Friday, June 12, 2009

Finding Balance

My sister and I were talking last night and she said something to me about how busy I am in the evenings. She asked "Don't you ever get sick of it? Don't you ever just want to stay home?" And the answer is... Well, yes.

But I have a problem slowing down and it has to do with the kind of things that I am doing in the evenings, namely: spending time with friends and loved ones, working part time jobs, volunteering, or attending meetings and functions for the nonprofit I am a part of. The nonprofit probably takes up the most time. Lately I have done a bit better there; I was on 4 committees and have been able to scale it down to 2. Even still I have, on average, three or more meetings a month. That doesn't sound like too much, but then I almost always also have at least one function to attend. So, that is 4 or more times a month, or at least once a week.

I would be sad to have to leave the nonprofit, I really enjoy and support the work that they do. I love feeling a part of this vital and important organization. In fact, I wish I had more time to devote to it, and frankly, the good thing is that most of the meeting are fairly short. It isn't as though they go late into the night! So, then I look at the other things on my plate...

Naturally I try to pick up as much part time work as I can. This is really important to me. Every extra dollar I can earn working at the part time jobs is one that can help me reach my goals. On the other hand, I do try to pick my shifts wisely. My employer allows me to submit a schedule I would like to work and then makes it from that. Some nights I will get, some I won't, so I try volunteer to work as many shifts as I can, knowing that I will get a portion of them. It is a little bit of a balancing act though, if I were to say I could do every night, then it is possible they would all be assigned to me - and I would be responsible for that. So I try to offer to do all that I can, without biting off more than I can chew.

As far as volunteer work, I don't do nearly as much as I once did, (unless you consider my work being on the board of the nonprofit.) I pretty much have taken a hiatus from it, though I know if a special project came along, I could be very tempted to help out. That is what happened in March, a project came along that I couldn't refuse - I wanted to work on it. However, I don't have any plans for volunteer work for the rest of the year.

Then there are friends and loved ones - I don't spend nearly enough time with them as it is! Currently they are getting the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" as my dad used to say. I love them for being so patient and understanding though. I am actively trying to work on being a better friend and at least make time for phone calls and emails, if nothing else.

So, what's a girl to do? My sister pointed out that in the past I had fewer reasons to want to be at home. Before I was married I had an apartment that required very little work, after I was married, well, when things started going bad the only thing I wanted was to be out of the house. But now that I have my own home (even if it is a whole lot more house than I would have ever bought by myself) I find myself want to be there more. I want to work in the yard, work on projects, and simply sit out on the porch with a good book.

I just read this wonderful article on "Pushing the Reset Button on Your Life" by On Simplicity that I loved, but I can't quite see how to do in my own life. I guess I am just not at the point where I am willing to let anything go. When that point comes, I will. But one of the things that I am trying to be better at is seeing the bigger picture when it comes to my calendar. Sometimes something will come up and see I have that night free and I'll jump on it - only to realize later that it was the only evening in two weeks I had to myself! I have a full month calendar I look at when I set dates and I have been trying to look at the whole thing before scheduling anything. I am also trying to be more proactive - setting up things or spending time with friends myself ahead of time.

My thought for the day is simply this - finding a little more balance in my life may be the silver lining to the fact that the part time work is going to be pretty slow this summer. My work for the nonprofit board also usually slows down in the summer, so even without making a lot of changes, July and August might be a bit quieter. Sometimes when life give you lemons, you have to make a lemon battery out of 'em.

Photo by: wooooody


April said...

Dawn: I am just getting around to reading your recent posts and this one has struck me. No words of advice other than this (appropriate for a Midwesterner): fireflies.

Think about it while you're juggling those lemons!

Dawn said...

I'm a Midwesterner too - and fireflies is a perfect reminder!