Though it seems I wasn’t home for long (somewhere between two and three weeks) I was able to thoroughly rest and enjoy my family for the first vacation in years. With my typical work life and what people call my “insane” schedule, I found myself living the endless life of a workaholic: wake up around six or seven, work until midnight and then get up to do it all again. This was balanced between multiple jobs, radio producing, worship leading, bible study teaching, magazine editing, full time schooling…etc. And yes, I will sometimes admit that I did too much, and refused to cut things out of my life.
If you know me, you’ve heard the phrase “I’m a high capacity person, it’s how I function.” While this is true, and I stand by that statement. I will, and only over the internet, never in person, admit that 2 hours of sleep a night is not the healthiest lifestyle to lead.
I found joy in the things that swarmed my life, and therefore experienced sadness at the thought of letting them go. This endless circle of attempting to compromise my time and activities came to a sudden halt when I hit the tarmac in Boston earlier this December. I got home ready to run out and be with friends, go get dinner, see a movie, do something fun, but what I found, was sitting in a front of the fire with my younger brother while watching movies.
It was precious and needed, although I was fidgeting where I lay, itching to be active. But after a few days I thought my brain would explode. Rest is good for you, you need to slow down, it’s good you’re not working that often: things people told me. However, going from one thousand miles an hour to a dead halt made me feel purposeless.
My accomplishments over the first few days of Christmas break: started and finished Shadowhunters season one, watched three separate movies that no one’s ever heard of and I’m not quite sure how I came across them, finished a book I didn’t have time to get to in California, took multiple showers longer than 10 minutes, slept more than 2 hours a night (nearly 4 or 5!) and started a few other Netflix shows too. Everyday I’d crawl out of my TV cocoon walk downstairs and find and empty house at noon. I’d been going to bed around 6/7AM because I hadn’t let my body adjust to the time zone yet.
The kids were in school, sister and dad at work and mother running errands and helping friends. I felt stranded. I went for a run only to return to the empty house, take a long shower and crawl back to my cocoon. Eventually I was so fed up with my lazy lifestyle I nearly walked across town to go to a coffee shop for some social interaction but instead talked some sense into myself and viscously texted my California friends.
This is not the speed I enjoy. This is not a way to live my life. This is boring. It’s exhausting for no reason. I’m pathetic! I have no purpose!
When I finally got to leave the house and go Christmas shopping with family and friends I craved a continuation. I was addicted to action, I resented sleeping, I loved fun or just being out. Everything closing at nine at night on Cape Cod however, makes this addiction difficult to feed.
I went back to work, packed my morning with shopping trips, errands, coffee dates and social appointments. But when I hit a personal slow day and other people were busy, and I didn’t have a car or anything to do, I would get angry, frustrated, and upset.
This is my time off! HANG OUT WITH ME. I realized I enjoy being constantly busy because at least then, when people complain about me never having time for anything, I could accept it as truth. When I only have one day off and am ready and open to hang out with people… the world decides to hate me and make everyone else busy, which in turn frustrates me.
WHY…on my ONE day off…will you not hang out with me. Why are you busy. Naturally, I would recognize my feelings were ridiculous and unjustified and calm down, but then still be annoyed by unproductive day off.
This was a wildly long introduction all to say: I had the first New Year’s Eve off since I was thirteen; the first Christmas break to truly take time with my family and friends. And, although I was frustrated at the slow pace at times, I look back now and am grateful to have had the experience.
People: mentors, peers, friends, and family tell me I need to slow down. I disagree, but not entirely. I am a high capacity person; I like to do a lot; I like to do it well, and typically my sleep is the first thing I sacrifice. But, I have learned it’s important to dwell in the present. Ie: Don’t stop, but smell the roses.
I was able to enjoy things while they happened rather than look forward or focus on the future. I’m not perfect, I still look to the next thing. But having a sibling day, eating dinner as a family, and bringing in the New Year with karaoke are all moments that I was able to love because I was there.
As I write this, on a plane to Dublin and eventually Rome, I’m excited to implement this new philosophy. I am thrilled for the chance to study in Rome and travel Europe, but before even getting there, I worried about having too much free time. Free time is no good in my book. But now it’s an opportunity to dwell in the present, elongate my appreciation for traveling and simply give myself personal time.
My personal time will not be spent watching Netflix, because I’ve had my fill of that, but will be spent while recording the sounds of Europe, learning Italian, and walking the historical cobble-stone streets.
I will have an enormous amount of free time compared to my typical life, so I’m dedicating this blog as a log of my personal experiences. I have a feeling they’ll be exciting, exhilarating, and hopefully entertaining.
I will also be creating a podcast for each major city I visit while waltzing through Europe, paired with movies and music.
Farewell Cape Cod, thank you for your lessons in rest, my apologies for my stubborn head, and Buongiorno Italia.
Blog you soon!
Bri, the barefoot traveler