Growing up, my Daddy would always tell me not to put too much on my plate! He would explain this to me as though I had a meat and three. He would say that the meat was school, it was the most important thing and he would add that the sides were whatever I wanted them to be as long as I didn’t have more than three. He would go on to say that one side was work and the other two could be two extra curricular activities, but I remember thinking “what in the world does he know about my plate?”
In high school I was super excited about being involved! Once I started joining things I didn’t know how to stop! I joined anything that peeked my interest in the slightest bit with no hesitation! I remember one year in particular I was a member of the dance team, worked part time at Pizza Hut, and was involved in 5 organizations (Student Council – Class Secretary, Mu Alpha Theta, The Beta Club, the National Honors Society, and the Spanish Club)! My Daddy would remind me “Nikki, don’t put too much on your plate!” He knew I had A LOT going on and he warned me about doing too many things at once! I had a meat and seven! (LOL) And still I thought, “Huhhhh what does he know! I’VE GOT THIS!” (As most teenagers say who think their parents are wrong about everything!)
By the time I was in college I decided to give myself a small break, joining only three organizations within my first year. I was good with my meat and three! But by year three it was a different story…. I was working at Rue 21 and for Campus Housing, I’d joined five organizations and always took a 18 hours (the maximum amount) because at time I was determined to graduate on time with my double major. I had a meat and seven again! Sure enough my Daddy made his way back around to telling me, “Nikki, don’t put too much on your plate!”, and this time I became frustrated! I would say to myself, “Ughhhhh, why does he doubt me! Doesn’t he know I’m a SUPER WOMAN!” (Puts on cape! – LOL)
But the under that “S” on my chest and that fabulous cape was I was truly overwhelmed! I remember one night I was asleep on the clock at my 2-6am shift and almost lost my job! (Shout out to Ms. Ja’Net for giving me another chance -LOL) I often overslept or was tardy for my 8:00am class! And not to mention my grades began to drop. I finally realized my Daddy was right… I’d piled way too much on my plate!
Life is about balance, just like eating! The average meal should consist of the appropriate proportions from each category of the food chain. Problem is many of us over eat, bite off more than we can chew, take on more than we have time for, and even commit to more than we are capable of at that moment. We indulge in everything that looks good all at once and unfortunately we have to bare the burden of being heavy afterwards! Ever done that? I know I’ve been guilty of it! (LOL)
In life there has to be a balance! Being involved and committed in a number of things is great and I know from first hand experience it’s a wonderful feeling; however, there are trade offs! With being too involved and piling up too much on your plate there will be somethings that are half eaten, half done, or scraped to the side. Whether it’s your grades, your craft, or work, something will be sacrificed and slighted. What good is it to stretch yourself too far and to pile your plate with everything at once if that means you’re going to half do things! I don’t know about you, but honey I don’t like having my name on anything half done! If I’m in it I’m putting my all in in it, but that was impossible to do with having too many things going on at once.
It’s important to understand that your meat, in this case, is your main dish. It’s the thing that is most important in your life at the current time. Your sides, however, are able to be alternated and exchanged upon completion and/or a change of priorities. I’ve learned not to put to much on my plate and to fully commit myself to all that I have on it at once.
If you remember nothing else remember this, BALANCE!
What do you have on your plate?
By: Verinique D. Bailey, “The V. in Virtue”
***Thank you Daddy!***