I created a new business today. It’s mine, so don’t steal it. I had a packed day. It was mid afternoon. I was tired, hungry, dehydrated, and running late. As I am driving to my next appointment, I start thinking about how great it would be if there was a “coast-thru” coffee shop. Sort of like a drive-thru but you don’t have to stop. You just slow down a little and they loft your coffee and bottled water in the car to you. You can place your order from an app. They’ll have your card on file that is linked to your license plate. It’s kind of like the fancy tollway but they lob coffee into your car. Genius? Or Pathetic?
We were out of town over the weekend. It was a much needed break from the daily grind. However, it replaced my weekend spent prepping for the week. I usually rest up, work out, clean house, do laundry, grocery shop, meal plan, etc. And while these tasks do add a bit of value to my weekly performance, they have started to suck me dry. I have never been a very spontaneous person (I’m still a Virgo, never a Leo), but lately not at all. I have minimized regular fun in my life and found myself pretty tightly wound. And that control that I have maintained has made forget about one of my favorite coping mechanisms.
Up until about three years ago, my mom worked for American Airlines. Yep, I was an airline brat. I took regular weekend getaways for free and flew to Japan first class for less than a coach ticket from RDU to ORD. It was great but it was normal for me. I left for college with no remorse, because I could hop a flight and be home quicker than many of my friends attending in-state schools. If I was having a stressful week, I would call my mom or a friend back home and plan a trip to be there in two days, maybe just for an overnighter. As soon as you got on the plane, peace would set in. For the duration of the flight, I would disconnect from the world, still no in-flight internet 3 years ago and cell phones off. I would watch the plane take off while everything below got smaller and smaller, in perfect proportion to the stress I was dealing with. I would forget the day to day woes, parting with my insignificant grief, and perspective would be restored in a few short days.
In recent years I have been very focused on keeping my life contained and controlled so that I could be at my peak level for my clients. Therapy is no joke. I can’t sort of be present for that job. My main goal for my weekends is to recoup from the previous week and prep for the next week. Eating well, working out, and getting sleep are essential to that but they are what keep me at baseline. This is essentially maintenance, people. A good night’s sleep is not what elevates my life. New sites, new people, old friends, reading, relaxing, putting worries out of sight, Laughing. Now that is what elevates my life. Maybe most importantly was admitting how I was feeling. It’s funny how good I have gotten at listening and how hard it is to let others to focus on me. Chuck got me to open up about the work stress that I have been feeling and he willingly processed new ideas with me, leaving me with renewed energy. The conversation seemed easier and more relaxed with a bit of physical distance.
This was one of the first trips that I have taken in a while that didn’t seem like a hassle. Usually I will return feeling more stress because my laundry isn’t done and my lunch isn’t packed for the next day. I went at it with the reminder of being in the moment, embracing the opportunity for new sights, and for the appreciation of travel. I have felt that a piece of me has been missing since I haven’t been able to travel as much, but I think it’s coming back. Work is important to me, but my clients can’t have all of me. I need a bit for Me. A wellness ritual is important to me, too, but it can’t be all of me. There is a great line from Eat, Pray, Love– “Sometimes getting out of balance is living a balanced life.” I think that occasionally I need to push myself off balance. I can always get back on next weekend.