Writing for 31 days straight just about exhausted me. I had so much fun writing the Embrace Expat Life series, but when day 31 rolled around (just a few days late) I felt a wee bit empty of words.
But that very day my wonderful man took me away to the rural depths of France for a romantic weekend marking three years of marriage. I didn’t look at emails or facebook or twitter all weekend. I didn’t write. I read and I watched the fire. We went for rainy trips out to nearby towns and castles. We cooked (he cooked, I read more) and chatted and watched favourites movies set in French villages. It was peaceful and romantic and cosy.
And I felt every ounce of stress leave my body.
And then we came home and I launched myself into the two busiest weeks of my year so far.
They included meetings with potential new clients, coordinating a big fundraising event at the American Embassy, visiting the Salon de Mariage to meet new vendors and venues, running my first 5km race along a torch-lit country path, going to networking meetings, having the first leadership meeting for an exciting new volunteer initiative for Luxembourg, running a birthday party for eight year old girls, travelling to Brussels for a Serve the City focus day, celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday…
Through it all I kept saying this little mantra to myself over and over and over: busy does not equal stressed.
Yes, I have been so busy these two weeks. More busy than I would like to be on a permanent basis (because, you know, I like actually spending some time with my husband and friends). But these busy periods are a natural part of the up and down flow of my life. And I can choose to embrace that or resent that.
If I start to resent it, I just miss out. It was not always easy, but it was frequently fun. All these things were things I’d said a willing Yes to. And they did all combine into a spectacularly non-stop fortnight. But I still got to enjoy them.
As I muttered my mantra to myself every half an hour, I was able to remind myself to enjoy this busyness, appreciate this busyness. Because six months ago I was bored so heaven help me if I start to complain now that I’m busy.
What it comes down to, is that it’s not a bad thing to be busy, just like it’s not a bad thing to have lots of time to accomplish your daily tasks. Time in itself does not have a moral weight. But my attitude to my time? My attitude can alter my own happiness, my contentment, my gratitude. My attitude to how busy or not busy I am can make my days a pleasure or a pain.
In those weeks where I miss the right balance, I might need to make plans to change something. But I can still be grateful for what I got to do. Grateful for time to accomplish, time to be in relationship, time to be brave. Busy does not equal stressed. And I’m a much nicer person when I’m not stressed…