My daughter is two. I learned the hard way that I need to build in transition time for her. A toddler can’t be rushed; it’s a recipe for disaster. I find that giving her warnings (“Five minutes and then we take a bath”, “Two minutes til bathtime!”) really help. And once the moment to shift gears has arrived, I try to give her some time to move from one activity to the next. She’s a much happier camper when we do it this way, as opposed to, say, expecting her to stop what she’s doing on a dime, then rushing her into the bedroom, fighting her clothes on and dragging her to the car. It goes a lotttt more smoothly when I give her a heads up as to what’s happening next, and let her move at a more leisurely pace.
I need to start extending that same courtesy to myself.
As a freelancer who wears many hats and jumps from task to task on any given day, I am becoming aware of my own need for transition time. Here’s what I mean. There are many parts to my day. I typically wake up at 6am and get myself to the gym. As soon as I’m back from my workout, I get my daughter dressed and out the door to daycare (not as fast or easy as it sounds!). Once back home, I shower and make my way to the studio. I go through emails (and probably spend too much time on social media). At that point I usually have auditions waiting for me, maybe some jobs from clients, and/or pickups (corrections) from a project I’ve previously worked. I prioritize and attack. As I’m working, other things come in that need attending to.
Often times I have an audition or a job at an outside studio that day, as well. So I work right up until the moment I need to leave to get there on time, drive there, do the thing, hop back in my car and jump back in the booth. Somewhere along the way I grab a quick lunch and then it's either back out to the studio, or hopefully at that point I get to work on my writing.
Each day my intention is to stop my workday around 4pm, walk the dog if I haven’t done that yet, and try to get dinner made before picking up my daughter. But more often than not, that doesn’t happen. So I work right up until I need to pick up the babe.
Once I get Isabella, business is over for the day, but the work doesn’t stop. She needs dinner. I need to make dinner because I probably haven’t had time to do that yet. Then there’s playtime. Bath time. Then pj’s, books and then bed. Then back to the kitchen, which usually looks like a bomb went off. By about 9 or 9:30 pm my time is my usually own again. And I am exhausted.
I’m actually exhausted just writing this. Maybe you are exhausted reading it.
I literally Do. Not. Stop. All. Day. Long.
I’m thinking this needs to change. I’m not a robot. I’m really not. I need to build in transitions, alIowing myself a moment to reset before the next thing. I know it sounds simple, but I don’t really know how to do that. It doesn’t seem to be in my DNA. I’m a Type A (‘nuff said). But I’m working on it.
This week, I’ve been experimenting with the gift of five minutes on my Teeter Hang Up, or resting with legs up the wall, before going to get Izzy. It’s amazing how restorative getting upside down for a few minutes can be. It’s feels like a good start. But I’d also like to build in more breathers throughout the day. I’m tired of moving through my day like a racehorse with blinders on; crushing it, yes, but at what price? I become tired and cranky and unreasonable. By the time Joe gets home, I’m often a bit of a mess. My adrenals are shot. I can’t think.
I remember a yoga teacher saying in class one day: “People focus on the pose but it’s really about the transitions! How do you move from one pose to the next? Do you rush to get there, or do you live and breathe within that transition? That is where the poetry is!”
I think I’m missing the poetry. I don’t want to miss the poetry!
I guess it means being more intentional and building in buffer time, so my back’s not up against the wall, rushing from one thing to the next. This might mean I’ll get a little less done throughout the day. I think that will be just fine.
As they say in certain circles, I am a human being, not a human doing.