Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Scrapping the Schedule

I like schedules. I mean who doesn't right? Schedules are imperative for a mom of a toddler, but my commitment to the calendar began long before my son was born. I can remember in high school balancing school, cheerleading for fall and winter sports seasons, track season in the spring, plus all the other extracirricular activities in which I was involved. I remember cheering for boys' basketball games on Friday nights, getting home late and getting up early on Saturday to drive an hour one way for tumbling class. I wrote columns in two local newspapers. I was a four-time state FFA champion (in parliamentary procedure, public speaking, extemporaneous speaking and the best - meat judging), and I competed in numerous competitions that didn't result in state titles. My agenda was full.

Cheerleading sophomore year
1995 state champion meat judgers. For real.

Fast forward to college. In the days before spreadsheets I kept an evolving document that listed the courses I needed to take. I would substitute a class for a requirement that fit the schedule and shuffle the whole thing around. I could've easily graduated in three years even after changing my major. I went to the gym five days a week at 6 am. I worked several jobs: waiting tables at a sports bar/restaurant, at a jewelry store and in the business office at the school paper. I was on the debate team my senior year and spent ten weekends away in tournaments during one school year. I partied with my friends a lot. Even as a college student the schedule ruled my life.

Legislative internship my senior year of college...in my spare time.
The summer I graduated, 2000, was when it threatened to all came crashing down. I was sick the spring of my senior year, and I had my colon removed on July 20, 2000. I started law school one month later. I was so skinny and weak I could barely carry my books. I had a bowl reconstruction over Christmas break in December of 2000 and my illeostomy reversed over spring break in March of 2001 - all during my first year of law school. I studied, made average grades, balanced a tumultuous long distance relationship and made some of the best friends of my life. I didn't miss a beat of my tightly scheduled life. 

As a non-student adult my calendar looks like a game of Tetris. My husband and I have full-time, busy jobs, a colossal Victorian home to manage, three pets, and a toddler. Oh and our marriage. NBD. I somehow fit in running and exercise (although less so the last few months). We also have one of the busiest travel and social schedules of anyone I know because we love it. My life is ruled by the schedule. 

Quality time with the hubs seeing John Oliver in Detroit.
While there's no way I can eliminate the schedule altogether (because that's madness), my 2017 goal is to ignore it sometimes. I want to have more free weekends, more time at home, more spontaneous dinners with friends and quality time with my boys. I want to be bored. Over Christmas break I napped several times during my son's nap time (unheard of) and slept in past 8 am at least twice. Madness. 

Watching TV in bed (sans makeup!) over Christmas break
I want to lace up my running shoes and log the miles, but I will give myself a break when I need one. And it will be okay. I will focus on being strong (mentally and physically) and surrounding myself with positive people instead of overscheduling my life. I will take more deep breaths. 

Relaxing before our annual Christmas party instead of running around.
Having a routine and a schedule is critical, but being flexible is also important. In 2017 I will practice the art of being flexible. If you call me and want to have drinks, I'll have room on the calendar to say yes. Who am I kidding...text me, don't call. I don't have that much time on my hands. 

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