In a culture where “tired” or “crazy busy” is the almost mandatory answer to “how are you?”, it’s heresy to admit that stretches of quiet transition exist. So I’ll be the first to step forward and say…”Hey. I’m actually not that busy right now.”
While my husband’s new job has begun and is challenging and stimulating his mind daily, I’m having to find ways to occupy myself without slipping into depression, anxiety, or excess.
So what to do with oneself in the meantime?
John Lennon has that annoying quote: “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” To me, it has become a reproach, but I’m trying to shrug it off and prepare accordingly for plans that are already in place. Here are five activities that have been filling the interim time.
1) Part-Time Blogging, SEO, and Social Media Work
A little bit of part-time work has been a life saver on the mornings I wake up and feel like I’m contributing nothing to society or the planet. I even keep a Google spreadsheet with the hours I spend working, as a reminder and calming mechanism when I start beating myself up. It’s a technique I recommend to anyone bent toward self-badgering.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to maintain some of the web work in Santa Barbara county that I was doing, contracted by a developer/SEO friend (and if you have a website you need some help with, send me a message and I’ll hook you up with him). My jobs have included managing social media accounts, ghost-writing industry specific blogs, and doing assorted e-mail newsletter and WordPress tweaks.
Despite the fact that I had good friends and family nearby, and the fact that I had that rare privilege of meeting and marrying someone who really understands me, I was not at my happiest in the place I lived for the past four years. As many people do when they’re unhappy, I allowed myself to engage in some pretty unhealthy eating and drinking habits, gaining about thirty pounds.
Now to be fair, I did stop running and took up powerlifting. I can deadlift over 250 lbs and squat over 200. But I also worked up to drinking a bottle of wine all by myself a couple of nights a week and ate more than my share of Panda Express orange chicken. And I’m pretty sure that’s bad for me.
So I’ve added running back into the repertoire, given up anything deep-fried, and I’ve quit drinking all together. Yes. You read that right. I haven’t had alcohol in almost two weeks. That’s kind of huge for me. Don’t worry, though, after a couple of months I’ll be back to giving you reviews of these fabulous Pacific Northwest brews…just gotta drop this fifty-year-old-man beergut I’ve got first.
The coolest part is, even though it’s a beer and wine mecca up here, every bar and restaurant has non-alcoholic options that don’t suck. The tap rooms serve microbrewed kombucha, for example. Where even am I?
3) Books, books, and more books
Audiobooks while dog-walking and planting shasta daisies in the front yard. Books to review for the Jack the Ripper site I contribute to. And books from the enormous library that’s a mile from my house. I’ve already finished three this week.
4) Taking the Networking Plunge
In the last few weeks, “Meetup.com” that has pretty much blown my mind, and has also added some much needed signposts to the landscapes of my weeks. JT and I joined a group of 12 strangers for a gorgeous hike on the Oregon Coast last weekend, I went to a meeting for women in small business that led to coffee with a very cool lady with her own marketing business, and next week I’m going to an SEO presentation and a writer’s group meeting.
I also got lectured by some dude about how my business card was all wrong last week, but you take the bad with the good.
Moving to a new city as an adult without the immediate built-in network that school can provide is intimidating. Thank goodness for the internet, for libraries, for garden beds, and of course for my boys.