My neighbors must shake their heads at my comings and goings lately. Seems all I do is load and unload my car: Props, costumes, cases of water, bottles of wine, snacks, chairs, tables, posters, tents….. and, although I live alone, the grocery bags are pretty much a daily thing. They must wonder, “How much can one woman consume?!”
I feel like an event planner at party central, between work affairs, book events, music commitments and my personal, social life. This juggler has too many balls in the air and one of them is bound to drop, unless I make some difficult (but necessary) changes.
I need to find a way to slow down within the confines of a very fast life.
Recently, it dawned on me that I am so harried preparing to run to the next thing that I am not fully enjoying what I am presently doing. As much as I love everything I do, it is humanly impossible to fully engage when your plate is this full.
God, give me the strength to endure my blessings.
Over the past couple of years, I have downsized the ‘stuff’ in my life drastically. Purging was a positive experience and left me feeling lighter and more connected to that which remains. But what about things that are not physical in nature? We cannot throw them into a dumpster or donate them, yet they weigh us down and drain our energy. I need to purge things unseen.
I am staging an intervention. For myself.
When there are two opportunities in the same day, my solution is to split the time between the two, so as not to miss anything. This past weekend, for example, I had two important invitations on Saturday. I attended the first for a few hours in the late afternoon before dashing off to the second for the rest of the evening. Sunday, the same thing. I had a book signing that ended at 1:00pm, which was the start time for a party that was happening an hour’s drive away. I did it all. No regrets. I learned an important lesson. The Monday morning tiredness I felt was different that the usual exhaustion. Instead of bone-weary, adrenaline-driven fatigue that I have been feeling, I was contentedly depleted. Instead of feeling lethargic, I felt slightly energized.
The heart that gives, gathers.
Maybe it’s not only about how much, but what, I do with my time. In addition to cutting back my obligations, perhaps I need to be more discerning about which ones I accept. After all, I like being active. Even those occasions when I swear I am going to sit on the beach or the couch for a day, I never make it past an hour or so. Then I’m desperately looking for something to do.
Sleep is an ongoing problem for me. I average 3.5 hours a night. I wonder if maybe my brain is unable to slow down after a typical day of social roulette. Being this booked means poor nutrition, too. I am far too busy to prepare healthy meals, which is why last summer’s clothes are mostly too tight. Exercise? Ha! You know how that goes… It always seems to be the first commitment to fall off the list.
So, I have a plan. Well, sort of.
It’s not reasonable to disband my responsibilities. Instead, I’ve decided to build in some short periods of time that will allow me to disconnect and refresh. For example:
- A quiet hour in the morning with a cup of coffee. Not television, no music, no phone. Not every morning, but when possible.
- One hour in nature, preferably by myself. A swim at the beach, a hike in the woods, relaxing under the big maple tree in the yard, a walk along the waterfront during lunchtime.
Along those lines, I’m going to make time for the things that I love to do but from which I have fallen away.
- I’m going to start reading again. I always had two books – what I was currently reading and one on deck, for when I finished the first. I lost the ability to concentrate two summers ago and stopped. Reading is a great way to escape without going anywhere.
- I’m dusting off my camera equipment. The convenience and improved technology of iPhone capabilities has rendered me lazy. It’s time to put in the effort. Because it was personally satisfying for me to take photographs. And photo shoots tend to be peaceful, since I prefer landscapes.
More is less?
How are additional tasks going to make me feel less harried? I’m hoping that my commitment to these events will result in my saying ‘no’ to some other ones. Before accepting new responsibilities, I am going to ask myself, “How will this feed me?” If it’s all drain and no return, I’m going to do my best to politely decline. I’ll be sitting in the shade, reading a book, instead.