Last week was a juggling week: confused new students, projects to grade, interviews and applications, not-so-good family phone calls, and a friend’s wedding-planning-freakout were just a few of the metaphorical balls I had in the air. Needless to say, balance…I didn’t have it so much. So I bristled selfishly (albeit silently) at the prospect of having to spend most of a glorious, sunny Saturday doing things indoors I didn’t really want to be doing. I read somewhere once that the #1 determiner of the amount of stress a person feels is the amount of control they have (or perceive having) over how they spend their time. I didn’t perceive myself as having a choice in the Saturday plans, and this left me with a slight twinge of frustration all day. But part of marriage (and life in society in general) is about making compromises, so I spent the morning on the phone looking for a makeup artist for my friend’s wedding, and then we drove down to visit family for the afternoon.
But Sunday…I somewhat ferociously defended my right to determine how and where I would spend my Sunday morning. And so it may surprise you to learn that my Sunday started with some completely elective housecleaning. But when we work together, we get it done so fast! And then everything is so shiny! And I’m not constantly being driven crazy by allergies! And then my Sunday began, and it was a delicious day indeed. It was sunny and warm (and oh how I apologize to those of you who are still facing cold and snow and drudgery). Here it was not quite iced-coffee warm, but it was picnic-in-the-park warm. We stopped by our wonderful local grocery and loaded up on good things and then we staked out our favorite spot under a big tree in the park and were totally, perfectly indulgent for a while. The low-level existential ennui of Saturday was long forgotten in a balmy sunshine-and-rosé-induced haze. Balance was restored to my universe. All thanks to a couple of unplanned and unscheduled hours, free to be filled or not, however we felt right at that moment.
I am 100% aware of what a gift time like this is, and I will continue to guard it jealously. Balance, for me, depends on being completely and utterly selfish with my time and with myself for at least two hours a week. And for that, I do not apologize!