Three states, four cities, in five days – that was my last week. I have 2 (very) full workdays between me and my next trip. It’s very early in the morning and I’m alone on my couch, in my pjs, with a mug of coffee thinking about how in the midst of possibly my craziest year yet – I still don’t feel busy. I feel excited, happy, a smidge ashamed of my laundry pile, and kind of hungry because why buy groceries?
Four months ago in my update on the year of fasting busy I wrote this: So cheers, to slow mornings and full lives. To scheduling less but somehow doing more. To having room in your head to solves a few of your friends problems. To being thoughtful and fun. To getting a lot done but knowing when to just be present too. Trust me, full is so much better than busy.
I reread my whole Full>Busy post this morning with a goofy grin on my face. This year is definitely full but I still don’t feel busy. How?
The answer is annoyingly simple: contentment.
This year is fuller than any before it but peace doesn’t have to be altered by the chaos around us. That’s what I’m trying to master. And finally, 31 years into this journey – I’m winning.
Last year my parents moved to Florida into a fantastic beach condo a few hours south. When they left for a few week vacation I grabbed 2 of my closest girlfriends and we headed down. We spent 3 glorious days reading on the balcony, chatting by the pool, and sweating profusely on the beach together. Never have I ever felt so relaxed. As the weekend drew to an end and we were all tempted to complain that we had to return to reality I found that I didn’t feel that way. I was ready.
We drove back from South Florida on Sunday. I dropped my best friend, Candy, off at the airport with a ‘see you in 6 days’. I emptied the cooler, charged my laptop, and got a plan for a quick week. 6 days later I was catching a 7am flight to Kentucky. For the next 5 days I enjoyed the superbly slower pace of small town living. Give me all the fireworks, cookouts, and evenings swatting mosquitos and playing board games there are. As my niece says about Christmas morning present opening: I was made for this.
Alas, we know I’m not. Slow paces and small towns thrill me in the short term but even my career coach tells me that my super power is the capacity for freakish amounts of life. So it seems only fitting that when Wednesday came I was repacking my freshly laundered clothes and flying back to St Pete to catch an Uber to my house to get my car to drive 2.5 hours north to Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, FL.
Trains, planes, and automobiles has nothing on me. My flight was late, my garage door was somehow misaligned, and I hit a massive bunch of traffic with rain on my way. But just before dinner time I pulled into the camp store to begin my time in the snack shack as I like to call it. Four days of being the coffee maker, candy seller, and break out speaker just energized me. Where did we find these fantastic kids?! I was so impressed with the nearly 300 middle and high schoolers that came through my breakout group on friendship (titled: Friends with Benefits) in 2 days.
Honestly, I expected to be exhausted. 2 weeks of travel, a long car ride, writing my talk, and running the store from 11am-midnight sounded like a lot. You know what I found though? I wanted more. I found myself having heartfelt conversations with kids who would come to buy candy and drilling my shopmates about all sorts of topics. There’s more to give, I thought.
We closed the store at midnight and I drove home til nearly 3am in a caravan with a friend/fellow snackshacker. Finally back in my own bed, I thought. I fell into bed sufficiently pooped but I woke up excited. Instead of feeling like I had a lengthy list of things to get done before I leave town again Tuesday: I was present. I went to dinner to celebrate a friends birthday. I invited 3 more over after to play games half the night. And I spent the perfect Sunday by the pool with my neighbors playing Pegs and catching up (for the record out of 8 games played this weekend: I won 7). I admit I played a little longer than I should have and then hurried, sweaty, back home to lead bible study where one of my girls had already let herself in and taken a nap.
Here’s what thrills me: I find myself craving more time not because there’s more that I have to do but because I finally feel like I have more to give. For years I wanted to say no to EVERYTHING. Every time a boss asked me for one more project or a friend needs a ride, a place to stay, or just some one-on-one time from me I wanted to weasel out of it. I can’t possibly do more was constantly running through my mind. But I gave up busy and perfect and you know what?…There’s room in my head and my schedule. I am peaceful and present. I am having the most fun I’ve ever had.
So 6.25 months into the year without busy here’s my toast…
Cheers! To staying up too late to squeeze in one more game. To booking your next visit with your best friend while you’re still together so you know you have it to look forward too. Cheers to stollen cheek kisses from my nieces (2) and nephew at the beach this week and putting my professional DSLR to good use. To 82 books read, 3 more flights booked, and visitors scattered throughout the summer and fall. Cheers to laundry mountains, tan lines, and the occasional netflix marathons. And most of all:cheers to not being busy, just being here.