I never thought I would say this, but there’s too freakin’ much out there to read! And not nearly enough time.
For Christmas, I was the thrilled recipient of a Kindle e-reader, and promptly loaded it up with books. I also received several bookstore gift certificates, and a 26-volume set of Time-Life “The Old West” books, which I love, and am on the second volume. I can’t read just one book at a time, so I’m reading a nonfiction book on writing and a novel set in Georgia in the 1960s, too. When I’m walking (okay, I’ll get back to it soon, I promise), cooking, or sewing, I listen to a novel or memoir on an MP3 player from the library—currently, Ape House, by the author of Water for Elephants.
I am on a lot of email lists: cooking, writing, health, church committees, and several people’s “forward” lists. (Gotta admit, one person’s mass forwards get almost automatically deleted. Bless her heart.) Occasionally, I get an actual personal email. For my writing’s sake, I follow many agents on Twitter, and when they’re not tweeting about the weather/kids/pets/sushi, they’re linking to articles on writing and publishing. Which I feel compelled to read.
And somewhere in all that reading, I’m supposed to write, volunteer, do laundry, clean house, shop for groceries, cook, be a good wife, mom, and grandmother, floss my teeth, and, oh yeah, search for a part time job.
I know of some people who actually look for things to do. Things seem to find me. Okay, I admit, I volunteer for some. But others appear on my doorstep like orphans, with arms reaching out and “Please help me!” scrawled across their little buntings. And I love to help—I am kind of a do-bee. I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t factor in down time, time to write, read, plan, and ponder, I will turn into someone else, someone I don’t like. The not-happy Valerie.
I’ve never yet found the perfect balance. How do you balance your life? Do you leave enough time for you to be you? Are you in a phase of your life that simply doesn’t allow much time for that? What can you do about it?