There's nothing like a week of vacation to reset your brain -- especially when it's a week away from everything in your house that's broken. I usually bring a project with me, but panicked at the last minute that I was bringing too much, and left it behind, which meant a lot of leftover time for pondering.
First I thought about that project I wasn't working on. And then I thought about all those other projects on my list. (Full confession: in addition to my Idea Journal, where I record would-be-projects, I also have a special binder for projects-in-process). And then when I felt good and overwhelmed, I took a step back to think about my priorities.
Right now, I'm a mom, a wife, a keeper of the nest. Earlier this summer I had a meeting for a committe I'm on, and after a five-minute recitation of why every night of my whole month was booked, the woman next to me -- older -- said just about any night would work for her. I was struck with gratitude for my very full schedule -- lucky me to have baseball games and potluck nights and theatre auditions. That solitude, that free evening I long for -- someday I'll have my share. But right now, I'm a mom, a wife, a keeper of the nest -- and that comes first.
Second, I do have to earn my living. (Again, so very lucky that I can earn it in such a joyful way.)
Third, growing. I have learned a lot in my years as a Danish outlaw (i.e., married to a Dane) -- those Danish Lutherans love to learn. Last month I attended a lecture on 14th century poetry with my octogenarian in-laws. I also may have added this priority because I couldn't get this article out of my mind, or these two tidbits:
1. Set aside at least one designated time each week to think creatively, reflectively, strategically or long term.
2. Take at least a half an hour in the evening to read something challenging and absorbing - an antidote to churning out emails, and racing between websites.
When I'm tempted to start some new something, I have to ask myself first: does engaging in this project further my biggest goal (which is to stick to my priorities...at least for now)? I actually feel like I have more freedom with that purpose in mind -- freedom to make meaningful choices and freedom to say no. Refraining from starting anything new also helped me remember a few ongoing projects that have fallen by the wayside. I'll take some time each day this week to bring those back into focus.
I'd love to hear about your priorities, your strategies, your projects too.