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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at

If this too shall pass, what’s the point?

Categories: balance


My sunset. #pittsburghI’m usually proud to say that I get the temporary nature of life. Like, annoyingly proud.

When the road gets rough, I am the first to wisely counsel everyone that “this, too, shall pass.” I advise my loved ones to meditate so that they can let go of “future thinking” and stop “borrowing pain from tomorrow.” In an interesting turn of events, however, I’ve found that my emphasis on the impermanence of life has actually started to interfere with my ability to fully embrace the present.

That’s what smug enlightenment will get you.

My family sold 99% of our stuff - including our house - and moved into a travel trailer last year. We toured the country together for 10 months, stopped at my in-laws for 4 months, and just recently moved into our new home in Pittsburgh. We’ve decided constant roaming isn’t the best fit for us (or at least our kids) at this time, and so we’re trying to make a home for ourselves in a new place.

But, I have been struggling to let myself settle into the idea of home. The problem? I can’t forget about how temporary everything is.

For example, I avoid getting furniture that will fit this place because we’re renting and maybe it wouldn’t fit in whatever place we live in next. There are no pictures of loved ones or kids’ art work on the walls, because then we’ll just have to patch the nail holes when we move. I’ve created a sort of flop house for my family instead of a home.

A friend of mine has recently decided that she is leaving her job when her husband retires next year. Having made that decision, she’s now struggling to cope with once-minor annoyances when she’s at work. She calls it Short-Timers Syndrome. Her problem is really not that different than mine, except that her future exit is certain and mine is assumed, but the awareness of an eventual end is distracting us both.

In my case, I think I’m afraid of wasting my time or money creating something. What’s the point, I tell myself, if it can all be dismantled in a weekend garage sale? Why bother putting down roots here if I will just have to go through the painful process of digging them up again some day? For all my talk of things passing, somewhere along the line I’ve picked up a fear and a sadness about the passing of things.

I have only to imagine telling my kids that they shouldn’t bother making friends with the kids in their class now because they probably won’t even know them later in life to realize that this is not the way I want to approach my life.

In her comment on my blog, another friend of mine shared this bit of wisdom on the topic:

“Another really wispy and elusive piece to the puzzle has been mindfulness about our location. Being present, being here, not living in the future and making decisions based on what-ifs, could’ves, should’ves, maybes, next times, and the like. Because it can ever be home if we never allow ourselves to BE there. And just because we allow ourselves to BE here, doesn’t mean we can’t change our minds later.”

For the umpteenth time, I’m searching for balance - this time between acknowledging that this will pass and celebrating where we are at the moment.

Have you ever struggled to settle in, either in a home or a job, because you knew it wasn’t forever?

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4 comments so far...

  • All. The. Time.

    I force myself into “permanent” decisions because I’m paralyzed from making any decision at all, when I’m not sure whether or not it’s the right investment forever and then feel guilty and like a failure when the “permanent” decision I made ends up being temporary. But are any decisions really permanent? I’d wager there are very few, so why do I beat myself up over it?

    Diana  |  September 19th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

  • @Diana - YES. I totally beat myself up when a “permanent” decision becomes temporary. Also, I think you just described my husband’s anxiety issues perfectly.

    Miss Britt  |  September 19th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

  • Every day of my life. Thank you for the validation!

    Carly  |  September 19th, 2012 at 1:47 pm

  • So right on the mark! I just read your post about home and was totally shaking my head “yes” thru the entire post… and again on this one! We are on what we originally said was a year-long RV adventure… And hesitated making it “home” cause it was temporary. Well, we finally decided that whether we live in it for 6 months, 1 year or 10 years, we want to love BEING here. But we’ve lived that way for the past 3 years (moving 4 times).

    Teri H  |  September 19th, 2012 at 2:44 pm