Now, I should probably back up and explain how my doctor got to this question. It was preceded by this series of queries:
- “What do you do for a living?” Well, I work in advertising.
- “What time do you get to work?” I’ve been trying to get to the office between 7:30 and 8:00.
- “What time do you leave?” Lately I’ve been leaving around 6:00ish.
- “That’s a 10-hour day.” Yes, it is.
- “What are you doing when you leave here?” I’ve got some work to get done, since I left early.
And then she paused before asking the big one…”What do you do for yourself? Painting? Spending time with friends? Bowling? Do you do anything?”
Well, I try.
The true fact is, she hit on a question I’ve been asking myself for months. While it’s not like I work every single hour of the day, when I’m not doing work, I’m probably thinking about work. I don’t do a lot for fun or inspiration. When I get home at 6:30 or later, the last thing I want to do is go out again. The boy and I usually just make dinner and then we settle in for some time in front of the tube before heading to bed. Not exactly the most thrilling of lives.
Now, I know why she asked the question – I fully understand that doing something for yourself, outside of work, is good for your personal life and your career. If I had something else to focus on, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, I think it would help. After all, I do fear the dreaded b-word – burnout – just as much as the next person.
The last few weekends, we’ve been trying to get out of the apartment and do something fun one day and then chill out the other day. A few weeks ago, we went to the Minneapolis Science Museum. Last week, we went to see a movie. I’ve been trying to go to yoga or cardio kickboxing at least once a week. It’s a start, but there’s still a ways to go.
We’re in the process of moving a little ways out of the city and I’m thinking it might be a prime opportunity to get back to some of the things that used to get me excited – volunteering with FFA and 4-H. Since we’ll be in a smaller town, I’m also looking forward to potentially finding some community causes that I can get involved with. While being in a more rural area can mean less access to activity options, I think there will be more options for things that I’m interested in.
What are other ideas for activities to get involved with in a smaller community? How do you keep life from becoming all about work? I know it’s something young professionals struggle with just as much as anyone, since we’re still trying to “prove ourselves”, but for long-term happiness (and sanity) it’s something I want to start setting time aside for now.
As I tweeted earlier today, “If you want to see the happiness of an entire state increase exponentially, visit Minnesota today.” And wasn’t it the truth?!
While most Minnesotans have learned how to adjust to and enjoy winter (after all, the state is buried under multiple inches of snow for half the year and often faces temperatures where it’s too cold to snow), there’s nothing that makes the citizens of my adopted state happier than 65+ degrees and sunshine. I spent both lunch and happy hour yesterday outside, where restaurant patios everywhere were packed with people just yearning to get some fresh air. Today was another 70-degree day, so I took advantage of things I haven’t been able to do since last fall:
- Dug capri’s out of my summer clothes box
- Got a pedicure (after all, it’s now flip-flop season)
- Parked super far from Target so I could actually walk to the store
- Went through the car wash (no more salt splatter – woot!)
- Sat on my balcony
- Went for a 45-minute walk to parts of my neighborhood I didn’t know existed
My attitude definitely appreciated the warm-up and Vitamin D – now here’s to hoping Mother Nature doesn’t get too crazy and renege on all of this wonderfulness!
Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve done any blogging. Well, actually I can believe it. Things have been so crazy over the last 12 months that it doesn’t really surprise me one bit that I haven’t sat down to write anything in ages. Over the past few months, it’s crossed my mind, though. So, I’m getting my butt back in gear and I’m going to try writing some more. I’ll talk about all the insanity that has been life (good insanity, of course), but for today, I’m just getting the first words on the screen. Here we go again…
My memories of Memorial Day are strongly tied to my high school marching band. We didn’t have a big band (only about 30 kids) and we weren’t a great band. However, every year on Memorial Day, we’d pull out our marching band uniforms for the only time all year to march in the parade that would ultimately lead us to the cemetery in town. There we’d play the national anthem, God Bless America and then one of our trumpet players would play “taps”.
I remember that the crowd for the parade seemed to thin a little more every year. I remember that it always seemed to rain. I remember watching the members of the VFW as they stood at attention during “taps”, with their hats and jackets letting you know which war they’d fought in. I remember that, even though the crowd was small and the average age was at least 60, there was a pride and sadness that filled the people of my small community, remembering those who had fought and not come home, as well as those who had come home but were slowly leaving this world for the next one-by-one.
I’m not always the biggest supporter of war. However, I have respect for those who put their life on the line for what they think will make our country safer. A small parade and ceremony each year in a small town in rural Michigan, although I didn’t know it at the time, taught me that respect.
I think there are times in life when you realize everything is changing. Sometimes it’s for the good, sometimes it’s for the bad. But, either way, there are times when all the signals pointing to change are there.
I made this realization today, as I left my trusted Pontiac Sunfire at a dealership in exchange for a new (to me) Chevy Malibu. The Sunfire was my first car and has been with me through a lot: two years of high school filled with back and forth trips to Port Huron for dance practice, five years at Michigan State, a summer in Indiana, a summer in Kentucky and a 12-hour drive that moved me to Minnesota last year. While it was on its last leg, I can’t deny that the car has done well for me.
Selling the Sunfire and getting a new car, though, was more than just a vehicle change. It’s also a signal of change about where life is heading for me. And I think the direction is good. The new car means that I’ve made progress on my student loans, being responsible for the last year and pushing the Sunfire instead of making a new purchase the minute my cap and gown were off. The new car means I’m settling into my new job well. I have stability and enjoy what I’m doing. The new car means there’s a bright future ahead and that things are settling into place where they should be.
In the next few months, the BF will be moving out here and we’re looking for a new apartment. Change begets change and that looks to be the next piece in the ever-evolving puzzle. Who knows where the path will go next? Whichever way, I like the outlook so far.
(But who knows? That could be the new car fumes talking.)
You don’t have to have known me very long to know that I love Disney. I was born and raised on the box-office busting animated films of the late 80s and early 90s and have been to Disney World more times than you have fingers. We can say all we want about corporate greed and the waist size of princesses and consumerism and so on, but there’s one fact that remains true.
I love when musicals do something unique and different, which is why I loved this performance from the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables. They took the men who played the lead character, Valjean, all over the world and had them all sing the show’s banner song, Do You Hear the People Sing, in their native languages. The result is an amazing performance. Enjoy.
Whenever I mention that I watch the HBO show Big Love, people always tend to give me a sideways glance. It’s that glance that says ”Isn’t that about polygamists? Why would you want to watch a show about that?” Well, it is about polygamists. But it’s also about more than that.
It’s about family.
If you take the time to watch the first season of Big Love, you’ll learn that the show portrays so much more than just a group of polygamists. There are dynamics and relationships between the husband, Bill, and each of his wives, as well as between each of the wives themselves. During the season finale of the first season, I remember being in body-shaking tears because of the emotions and situations that this family was going through. Yes, I get overly attached to characters, but that can only happen when you can identify with something those characters are feeling. The show may be about polygamists, but they experience feelings and situations many of us go through daily.
Because of the situations the show puts its characters in, I think Big Love pushes its viewers to understand and look at the idea of what makes a family a little differently. Now I’m not saying I’m running out to be an advocate of polygamy. However, I think we all need to be reminded now and again that love and family look different to each of us. Is it our place to judge what that should be?
If you have the chance (or Netflix), I’d encourage you to check out Big Love. There’s only 5 seasons and they’re all pretty short (10-12 episodes a season). I’d love to hear what you think of it.