I remember things getting busy in high school.
I’d do very little all year, and then come final exam time, I’d lock myself in my room with a calculus textbook, feeling overwhelmed, but only slightly, and spend three days filling page after page with equations and formulas, crumpling every page as I filled it, and throwing it over my shoulder. Finally I would emerge on the morning of my exam, gather all the crumpled balls together, throw them out, and head to school. It was always an A+.
I remember things getting busy in university.
I have taken four different psychology courses in one semester, against better advice of the dean, the department advisor, and all of my friends. The first two weeks of every course were spent learning the same damn thing. For those who do not know – all second year psychology courses start with the methods chapter. Reliability, validity, independent and dependent variable – again and again. Repetition is a good thing, right? Once we got through the overlapping material, things got busy. Different topics, different theories, different definitions – hundreds added every week. I remember staring at my notes for the physiology course, drowning in brain parts, and neuron components. While procrastinating studying for my final exam, I counted every single bolded term in one of the chapters. One hundred and sixty seven terms. In ONE chapter. I had over twenty chapters to review and know. And that was just for ONE course. Rinse, repeat. After finishing my final exam in that particular semester, I remember a distinct feeling of being lost. What the heck was I supposed to do now? No assignments, no chapters to read. Nothing.
I remember things getting busy after grad school.
I was planning my trip to India, taking eight months off. To make that possible, I worked two full-time jobs. Teaching ten courses at three different colleges. Oh, and practicing yoga six times a week. And teaching bootcamps. And taking a philosophy course. I was up at 5am, and did not get home until after 10pm, feeling squeezed and emptied out of any life essence. I brought all of my meals with me for the day – half a dozen of plastic containers, snacks, pieces of fruit. I ate in my car, driving from one course to another. I slept in my car – if I arrived to my next class twenty minutes early. I started getting injured left and right – little injuries, nagging things – knee hurting, wrist sprained, shoulder pinched.
I remember things getting busy when I started coaching, and working from home.
I spent the first four months of that year, pulling fourteen hour days, utterly convinced that every single person on the planet, except me, knew what they were doing. Working from home was a welcome but difficult transition – your commute time is cut down to four seconds. I would roll out of bed, make coffee, and then spend all day staring at the screen, occasionally getting up to raid the fridge. Around 8pm, I’d drag my sorry ass to the gym – a ten minute drive. I’d return by 10pm, shower if I was feeling extra peppy, and pass out.
Well… things are getting busy again.
It seems that there is a certain ebb and flow to the amount of work, number of commitments, projects and all the things that fill up life from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed.
I used to joke that we all have “that” year every decade or so. The year where your life falls apart, and you have to push through and pick up the pieces, and sort of glue them together, until that year is over, and the sun comes out again. It seems that “things get busy” more frequently – every few years or so – and I’m overdue. ????
It’s amazing to go back and read a blog post from October 2013 – things were getting busy, and I was feeling it.
[quote]Driving from work at 10pm, I finally pull into my parking spot. I’ve been up since six. Today I wrote, I taught yoga, I had a coaching appointment, I ran, I drove to another city to teach psychology, I did grocery shopping, and a dozen of other things that I already forgot doing.
My feet hurt so bad that I actually seriously consider taking off my shoes, and walking to the elevator barefoot. As I open the door, and drop my bag on the floor. I warm up late dinner, opening the microwave before the timer is up – the food is luke warm. I shrug and dig in. Then I drop on the bed face first.
I know you have those times too. For parents and teachers, it’s the fall. For accountants, it’s tax season. Crunch time.[/quote]
Feels a little surreal to read this. It’s as if everything old is new again.
The good thing… I am picking up on the pattern. I know what this means. I know it’s temporary, and I know that fourteen hour days are not actually productive. The awesome side effect of coaching others is that you spend the entire day, identifying patterns, seeing themes, and helping others to brainstorm, set goals, and move forward.
I know which tradeoffs are worthwhile, and which are not. I will never cut down on sleep again to get more done. My workouts will stay. My writing will stay. Many other things can bite the dust for now.