I was between meetings last week and decided to pull up some inspirational talk radio. I wanted to hear about the topic which popped up in the player box, but the host was a little off subject at the top of the show. I thought she might be breaking the ice for a minute or two, but she spent ten minutes telling her guest about her Summer so far. She ran down each activity her children participated in, and then compounded it with a daily overview of her own busy schedule. She wasn’t energized by a lot of fun activities or happily surprised how everything came together. Instead, she complained about trying to juggle everything; she was literally out of breath describing her day. I was exhausted simply by listening to her. The amazing part was that she didn’t have an intention of complaining. A short question of “How’s your Summer going?” turned into a rant that took them up to the first commercial break.
If you’re someone who’s starting to sketch out your Fall schedule, take this as a cautionary tale. As I listened, it sounded like the radio host agreed discretely to a lot of activities. It was only as the calendar came together that she understood how underwater she was (and that the entire family was starting to drown, too).
I had a similar experience a couple of years ago. My hair stylist began to work every other weekend. Although it was a little inconvenient, I was more than willing to adjust since she had been my stylist for many years and did a great job. A year later, though, she decided she would only work during the week so she could spend more time with her children. While I honored her decision, things got more difficult for me. I found myself in a literal and figurative traffic jam. It was increasingly hard to get into one of her few evening appointments, and it also entailed driving an extra 30 minutes in rush hour traffic opposite to my regular destination. By the time the appointment was done, I got home 2 hours after my regular time – much longer than the appointment took me on a weekend. After a while, I decided to go back to a Saturday schedule with an alternate stylist, even though I was very sorry to end the long business relationship.
You may be facing a similar situation this Fall. Something that seems small to accommodate or “just one more thing” to work in as I mentioned in “Why Am I Drawn to This?“. Before you say yes, remember to white space your calendar. Leave a little breathing room. An opening for some fun, or even a peaceful moment or two. And don’t forget to check back in over Christmas break. In the words of columnist Jan Denise, “I’ve been getting rid of some clutter — anything that doesn’t serve a positive purpose in my life — and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I’m not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it.”