I’m busy now.
Not can’t remember the last time I had a shower and only eating once a day busy. Things have to be pretty drastic for me to skip meals.
But my household is busier than we have been. My husband started a course late in the spring and now takes at least one exam every quarter that he needs to not only study for a lot but also go off-island to take.
The other new layer of busy is that a publisher approached me to write a book. I’m not sure what details I can share here yet but I am very excited about the project. It’s one of those pinch yourself dream opportunities but it also comes at a time when we I have a seven month old baby at home, a preschooler that goes to daycare part-time and a partner that already has a lot going on with work, education and the office basketball team. Oh, and we’re both really enjoying Crossfit and trying to make it to four or five sessions a week. Each.
This is a learning opportunity in many ways. Can we do the things we want while keeping some balance and peace in our lives?
Yes, you can have a simple life and be busy.
Some friends of ours schedule their weekends. They’re parents and both have demanding jobs so they schedule who’s primary care giver, who’s catching up on work and when they’re all having family time. We’ve taken a page from their book and done more scheduling than we normally would. That includes scheduling that we won’t leave the house until 10am on a Saturday morning and we’ll stay in our pajamas as long as we like.
Being busy is a chance to prioritize.
I had some eBay-ing plans for the fall but when this project came along I set them aside. There’s room in our closets for a few extra boxes and I’ll have time to get to them before the winter holidays. There are people I would like to have over for dinner right now but I’ll also be putting that off until the first draft of this book is in the hands of an editor (which is quite soon!). We still have leisure time but we’ve had to be much more structured in when we have it.
When I first heard about minimalism and all the lifestyle benefits I thought our new simple life would be one of no deadlines. I thought the goal was very little structure. But three years in I can see that the goal, and the process, is fluid and that letting go of material items and obligations is a long game. The book contract arrived after putting in a few years of diligent work. The diligent work was able to happen because of lowering our cost of living, getting out of debt and being thoughtful with what I gave my time to.
Busy can be a season. Even if it is a long season.
Supposedly the golden age to parent is 6 to 12 years old. Kids are self sufficient and capable without yet being teenagers. We’re quite a few years off of that age so for now, I write when I have moments, when our youngest who I am going to classify as an ‘easy baby’ is sleeping or nicely occupied army crawling around our living room. Often I write with him feeding or sleeping in the carrier while I sit on a physio ball and bounce (great for the abs and easy on the back). On the weekends my husband takes the kids out for at least one long afternoon adventure and I stay home, or find a coffee shop, and write. When he was studying for an exam I did the afternoon adventure and he stayed home to study. Our current balance of work vs. play time is sustainable but I know we’ll all be happy to have a weekend where one or both parents don’t need to work or study.
Recently I received an email from a mother of teenagers describing her busy life and asking if I had ideas for simplifying. There was band practice and many other activities and there was a lot of driving and very little sitting down for a family meal during the week. Ultimately I think the writer answered her own question: they really enjoyed their activities and where they lived and didn’t want to give any of it up. Too soon the teenagers would be out of the house and they would be in a much simpler season of life.
What do you think? Can life be busy and simple?