After spending a few weeks at home in Iowa during the holidays; as I usually do; I feel much more balanced. I have enough time to sleep, exercise, take photos, play the piano, and spend a ton of time with my family and friends. Why? Because I live within 5 minutes of everything in my tiny little town, and everything from grocery shopping to laundry to finding a squat rack is SO MUCH EASIER. New York is so amazing and full of opportunity, but every tiny detail of life is difficult: Lugging my dirty clothes down to the laundromat is a pain, especially when all the washing machines are full; going to the Costco to get affordable food is cool, but it takes half the day and requires a soldiers temperament; getting to midtown is great... it regularly takes 70-80 minutes to go 7 miles on the train system, with delays just about every hour of every day of EVERY WEEK. Everything in NYC is hard. But when you get that opportunity, or MAKE THAT MONEY? When you nail that casting or performance or find new friends from all over the world who can all teach you something and feed you something better? It seems worth it. I notice that my friends in Iowa are much more relaxed about everything, and sometimes struggle to stay productive. While my friends in NYC are stressed out of their minds half the time, and feel like they can never get enough done during the day.
We literally made candles one night. Who does that?! How fun is that?! I don't even have enough space for an extra candle in NYC, let alone 10 lbs of wax...or friends with any time to get on the train for 3 hours (there and back) to come craft with me.
So how do we walk the line of maintaining a healthy routine with much needed space and downtime, while conquering our goals with passion?
I've already heard about several people I know starting "detoxes," (understandably in part after we all went completely nuts on New Years), the "Whole 30 Diet," or making lonnngggg lists of everything they want to accomplish this year. I too have a couple of items burning holes in my brain and heart (finishing a solo album, making sure my health is in tip top shape, etc). However, I've already rambled enough in this video; about diets in particular and how many of these crash diets can lead to long term disordered behavior; so let's get into goals and how to go after them.
So many things I want to accomplish require discipline and working alone. Often times I don't have deadlines (or consequences if I don't meet my deadlines) so a lot of the time I get frustrated and ask myself, "WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS, I"M SO BAD AT IT."
I think to feel balanced, to lead my version of an "ideal life," I need to mix bits of the restfulness and time at home in Iowa, with the ambition and opportunities I'm chasing in NYC; I think it's possible...it will just require creativity. I'm creative, right?
One of the first things that I need is clarity. I need to know exactly what I'm chasing this year, why, and I need to be very clear about what the most important aspects of those goals are. So often I'm so focused on cooking healthy meals and going to the gym that I can easily waste time mindlessly looking at recipes, checking my phone for an extra 30 minutes at the gym while I'm stretching; or going an hour out of my way to go to a cheaper yoga class. All of those tiny decisions add up to feeling like "I don't have enough time," to hit the goal some days. I need to know that we can't have it all, but I think we can have most of what we want, if we plan ahead, work efficiently, and sacrifice for our priorities.
These are the questions I'm asking myself:
Can my goal be broken down to smaller parts? For example, if I manage to finish this album this year, I could do it by finishing one song a month. If I were to stick to that, which is a completely reasonable schedule (typically I do extreme things like, say I'm going to do one song a week, or something like that), I would have a full album by October, and I could feasibly record the whole thing in the two months after that and have a full, professionally recorded piece of work that I've been emotionally lusting after for the last several years of my life.
How can I prioritize my list so that I make sure the most important things are getting done? When scrolling Instagram is my literal job at this point, dishes and laundry need to be done, castings need to be applied to, friends need to be texted back, and you know, YOUTUBE EXISTS; it's hard for me to stay on track OFTEN. I feel badly about myself when I get a lot done musically, but I don't clean what needs to be cleaned, and I have several emails that need to be answered. Or I do a great workout at the gym, but by the time I've stretched, showered, and shot photos, I don't get to the laundry that day. But laundry isn't that important. If it waits till the weekend, it's not the end of the world, so long as it's not holding me back from another project. I notice myself trying to finish emails etc at 11 pm because I feel guilty that I didn't get something like laundry done, and then it takes longer for me to fall asleep, I sleep poorly, and then I don't have enough energy to get through everything efficiently the next day. REST MATTERS. It helps keep you on track. Don't forget that.
How can I schedule my time so it's sustainable? Scheduling failure into my days, that's how. I'm GOING to want to watch TV at the end of the day. I'm GOING to need one full day off a week. I'm GOING to get my period and be a wreck the first three days. These things are pretty human and I can get into extreme modes where I tell myself I don't need that and I'm in grind mode, only to fail and feel bad about myself and be slow to start up again. SCHEDULE THAT INTO YOUR PLAN.
What could I get done TODAY that I really, really don't want to do, that I've been putting off, but if I did it would cause me to feel VICTORIOUS (if I let myself)? Today it was finishing this blog (ON JANUARY 25TH @#$%#$@#$). Tomorrow it's practicing Chopin. What is it for you today?