There is dirty laundry everywhere. The stack of dishes needing to be washed is piling up and out of the sink. Each morning I have been hastily tossing some cat food towards the cat’s dish as I rush out the door in hopes that he’ll figure it out and eat whatever spills onto the floor. At least a week’s worth of mail is sitting, unopened, on the table.
If this were a cliche analogy, not only are my ducks scattered– I think some of them might be dead.
Because my week looked like this:
All the pink and purple is something to do, somewhere to be. And weeks before this looked similar and weeks to come are just as packed. Last night was an early night– home at 7:45PM– but I was so exhausted that I just crashed on the couch for 2 hours. Which is am improvement over the night before, in which I completely snapped. A big, hairy tantrum in response to this overwhelming feeling that everything was wrong and I was failing at mostly everything.
When I am tired, poorly fed, and improperly exercised my mood (and the subsequent mood of those around me, I am sure) takes a significant hit.
I find this aspect of life to be the most difficult to balance because how I schedule my time makes so many ripples. An extrovert to the core, I rely on these social events to keep me going. Usually, I can count on a good happy hour to keep me out of a funk and this week was actually no exception. For the several hours I spent with friends I was engaged and delighted to be with them. Also, it would be incredibly foolish of me not to recognize and be so very grateful to have friends who live close and want to spend time with me– I am blessed a thousand times a day by their companionship and support.
That said, I think I need to learn to say no. I am incredibly good at it in my professional life. I set very clear boundaries for what I think is my professional “swim lane” and I only splash elsewhere in the pool if invited or directed. This is efficient and productive.
But personal life isn’t about getting a product rolled out by 4:30 on Thursday. Evenings and weekends– that’s real life and I don’t want to waste a single second of it. I want to splash ALL AROUND the pool– going to different events, trying new things, grabbing a drink with everyone.
Saying no to fun in order to do my laundry sounds lame, especially in the summer– a fleeting gift to those of us in the northland. But I am about to become the stinky friend. And the unwashed forks and coffee cups might be slowly killing me inside.
I know the upcoming weekend, week, and following weekend is another stretch of busy days. My game plan is:
- RUN. I took the week off due to a foot injury, but it’s feeling better. Running is my drug of choice and it totally calms me. If I still cannot run, I need to put in some serious time at the gym. There should be sweating.
- Patience. When I am with friends or at an event, my mind should not be consumed with what is happening next. I should be in the moment.
- Plan to be flexible. I wish I was spontaneous and go with the flow because I think it would suit my personality best. But I really can only be that way within the confines of a predetermined plan. It sucks. I’m human. This week, I will make a plan that includes some free time but still stay flexible.
- Fewer dinners out. It’s breaking the bank, it’s impossible to eat well, and dinner at home forces me to have some time to myself. Shorter happy hours or drinks in the later evening.
- Say no. It’s hard to say, it makes me feel guilty, and it feels like a giant missed opportunity. But I think for a while it is going to be essential at times. At least until the dishes get done and the laundry put away.
- Hang in there. Life is good and sweet and this is a beautiful part of it. If I stick with it and weather this very busy time, it will pass and things will return to normal. Things do always have a way of finding a natural and healthy balance.
How do you find balance during these crazy summer months?