When pouring a glass of sweet tea my paternal grandmother used to say, “Say when!” For those who aren’t used to the expression it just means that you would let her know she had poured enough tea in your glass. Theatre, commercials, sitcoms and movies have used that phrase over the years to pull off an old, but great comedy bit resulting in an overflowing glass, or wet lap because someone forgot to say, “when,” and the person pouring just kept pouring until it overflowed.
Life can be like that glass of sweet tea. Sometimes it fills so fast and if we don’t say, “when,” it spills over and makes a big mess. Perhaps you are already there. Life just keeps coming and you find yourself taking hit after hit with little time to replenish, think, or respond. Your glass is overflowing and now it’s dripping from the table onto the floor, on your lap. You try to clean it up, but it just keeps rolling down. You have to know when to say, “when”. If you don’t your life/work balance is going to drown.
Divorce, substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, broken relationships, dropping the ball at work, in and out of jobs, a pattern of short-term jobs or residences can nearly always be traced to the failure to say, “when”. Our appetites are nearly always bigger than our bellies so we just cram more and more into our lives. Ours and our families physical, emotional, and mental health suffers when we keep piling on.
Everything has a saturation point. Even good/healthy things can be trouble. Believe it or not, you can golf, fish, or shop too much. Seriously, even those offices of relaxation can become more like work when we are so driven by them. Even running can be bad for us when we run so much we ignore the signs of physical wear and tear.
Spring and summer are a great time to say, “when”. Things tend to be slower in the summer and we can let off the gas pedal, take stock and act with intention instead of reacting. Check your calendar and your credit /debit card statement. What’s occupying the most space in those? Are you spending too much time, or money on something that is eating your lunch? Is the glass overflowing at work because you can’t draw boundaries to protect your loved ones and personal health? Is your glass overflowing because you aren’t spending enough time on work projects that need your undivided attention? Despite being a Marxist, Sartre nailed it when he said, “We are our choices.” Are any of your choices resulting over and spilling onto other parts of your life? Know when to say, “WHEN!”
Monty Carter, WebSpeak Media