If you’re like me, this is what happens at the beginning of every new month: you flip the calendar page (if you remember), marvel at the fact that it’s already whatever-month, and decide to create more margin or be more intentional with your time.
And, if you’re really like me, you feel as though the transition from month to month should be akin to an Olympic track athlete springing gracefully like a gazelle over each hurdle. But instead, you feel more like a tired hippo hurling itself over the last barrier, perhaps knocking it over, and definitely not landing on your feet.
I’ve felt this especially this year– 2016– like I’ve been hurling myself from one month to the next, hoping the weight of my exhaustion will lend me the inertia I need to get through the next slew of events.
What happened on vacation
I’ll be honest. I LOVED Mexico City, and will definitely be writing about it (there need to be more resources out there!). But I was stressed throughout the trip. My mind was juggling a hundred different things– professional, personal, relational, physical– and just because I had left the office and chosen not to do any work, the chaos from the past few months followed me.
I don’t imagine I’m alone here. Anxiety and worry are human tendencies. Some of us simply choose to indulge in them more than others.
What we need: margin, not balance
I wrote a letter to my newsletter community several months ago about the mythical idea of balance. Balance is what we think happens when we have just the right amount of everything; it’s quite an Eastern idea, actually, and a bit odd that we in the West are so insistent that it exists.
What I’ve realized more recently is that we need margin, not balance. Margin is empty space– and that emptiness is inimitably precious.
Margin is like silence in music– you have to play it. It’s the moment when the song takes a breath, intentionally, measuredly, confidently. It’s there for a reason.
So how do we create more margin? How do we play those rests with so much intention that we’re reminded they are there for a reason?
And, more importantly, how do we do it well enough to be back in control of our schedules?
I think it’s more than saying no. The “just say no” movement barely merits the designation of cliche; we all know that “saying no more often” is all too easy to say and all too difficult to do.