Doing the impossible

It had been too long since I’d connected with a friend important to me. When she slowed down enough for us to have coffee, she described how very hard it had become to manage difficult and demanding clients, a family that needed her, health issues, along with a patient and understanding partner who also wanted her to share moments with him and not always be preoccupied.

“I can’t do any more!” she said. “I just want to say $*@& IT!”

“If you can’t do any more, maybe you can do less,” I said, recalling something my French grandmother had said.

“What do you mean?”

“Once when I was overwhelmed, I asked Grandmama how to do what I thought was impossible. She gave me a short list of guidelines.

(1) Only take on tasks you believe in;

(2) Only work with those you can work with;

(3) Only accept work you can work on;

(4) Only set goals you can achieve;

(5) Only criticize yourself when it’s constructive.

“But Grandmama, that’s just common sense,” I said to her.

“ ‘Doing simple things that can be done is how the impossible things get done, Jessica,’ my grandmother said to me.

“So now, when I can’t get everything done I need to do, I just try to do what I have to do next. One step at a time, a day at a time. And try not to be too hard on myself for what I can’t do today.”

We ordered another coffee, spent another 15 minutes together, then it was time for each of us to go back to work.

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