Can pragmatism be taken too far ?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines pragmatic as ”dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories”

I personally see pragmatism it as keeping my life simple, uncomplicated, and if something works, it works.

I grew up in the 80s in the US, when everything was possible for women. I grew up believing I could do anything I wanted to do and had a lot of ambition. I wanted to study internationally. Live in Europe. Work for an international company.  Friends, husband & children, family were also an important part of my life. Encouraged by my parents, I did it all and more. I was focused, as a lot of women are, on getting it all done. Fitting it in. Keeping my head above water.

Work. Travel. Kids. Outside activities. Exercise. Planning for the future. Because I wanted it all, it pushed me to be extremely efficient. Proving myself in the workplace while keeping the home life going, pragmatism became second nature.

  • Ordered groceries on line and get them delivered
  • Always having a plan or an agenda to be sure everything was fit in
  • Obsessively anticipating the week or the month to avoid being overwhelmed

I did what I had to do, in the most pragmatic way possible. I became the to do list queen. But at one point, I felt like I was ticking the boxes. Do & move on. Do & move on.

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I started having trouble concentrating. Having memory issues. Burned out. While I loved my life, I felt like some of it was passing me by….

Luckily, the French culture rubbed off on me. Appreciating the small things. Taking it slow. Being spontaneous. Play is just as important as work. So I started making small changes…

  • Taking the time to have coffee with colleagues rather than running back to my desk after lunch
  • Not planning out everyday while on vacation but deciding what to do when we wake up
  • Going for a walk in a new city without having to map out my route before hand

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  • Not planning all my meals for the week, but deciding once I get to the market

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  • Sitting and talking for 2 hours with family or friends rather than thinking about what I should be doing
  • Trying a new fitness class on a whim
Zumba on vacation

Zumba on vacation

Not planning every minute of my day, giving up some of that pragmatism that was so engrained, has caused me to lead a richer, fuller life. Not being permanently glued to a to do list, and trying to find a pragmatic solution for fitting it all in all the time,  has changed my life for the better.

I am linking up with Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word. Pragmatic.



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Comments: 15

  1. Kimberly Hatting July 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm Reply

    Great insight! I agree, too much pragmatism can lead to OCD. Too much scheduling is just as stressful as totally winging it without a plan. It’s a constant struggle for me to find that balance….
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Calling Myself an Ultra-MarathonerMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 8:46 am Reply

      Having absolutely no plan stresses me out. I feel like I am wasting my time !

  2. Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness July 21, 2016 at 6:13 pm Reply

    I like this post. I’d like to think that I’m pragmatic in most aspects of my life but really I’m not and it looks like that’s okay. I guess sometimes you have to pick and choose! Sounds like you have a lovely life!

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 8:45 am Reply

      I do have a lovely life thank you. I planned ahead, set goals and made plans… and it pretty much worked out how I envisioned.

  3. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home July 21, 2016 at 9:44 pm Reply

    Oooh, such good food for thought! I’m not very pragmatic–but in some areas of my life I am. i am a meal planner–I loathe shopping and not knowing what to make for dinner. But I am flexible–like today, it’s boiling hot out and the meal I planned for tonight sounds too heavy. I can change it up if I want. Sometimes it’s nice to have everything planned out, tho.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…A Runner’s Gotta Do…My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 8:44 am Reply

      Its all about finding balance.

  4. Karen July 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm Reply

    That is awesome you grew to achieve all you dreamed about and more!
    You know, I love a list, so I can organize things when I feel I have too much to do…
    however too many things to do really can stress me out lol I just like to wing it based on how I am feeling, which why a tight schedule like training, in the past would d make me crazy.
    I don’t know what i am LOL
    I do know flexible is good 🙂
    Karen recently posted…How One Week Bleeds to AnotherMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 8:42 am Reply

      I think it is all about balance….

  5. Coco July 22, 2016 at 4:07 am Reply

    Great insight. I’m trying to take more time for fun and relaxation. I still have to plan ahead to get things done though.

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 8:42 am Reply

      I plan everything in advance but once in a while its fun not to. Which is exactly what I do on vacation now. No planning.

  6. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy July 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm Reply

    I think ANYTHING can be taken too far.

    I rarely plan out routes — whether I’m walking the dogs or running. I have some idea of where I want to go, but I decide when I’m out there.

    Meals, OTOH, I do plan. I try to preplan it the night before. I look at recipes on the weekend, and while I don’t plan it down to a T, I just have some idea of what I want for dinners, and then shuffle it around as need be.

    I find preplanning my meals actually helps me to be more flexible! I may totally change it up, but it’s easier to do with a plan already in place.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…You are not a numberMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm Reply

      I am an obsessive overplanner about everything except meals. I need to eat what I feel like and what my body wants on that day.

  7. Sonia July 25, 2016 at 11:24 am Reply

    I tend to be more pragmatic as well and sometimes that means saying no and missing out on things because I’m not spontaneous as before. But I now know myself well enough that I know in the end I made the right decision instead of going along with the crowd because I did what was best for me.
    Sonia recently posted…NYC Marathon Training Week #5My Profile

  8. Debbie @ Deb Runs July 26, 2016 at 3:12 am Reply

    I like your take on possibly taking pragmatism too far. Sounds like you’ve found the right balance now, though. BTW, the produce in that picture looks amazing. It’s beautiful how it’s displayed together.

    Thanks for linking up, Karen!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…The End Of A Very Special EraMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France July 28, 2016 at 6:31 am Reply

      We are lucky to have such great produce and it always looks that nice!

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