My life makes more sense to me when I think of it in seasons.
Years of education train us to see ourselves – our work and our play in the segmented time periods – broken up and spread out.
Finals season always meant work, and lots of it. You could see my exams weighing on me from a mile away marked by my ever-present sweatpants and my puffy, dark eyes.
I had to get through it that way – putting my head down, shoving all joy to the back burner and ripping off the Band-Aid – barely taking the time for food and seeing makeup as an unnecessary waste of time.
But the best part was the light at the end of the tunnel. You’d work as hard as you could for a few weeks, forgetting about time and people and food. But then, when it was all over, you’d burst out of the tunnel – confused and squinty and in desperate need of a shower. You could finally relax.
You could sleep now, pluck your eyebrows, and rejoin the world of friendship and social interaction.
Life outside of school – the ‘real world’ as some call it – is different. Seasons go undefined and sometimes work seems to drag on without a landmark or an endpoint in sight.
Sometimes work feels like finals without the benefit of the built-in vacation as the grand finale.
I’m in one of those busy seasons now – squeezing out every bit of energy out of my writing brain, my ability to keep details straight, and exhausting my camera to the point where I actually am starting to feel sorry for it.
I’m jugging 10 million things and in this last week decided that it was a good idea to agree to no less than six guest posts, to shoot and finish two videos in the next 5 days, all while trying to wrap up the projects that I’d already committed to and keeping track of emails about the projects to come.
But if I’m being really honest, I like living this way.
I like being busy and get a charge out of having 500 more things to do than any sane person would try to handle. I love the work that I do. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to the world in the way that I was meant to.
I’m happy to put my head down and ruthlessly check things off of my to-do list. I don’t even mind that makeup has fallen by the wayside, sloppy and half finished, and that sweatpants are starting to become a part of me.
But this isn’t something that I can (or should) do forever. Friendships and relationships and the important things would all suffer – and without them life would be flat and colorless.
And so it’s up to me to divide the seasons. I no longer have the luxury of being shoved out into the sunlight at the end of a few busy weeks. I don’t always have an island vacation to force me into slowing down and taking some time to rest.
It’s my job, my responsibility to be able to tell the difference between finals time and time for a break. It’s up to me to find an island in the midst of the craziness.
And so that’s what my life looks like these days.
It’s the real life version of finals season – one guest post here, one video there, four emails done, time for more coffee.
But I also see my island in sight. May is going to be a month that’s crammed full with another kind of goodness.
One of my favorite people in the world is getting married to an absolutely wonderful man here in the South, and all of my best friends are flying out for the occasion. My house is going to be stuffed full of my favorite people for several days and I cannot wait.
My birthday is a few days later, and I get to ring in my 25th year with best friends and true loves.
A few days later we welcome another group to World Race training camp – inviting them into a year that will forever change their lives.
And a few days later, my sweet boyfriend and I are headed to Mexico for a week with my family.
Delight, and more delight.
The summer will be packed full of life lived by the lake, doing work poolside, and lots and lots of weddings.
The island is coming in so many ways.
And so in this season – for just a few weeks more – it’s finals time. It’s busy, caffeinated, and bleary-eyed. And that’s ok.
I’m sneaking in little bits of island in in the meantime.
How is your life broken into seasons? What season are you in now? How do you find little bits of island in the meantime?