I was chatting on the phone with my mother yesterday, telling her about the various things I was working on: my students, clients, the festival, etc. I was explaining that February and March had a lot going on in them and that perhaps April or May might be a better time for her to come and visit.
Gosh, she said. Sounds like you’re really busy!
Well, no. Not really. And the point is that I don’t want to push myself over to “Busy”.
It seems there are only two ways to be these days. You’re either stuck at home with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see, or you’re running around like a crazy person, balancing work with homeschooling, a video project here, a side business there. So busy that you can barely breathe.
If there is one thing I have learned from my life-long training as a) a freelance musician and b) a business owner, it’s how much I actually CAN fit into one day (I know I’m not the only musician here who has fit in a quick luncheon gig between an orchestra double.) I’ve also learned what my limits are.
I know that if I push too hard M-Thursday, then Friday afternoon (just when I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel) will find me on the sofa with a raging migraine.
And I’ve learned that if I fill my schedule from top to bottom each day, leaving zero “white space” then I will start to feel blocked. I won’t have any ideas for blog posts, social media, new projects.
One of the main reasons I left my Always Busy Non-Stop life in Boston and moved to an island in the middle of the Atlantic was so that I could have a more balanced life and schedule.
There is no glamour in being busy all of the time, and these days, having that full a schedule means that I have lost control over what I’m doing. I’ve said yes to too many things, too many people, and I (and probably everyone around me) will pay the price.
What does an ideal week look like for me? It has my teaching and coaching work in the afternoons, mornings are free for calls and writing and practicing, and evenings are ALWAYS kept free. There is time to meditate, go for walks, meet up with my girlfriends for breakfast or lunch, and if the weather is nice, sit outside on my veranda and stare at the harbor.
When I hear people talk about how bored they are, I do feel a twinge of jealousy, but that’s because I equate “boredom” with “white space” and the idea of having days on end of white space sounds like an absolute luxury.
But I also realize that it’s about the same as eating chocolate cake 3 meals a day for days on end. It sounds amazing until you think about how sick you’ll feel after slice #3.
And it’s that sweet spot of waking up every day excited to get something accomplished but not feeling so maxed out that you’re working non-stop at all hours of the day to get it done. Of having things to do, but time to enjoy an afternoon coffee in a sunny spot.
It’s there, waiting for us, somewhere between boredom and busy.
Here’s to finding it this week!
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