My dearest and most treasured friend, Kathie, made an interesting observation about me recently. She's always brutally honest and generally, spot-on with her comments. So, I try to listen. And take heed.
This particular insight hit close to home. Really close to home. She pointed out an issue that I've struggled with for a long, long time and distilled it down to a couple of sentences. Here is what she said:
"Janeen, you have no middle ground. You're are either taking life by storm, running at a hundred miles an hour, or you're completely downshifted into low or no gear."
There it is again, that elusive sense of equanimity that I simply cannot wrap my brain around: balance.
This week is the perfect example.
I was supposed to lay low while Ben was on vacation with his dad. Brush up on continuing education. Write some sample pieces for potential online gig. Finish a book. Organize Ben's school projects from last year. Troubleshoot the printer. Take a nap. Or two. Or three.
I also thought about doing a little bit of nothing or as the Italians call it, "far niente." My big vision of nothingness included a blanket to lay on, a book to read, maybe an Italian glass of wine to sip. I can almost feel the lines in my forehead relaxing every time I conjure up this image.
Here it is, Day 6, and none of the above happened.
Here's what did happen:
I took two Body Pump classes and two Body Attack classes and two Reformer classes and two yoga class. Don't do the math. It's too many damn classes.
I met up with four girlfriends one night for dinner and wine. I'm glad I had the foresight to pass on the wine because...
I then connected with my online friend, L, for more dinner and drinks the following night.
Then, the next day, I taught a late night class.
Are you still with me?
I took one whole workday and went shopping. Most of my clients were out on vacation and I needed swim suits and rashguards for an upcoming vacation. If you looked in my bags after I came stumbling through the door, you might also think that I needed sundresses, white pants, sandals, a purse, two long sleeve sweaters and a new lip gloss, too. To set the record straight, I did not need any of these items. And I came home with zero swim suits. Thankfully, REI saved the day by making kids rashguards big enough to fit female adults so I scored a pink, girls rashguard.
Then, this morning I went with 106 other people to a yoga fundraiser in McKinley Park. My girlfriend and I sweated through the 90 minute practice, then we hung out to register as bone marrow donors, which required multiple swaps of saliva and rather lengthy paperwork. We hiked it across the park to the Farmer's Market, then took the long way around, back to the car. Once we got back to her house, I went through of all of her clothes (because she is an amazing fashionista), trying on multiple dresses for multiple events this summer. Then it was on to her jewelry.
Arriving home, I realized that I had no food for Ben tomorrow - since he will not eat chicken, fish, vegetables, or flax - and those are the only things on the menu here theses days. So it was off to the grocery store to get the necessary items for his arrival: nuggets, hot dogs, mac and cheese (obviously "Operation Adult Food" is not going well).
Glancing around the house that I've hardly seen this week, I also realized that it was in dire need -especially the studio - of a major cleaning. And that all the yoga pants I own were in the laundry basket.
So now it's Saturday afternoon, the house is (relatively) clean, the pantry is stocked, most of the laundry is folded and put away. Is it time for a nap?
Oh yes, you're probably saying. Lay down. Close your eyes. Rest.
But no. There is one last thing and that is church with my Dad tonight and dinner after, which I've very much been looking forward to.
My friend Kathie is almost always right. I knew it this morning when I woke up with a sore throat.
So next week, next week will about slowing down. Not over-scheduling Ben. Not over-scheduling myself. Getting to bed before midnight. Spending some time in the home that we love.
It's so very hard for me to throttle back, to take the much-needed time of caring for myself. But I feel so much better when I do.
If there's one place I'd love to find, it's the middle ground. The place where I can manage my energy and my expectations and reality.
I'm still looking for it.
In the meantime, there are gym classes and nights with friends and yoga in the park and shopping. So many things to tempt me.
And, likewise, so many reasons to say "no," "no," "no" and "maybe next week."
I'm going to blog a week from today. We'll see how I did.