Hello Friends! It feels like it has been FOR-EVER since I have spent some quality time around these parts. The reason is quite simple. I have been off having one of the best vacations of my life. I feel like I owe you a full life update. I completed my degree about a month ago. Along with finishing up school, I have had the good fortune to land my dream job! Very exciting! And the good news does not stop there, I have been able to take a couple of weeks off before starting my big real world job. This career opportunity is here in Baltimore, so I quickly put together a plan to maximize seeing people. I started with my first trip to Brooklyn to see my cousin and then headed out West to see family in Sonoma County, California (wine country) and of course plenty of time was spent in Oregon.
All this adventure having did come at a price. When I first decided I was going to be taking this trip I realized I was already neglecting this site. School and job hunting had become all time-consuming. At first I thought about what a great opportunity it would be to practice my picture-taking skills and develop the At A Glance series while on vacation. Really get some blogging done too. But with more time I realized that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time. I love Sweet Athena and the time I have put into this blog. However, while I rarely like to admit it, I just can’t do it all. This vacation home was going to be a special one. I was meeting lots of new babies. Linz was on maternity leave, while other friends were also taking/had weekdays off. I made a choice to go a bit easy on blogging. So, what is this post about exactly? Not taking a break from blogging, but rather the bigger idea of making choices in what we do with our time.
Earlier in the summer I heard the idea that we live in the age where the problem is not about getting information it is about filtering it. I’ve been turning this idea over in my head all season. We have a lot coming at us all the time. Going on the Internet alone is a mine field of time holes one can get lost in. Of course some lead to thought-provoking moments or ease the stress of the day with a hearty laugh, but to get there you often have to sift through mindless articles and (at times) pointless status updates or pictures.
While this idea certainly works when talking about technology and media, it really applies to a lot more. We live in this amazing time where our choices are endless. I could spend my evening writing this post and reflecting on these ideas, however there are also restaurants to try, friends to catch up with, paths to run and books to read. It is overwhelming to think about all we can choose to do in a day. Then of course it goes deeper because it is not just about choice, but also about what feels like obligation. We put pressure on ourselves, along with loved ones and society to do it all. Be well read and informed, cook healthy, tasty meals, from sustainable sources, of course, while also being up on the latest movie, TV show and music. There is a lot going on and it can be hard to know where to draw the line for ourselves, what to make a priority.
I recently read a post from Renegade Mother about finding that ever elusive work-life balance. I.loved.it. It basically called bullshit on the idea that we can do it all. The article discussed how different things at different times need more priority and that’s okay. We don’t have to, nor should we expect ourselves to be running on a tight rope holding up every goal we ever had all at once.
How does this apply to me? I decided I was going to go to Oregon and make three things a priority: spend time with loved ones, eat lots of good food and be outdoors. That was it. I had a couple of side goals (because damn it, it sure is hard to let go of the idea of being productive and getting stuff done). One of my goals was to make sure to do my adventure posts. Things like regular blog updates, checking email and even working out on a schedule was all going to be pushed aside to be replaced by my three priorities.
While I was attempting to be in the moment with loved ones this amazing thing happened. Half way through the trip I got together with a bunch of my friends for a full day BBQ, lounge outside, be silly and relax session. This was on a Sunday. A day I should have completed an Adventure post. I hung with Linz and Nisha all day long and not once did it occur to me that I should have set aside some time to write my post. I didn’t even realize I had missed it until two days later. While I was embarrassed and apologetic (as I should have been for saying I would do something and then forgetting) I was also impressed with myself. Have I said I would post something on the blog to Linz and then not done it? Ummm, too many times to count. But this was different, my missed post was due to too much fun. I didn’t mismanage my choices for the week and not have time to write it, I was literally having such a good vacation I had completely forgotten about the few obligations I had. It’s kind of amazing, right? We live in this world of to-dos, and musts, that moments where you are so relaxed you miss something actually becomes special.
Again, this isn’t about missing a post. It’s about the idea that we all have expectations on ourselves and a flood of information coming at us. How do we “balance” it all. This experience and article have really made me realize the value of not always doing it all. That it can be good at certain points in your life to really put your weight behind a few goals. Of course my goal was being in the present with friends and family, but if you replaced that with work, this story wouldn’t sound so sweet. However, that is life. A million things coming at us all at once. How are we dealing with it? How are we deciding what to do?
I have loved this adventure series. For me this series has been about being thoughtful with my time. There are more choices than I can count about how I could choose to spend my free time. This series gave me new perspective. Perhaps many of you are really good at just relaxing and doing the fun things you always mean to do. You wake up on a Saturday morning, no plans and then you just go off and remember that thing you have always wanted to try, and boom you are doing it. I imagine though a lot of you are like me. We need to recognize and check in with ourselves about our time. It’s funny how much work it actually takes to be fully engaged in life. But that’s basically what I’m saying. The world is full of so much stuff, which makes it incredibly easy to zone out on the fluff. You might end up just focusing on the fact that there is more stuff you “have” to do. Instead it is important to be mindful when thinking about how to spend your time. I hope Nisha and I in one of our posts have given you a moment’s pause to be inspired to get out into the world and go after what you really want.
My Aunt’s Backyard in Albany, Or
At the top of the Empire State Building, midnight
Bald Peak State Park, Or
Winery in Sonoma County, Ca
First night back in Baltimore at Camden Yards