Here's something I've been itching to write about for a while but I haven't found the exact words to express it. I recently had a conversation with someone about all the things I do and the person's response was something I get often when I talk about these kinds of topics: "How do you make time for all that?" or something along those lines. I could go into detail about my weekly and daily routines, how I wake up super early every morning, how I learned to multitask effectively, and all the things I do keep myself active and healthy but you know what? It doesn't matter. Because even with all these things I am not as put together as I might seem.
I woke up monday morning ecstatic about going to work (I recently started a new job that I am really liking so far). I practiced yoga, had breakfast, and went out the door. After I got back from the office I immediately did some chores, worked on some posts for my blog, and then I went to my dojo to practice martial arts. I came home and experimented in my kitchen for dinner and went to bed very happy and satisfied with my day. I spent it being productive and doing things I absolutely love. And the next morning I started out with the same intention and had another day filled with happiness and productivity. But then Wednesday morning came and although I had the same intention, my day didn't go as methodically as I wanted it to. Why? Because I got my period. My lower back was in excruciating pain and I stayed in bed instead of doing my usual asana (yoga movement) practice. I went to work and for some reason didn't feel as productive in my tasks. I came home and I wanted to go to jiu jitsu class but the thought of rolling with lower back pain in a heavy gi while blood was pouring out between my legs did not sound good in my head. So I stayed home plugged in a heating pad and placed it on my back. I made a some lavender tea, filled my room with smell of essential oils from my diffuser, cozied up in bed with a book. I don't even remember when I fell asleep. But before I did I started feeling guilty about relaxing.
I have been hard on myself for relaxing and procrastinating ever since I could remember. Lately I have been getting better about not doing that and realizing that you need breaks in order to reach your maximum potential of productivity level. And I don't just have days like that when I get my period. In the colder months, I tend to be less productive and take more relaxation time. Perhaps I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (I have never been formally diagnosed) because whenever it gets cold and dark, I get sad, lonely, and homesick. And feeling those emotions are some of my worst fears. I feel like I worked on dealing with those emotions for a long time. I saw how much progress I made. But suddenly those emotions came back a couple of weekends ago on a Saturday morning. I felt so lonely and there was literally no one I could think of to contact so I can fill the emptiness I had that day. I cried and I wondered how I made so much progress in dealing with these negative emotions but still feeling like one day wiped away all of that. Did that progress even count for anything?
But here’s the thing I learned about happiness. Just like sadness it doesn't last forever. It passes. But sometimes there are ways to choose to make it come back whereas sadness can come back unwillingly. The next day on Sunday morning I woke up and stayed in bed and meditated. I made plans that day to go out with a bunch of friends I made at the dojo I go to almost everyday. Spending a few hours with them made me feel immensely better. I was missing my family but the women I was with let me know that I’m a part of their family too. I realized how powerful human connection could be. I felt homesick and being in place that wasn’t my first home felt like I couldn't solve my problem. But somehow I realized that there is a way to get out of this rut of sadness, that I don't have to be in it forever. Its moments like that that make me realize that all the progress I made does in fact count. That one or a few bad days in a string of happy days is normal. I don't have to feel guilty about it. I owed it to myself to do something to make myself feel better that day.
So no my life isn't perfect. Just because I want to be happy and productive all the time doesn't mean that I actually am. I am not even sure if that's a goal I have anymore. I am actually grateful for the few bad days I have because when they pass I feel extreme gratitude towards all the things and people in my life who do give me those strings of happy days.
And to answer the question of how I make time for so many things, I have one simple rule: only work on anything that serves you. Things you love and things you need. Luckily, I don't have a lot of needs and I love everything I do. The passion I have for all of this gives me the drive to get it all done. But even so I still need to take a break from all of it once in a while even if it means that I need to be sad for a day.