A Summer of Anxious Hope and Rest

Headed to Governor's Island
Headed to NYC’s Governor’s Island with my “Roomies for Life”

This summer was far different from the one I imagined at the start of the year.

I hoped to spend it in grander ways, checking long-awaited goals off the list, like taking a lengthy vacation to Europe with my husband. But then, this spring, I parted ways with my job.

While it was a difficult situation, it was also a blessing. The summer kicked off by saying hello to the last year of my twenties. I attended a conference that reminded me of the basics of what it means to practice spiritual disciplines. Babysitting on the regular reminded of how much energy children require, but also how they delight your heart. I escaped from the busy city life and hiked multiple times.

Traveling to the Baltimore ‘Burbs for a lovely weekend eating fresh veggies and drinking wine with my sister and her childhood companion was a highlight. I attended the weddings of three dear pairs of friends from our church community. Hosting my college roommates for a weekend in the city was a blast, and I loved watching their reaction to my favorite NYC summer destination. My Sunday afternoons were occupied laugher and sunshine on Pier 13.

Spending my days reading new books inspired me, and spurred me further still towards finding my writing groove while sipping cold-brews in new coffee shops. I applied to jobs that actually seemed like a great fit with my skill set and interests. Writing more than I have in a long time and breaking blog traffic records this summer was a good milestone. (THANK YOU, dear reader!) It was both a productive and restful summer, but I still find myself frustrated.

I operate under the premise that regardless of whatever goals I have accomplished, it still won’t be enough. Guilt always seems to creep up on me because I am not bringing in a regular paycheck. I chastise myself for having the time, but not writing three times as much as I have. Annoyed that I haven’t kept a 100% perfectly clean, organized home AND exercised far more than I have, I constantly tell myself to get it together. Finding the balance of working hard then resting well seems like a habit hard to form. I am forever trying to find a balance, fighting against self-sabotage and self-deprecating habits.

It has been nice to have the summer “off” from a 9-5 gig to be able to play and travel and explore and job hunt, but I am also starting to crave the stability of a structured schedule again. Sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine what job will allow me to do things at which I excel, but actually afford the energy to write as well as live and save like I want to in order to meet our goals as a family. I struggle to live in the moment. As a habitual forecaster (and worrier), I am always looking forward to the next thing.

Admittedly, I am easily overwhelmed. I worry that I can’t have both – that I must choose a steady job that bores me to tears or the wild, inhibited life of a writer. Some days I am finding it hard to define my hopes for fall. A happy medium must exist. I am impatient. I want to know what is next on the horizon, but I want to make the choices from a healthy, clear-minded place and not one of exasperation and throwing in the towel. I want to walk into the next season of my life confidently, bright-eyed with anticipation of what is yet to come.

What did you do this summer? What are you looking forward to this fall? How do you practice work/life balance?

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