I've been smelling the roses and it's been wonderful! New experiences, new people, more energy, more zip in my step. I've found myself looking forward to each new day with greater excitement and bigger expectations. I've gone to bed at the end of each day amazed at what I've accomplished. The only problem is, where once I was all work and no play, now I've become almost all play and no work!
Yes, I did what I needed to do to schedule my two-week trip to PA. However, that was where I stopped. I've been so used to having everything I need in one place when it comes time to do my work, that I somehow forgot, in the midst of enjoying this rose garden that I've been cultivating as my life recently, that taking my work on the road is a lot different from working in my office, or even out of my home. And much of what I needed to prepare and pack into my car for the trip, was still packed in poorly marked moving boxes that were sitting in piles in my soon-to-be home office and garage. I'd taken the 'stop and smell the roses' admonition to the extreme, and during the past four days, I've paid the price.
Looking back over the last few weeks, I can see exactly what happened, and it isn't anything new, or anything I shouldn't have expected and watched out for. After all, I've been working with clients for years to help them facilitate changes in their lives (as well as making my own changes), and have always cautioned them that if they have allowed the pendulum of their behavior to swing too far in one direction, it most often will over correct and swing just as far in the other direction, before it finds a comfortable balance somewhere in the middle. For not the first time, or even the second, that's what happened to me these past few weeks. I didn't just stop and smell the roses, I got lost in the garden!
The increased energy I'd been experiencing turned to increased anxiety, and the zip in my step to panic in motion. I rushed around like a crazy person, sometimes walking into a room and forgetting why I'd even entered it. Trying (without giving it rational thought), to continue to enjoy the roses while doing what I had to do, I over-booked myself, squeezing in visits with my family and time with friends, thinking I could do it all.
I did get it all done, but not without paying a price. The calm and peaceful me was replaced by a driven woman with a knot in her stomach and an easily irritated demeanor. I couldn't relax completely and enjoy what I wanted to enjoy because I was too worried about everything still undone. And when I was trying to do what I needed to do, I was criticizing myself for letting everything wait until the last minute.
Changing isn't always easy, even when the change seems like something so simple and wonderful as allowing more joy in my life. To move from all work and no play to a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle, is a process, just like any other change in behavior is a process. It takes time and thought and effort to move from one place of being and behaving, to another better, more productive, place. It takes plunging in, screwing up, fixing up, messing up again, trying again, and then succeeding, in little increments, and then bigger increments, until at long last, the new behavior is more fixed in place, in a more balanced way, and the old way of being is now more uncomfortable than the new, and becoming more a memory of how I used to be than how I am.
I'm not giving up. I love smelling the roses! But a satisfying, fulfilling life on all levels requires balance. I need to find a place somewhere in the middle. I want to be able to wander through the rose garden, inhaling deeply, in a way that empowers the rest of my life, not in a way that leaves me criticizing myself because I did. I'm a work in progress. We'll see where that progress takes me.