honest.
What Does a Life with Margin Look Like?
It can look like carving time into your calendar that is neither a responsibility, a commitment, or a requirement. It’s reserved for unexpected opportunities to meet with new people, work on a passion project, bring a latte to a friend, take your kids out for a surprise, or spontaneously romance your spouse. It’s protected from anything regularly scheduled or life-draining and is for the purpose of breathing life back in to the spaces that need it. It allows room for life to flex in the ways it always will, through the peaks and the valleys.
We’ll need time to weep and mourn and we’ll need time to celebrate, and we’ll need time for all the in-between.
I really believe we’re happier and more satisfied when we give ourselves and our families margin. Make time, space, and be UNproductive sometimes… simply because you’re doing something that lifts your spirits and those around you.
And if someone — no matter how small — interrupts you, invite them in and share the moment together. You’ll both be better for it.