Today, I was vacuuming my family’s living room in our home in Richmond, VA, in preparation to set up for Christmas. It’s my family’s tradition to set up a Christmas tree and cook our same-old, same-old foods (and for me, the National Dog Show is a must). My mom likes things to be clean, really clean, before we can touch any decorations. I always wish we could skip this step and just get to the pies and ornaments. But today I was reminded of the importance of taking thorough care of the things I need to do before I can get to the fun stuff. My goal for this break was to maximize my time at home by doing all of my homework as fast as possible, checking my eye doctor appointments off the list, turning in some graduate school applications and then putting my feet up for a few days of rest. But of course, fall break just isn’t that long. And with all the things we often have to do, the fun stuff starts to feel like an obligation.
So, I decided to make my week at home a mixture of work and play. I do a little homework in the morning, pick up the flute, and then read as much of my book as I want to without interruption. It’s been going well so far. I have to remind myself that there’s no such thing as a real break, since there will always be tons to do. Especially during this particular break, I’ve felt super busy with editing and writing obligations. But I like my new method of mixing and matching the fun and the not so fun stuff. My days feel balanced. So far, it hasn’t been so much a free for all as it has been a time of refocus. It’s been a time for me to practice the fundamentals on the flute. It’s been a time to help my grandmother do some chores she can’t do on her own. I can focus on writing without deadlines. It’s not all fun, but the great thing about breaks is that there’s no such thing as routine. For me, break is a reset for the final weeks of the semester. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any fun moments, though. I’ve loved getting to do some things I don’t normally get to do. I’ve even gone wedding dress shopping- twice!
Okay… I didn’t end up buying anything, but I am engaged, so it’s never a bad idea to look.
I hope you have a (re)focused time, wherever you are, and that your break is maximized for rest and productivity. I hope that your traditions, whatever they may be, live long, and that you get to mix in some fun to balance the boring, during this one, long-awaited, week off.