Last spring, I started a new part time job, working as the admin assistant in a local real estate firm. I took a deep breath, put on my big girl pants and figured I was just going to juggle it into everything else I had going on, thinking that once I got through the end of May, I’d have more breathing room. Well, May became July. And then July became November and I began to realize I needed to make some permanent cuts to my activities, because at the rate I was going, that breathing room in November was going to get pushed back to who knows when – probably some February snowstorm that shut everything down for a few days. One should not have to have fantasies about winter snowstorms in order find breathing room and so I realized, I needed to make some changes.
There wasn’t one singular moment that pushed me over the edge – it was a good handful of things that made me take stock and realize what I needed to let go of and who I needed to start saying no to. And so last week, I got busy with the process of getting un-busy. I stepped off the board of Market Central, I found myself a back up instructor for a new cooking program I’ve been working on (that I’ve yet to mention here) and I even turned down a new free lance assignment! We’ve backed out of some weekend plans, so that instead of trying to cram everything we need to do into an already packed week, we can plan on getting things done when we’re all home, gloriously unscheduled. I still have some projects and commitments outside of my M-F job, but I’ve gotten selective about them. I’m still working with PB&J Fund, but I’m down to working with them one day a week instead of two. I’ve got a gardening article due next week to a regional publication I enjoy working with as well as a series of fall canning classes scheduled with Happy Cook.
There has also been a behind-the-scenes house reorg going on all summer – it started with a new dresser for Edie, then I found a new entertainment center for the den and so there’s been a reshuffling of furniture (and lamps and end tables) throughout the house, with not one room getting satisfactorily finished. The painters finally arrived last week to paint the exterior trim – a project months in the making – but completely trashing the flower beds around the house (which was fully expected and maybe even slightly welcomed as an excuse to give them some overdue attention). Chaos, which has pretty much always been the rule here, has been even more out of hand than usual and I may have actually reached a threshold where I don’t appreciate chaos as much as I used to. I don’t even want to know what that says about me. I’ve always thrived in chaos, so learning to quell it instead of successfully navigating it feels foreign, yet comforting.
In the last week or so, I’ve made more time for me – something seriously lacking these last few months. I read three books last week and started a fourth – and only one was a cookbook. I can’t remember the last time I whipped through a book, let alone three in one week! (Okay, that beach trip helped with one of them, but still.) I’m making long overdue plans with girlfriends and carving out gym time again. I’ve been plagued with anxiety attacks and some wicked insomnia over the last few months, but I can report, last night was hands down the best night’s sleep I had in I don’t even know how long. That is definitely something I can learn to live with.