As we quietly slip out of our vacation rental and into the blackness of the early morning, I’m a little melancholy at the thought of vacation coming to a close so quickly. The morning seems to reflect my mood. As we make our way across the bay bridge, there’s a sliver of a moon reflected on the water’s surface, only its edges and reflection are both blurred by morning fog.
My mind feels foggy, partly from the lack of caffeine but also due to its aimless wandering. Eventually my thoughts turn toward the realization that while I am sad to see my vacation come to an end, it also marks a beginning…a recalibration of sorts.
As we drive northward, the knot of tension magically reappears between my neck and left shoulder blade. My tendency to become consumed by my work has GOT to change. After having spent a week waking with the sun, sipping my coffee, reading, walking, playing with my family and yes even writing again, I realize how out of balance I had become.
My life has always been a quest for balance. The search for balance in living a creative life is why I started this blog six years ago. Why is it so difficult to find equilibrium? To find that blissful place between consumption and ambivalence?
As the sun rises above Alabama skies and we wander the back roads of U.S. 331, my thoughts turn to the past two years, how life has changed mostly for the good, but with some serious adjustments.
I returned to full-time work outside of the home (I qualify this because I’ve never really stopped working full-time) and while I managed a good balance at first, I’ve been consistently putting in 60-hour weeks for the past eight months. As the months ticked by, my view became myopic, only allowing me to get through the next task, the next meeting. I found myself thinking, “If only I can get through X, I’ll be able to breath easier.”
But what I’ve realized this week is that the work will always be there, as evidenced by my endlessly buzzing Blackberry, which I managed for the most part to ignore for the week. People will always have needs and requests of me because it's the nature of the position I now hold. I need to better manage my expectations of myself, to pace myself. I’ve got to set boundaries—AND stick to them.
So I’m going to start this week with small changes.
I’m already up early most mornings so I’m going to exercise three of those mornings. I'm too tired when I get home at 7 no matter how good my intentions are at the start of the day. I’m going to leave my office at 5 every day because I miss having dinner with my family. And I’m going to return to writing…some of it may appear here, but because I'm writing more for me, more will appear in my private journals. We'll see where it leads.
My oldest son turns 18 this year. We’re looking at colleges and getting him ready for his next big adventure. I want to enjoy every minute of that experience.
Finally, I’m going to find the time to better enjoy the people in my life—my family, friends and those people who have meant so much to me over the years. Maybe this time, I’ll be able to make the recalibration stick.