In my ordinary life, there is room for writing, for running, for meaningful conversations, and for balance. My life right now is not ordinary. It is frenetic, and it is all but consumed by a single work endeavor. It leaves me starving for sleep and time with family, it led me to write a middle of the night SOS to my coach about my NYC marathon training, and it is accompanied by a level of stress and adrenaline that can keep me going now, but in the long run is unsustainable. Gratefully, I am not alone in this experience, and I have my ultimate support crew (husband and family) behind me.
I also am grateful for the following: I am with close clients and colleagues who know that when I break at hour 9 of a 15 hour work day and say “I need to go for a run” - not for the marathon training but for the mere act of separating and moving and giving myself space - they understand. They also know that when I return, it will be with renewed energy, focus, and clarity that comes with sorting out all the things on a mind-clearing run.
It is easy right now to lose sight of what is beyond my current life and experience. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that as I am trudging ahead, so are others in their daily lives. People facing demands of multiple jobs or financial struggles, relationships that are in crisis, chronic health issues, or any one of thousands of things that can keep a soul up in the middle of the night. Lord knows I don’t have answers to all of life’s struggles. But I do know this: The power of creating even fifteen minutes of space to do whatever it is that fuels you. You need it like you need air to breathe. Even if you don’t believe me, trust me. Take the time.
I want to write more, but this is my fifteen minutes.
So I will close with this. When I was 20 and facing college exams. Or 24 studying for the Bar. Or 35 and struggling to juggle a job, and a marriage, and two young kids, I wish I knew these things. I wish that I understood the power of exercise or the restorative strength that comes from sitting under a tree and writing.
I wish I understood enough then to act on the knowledge that your ability to be there for others begins with the simple act of being there for yourself.