Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Finding Life Balance
Freeze for a moment on this second in my life. Time ticks by, I try and fail to get a proper breath, and then I roll all the windows down, desperate for some air. Finally, halleluiah, I managed to take several, slow deep breaths.
My mind scanned the possibilities before me—heart attack? Unlikely, I’m a tall, athletic, health nut with no family history of heart problems. Panic attack? Hmm…unlikely, but still…the idea settled in my brain, and as I drove I examined the possibility. I’m normally unfazed under pressure. Actually, I normally thrive under pressure, but I realized as I was driving that perhaps I had forced myself to thrive under pressure for too long.
Fast forward to the next day. I had several moments in the day where I felt like I couldn’t get a proper breath. What the heck was going on? I scanned the radio looking for something that wouldn’t frazzle my nerves more and turned on National Public Radio. Diane Reamer was interviewing Allison Pearson, the author of I Don’t Know How She Does It.
I was immediately interested. Mrs. Pearson was speaking about getting over depression which had resulted from years of pushing herself to work in overdrive. After listening to the entire interview, I had an epiphany. NO, I’m not depressed, but I have been pushing myself to work in overdrive for years. As I approach forty, I realize I want better life balance. I am in control of everything. If my life is too hectic I’ve made it that way. So, in the last two weeks, I have been striving toward my goal of life balance. I am still working on my writing, but not so much that I leave time for little else.
I started making list of things I need to do, and I put the most important things at the top. If the rest doesn’t get done, one thing I can tell you for certain is that the unfinished task will be there tomorrow.
In the spirit of life balance, I went to the lake with my girlfriends this weekend. I had a blast. I have some of the most wonderful friends in the world, and I am blessed to have a circle of soul sisters who would stand by my side no matter what.
Also in the spirit of balance, my husband and I decided to buy tickets to see one of our favorite rock bands, The Foo Fighters. We’re both going to leave everything behind for two glorious days, while my mother-in-law watches our children. The concert is far enough away that we get to stay overnight.
In the spirit of balance, I organized my house! This sounds crazy, but I’m very type A, and in the last year or two I’ve focused so intensely on writing that I’ve let some areas become disorganized because I was too busy writing. Not anymore! I cleaned that junk drawer, cleaned out my kids closets, and got on Shutterfly to organize and create an album for all the pictures I’ve taken in the last two years that have been sitting on my camera’s flashcard untouched.
I feel good! That inability to get a proper breath is gone! Everyday, I ask myself what is something you want to do for you that you think you don’t have time for, and then I do it. Yesterday, I bought a coupon organizer and today I’m going to actually organize them! This makes me happy! Crazy but true! I’m also going on a field trip for my son, and I am going to take one hour to finish writing my latest chapter. Everything else on my list will be there tomorrow if it doesn’t get done.
How do you do it? How do you tame the beast to try and do everything in order to keep yourself stress free? I’d love to hear from you!
Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem