In recent weeks, life has slowed down a bit due to family vacations, and we've had a breather from our "regular" hamster-wheel routine of school/camp/commute/work/dinner/errands/kids activities/life/rinse-lather-repeat. It's given me some space to step back and contemplate. In short, with the slower pace of the last few weeks, I feel like I can breathe again.
This pace we are living at here in America is no good. I have known it for a long while now, but this down time really made me realize that much as the body starts to eat into muscle while extremely calorie-starved, this life is eating away at my soul. I am moving so fast trying to keep all of the balls in the air that I have pared the "me" parts of my life down to the bone. There is nothing "extra" left, and I've realized that as I try to support my family financially, ensure that the kids are having the life I want for them, further my career, etc., etc., entire parts of me are being extinguished as I've moved into mere survival mode.
I'm trying to envision ways to find better balance, but it's incredibly hard. I said "no" this week to a two week business trip that would have been a huge professional opportunity that could have led to other things--but would have meant missing Miss M's first day of school at her new school, and possibly also canceling my upcoming second week of vacation (which I wanted to take weeks ago, but was forced to push off because of other professional obligations). Oh, and they only gave me two weeks' notice of the trip.
Was saying "no" a good idea? Personally, yes; professionally no. Is that "balance"? I suppose that depends what happens from here. . .if I miss out on a professional opportunity that I'm currently seeking that would mean fewer hours, because I didn't take this trip, that would be a loss for all of us. . .but then there is the first day of school, which is something. It MEANS something to be there in the morning and take her in. It MEANS something to have this upcoming week of vacation together. It MEANS something to be there at the end of the day to talk about how her day went, in person and not on FaceTime. It MEANS something to tuck her in that first week.
The struggle continues.