The 10 o'clock Walk

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I have a pencil case that I got for $5 at a warehouse sale a few years ago that says “I am very busy”. I like to bust it out in meetings and watch people’s reaction. Sometimes I get a little chuckle, sometimes people ask where I got it but mostly I get this:

“You are definitely one of the busiest people I know.”

Usually, I would consider this a compliment because, you know what, I am busy. I’m freaking busy! My days are usually 13-14 hours long, my weekends are usually planned out a few months in advance and I often feel like I’m spinning many plates made of fine china and am at risk of dropping a few of them at once.

Lately though, I’m feeling like my tendency towards “busy” is less of a compliment and more of an accusation. Like my busyness is a real pain in the ass and not something to wear as a badge of honor or write about in my Instagram profile.  It’s not like I WANT to be this way. IT’S A DISEASE; I CAN’T HELP IT, DIDN’T YOU SEE MY PENCIL CASE?!

I read everywhere that “busy” is out and “balance” is in. We have to trade in our work phones for a solid morning routine, trade our late nights for shutting off our phones after a certain hour and cancel our plans to get a decent amount of sleep. We’re supposed to meditate, drink matcha, and detox from social media. I can’t help but wonder how people who work outside the home are supposed to actually achieve this level of enlightened balance? Influencers everywhere: I ENVY YOU AND YOUR NAME BRAND MATCHA.

It’s so funny because while we are obsessed with balance, we are also obsessed with success and working our asses off to get it……so I ask you: WHERE IS THE LINE? AND CAN WE HAVE A MEETING TO DISCUSS?

I have this tendency to chain myself to my desk during the day. I fear missing an email, being away when “that important call” comes in or not being readily available to help at any given time. It’s a habit I’ve picked up over time: taking on more than the normal human being and working with lots of executives.

Luckily, (or perhaps not) I’m not entirely alone in this. Enter the “10 o’clock walk”.

I work with three girls who I adore: Christy, Helena and Kristen.  They are all so different in such wonderful ways and each brings huge blessings to my cubicle life and my actual life. Christy is through, a great listener, an amazing hostess and always knows the right way to word a difficult email. She also looks like Barbie. Helena is methodical, with a deep understanding of sarcasm, an appreciation for the TV show The Office and has the best hair of anyone I know. Kristen is creative, gentle and courageous: she takes solo trips, can eat dinner alone at a crowded restaurant and always saves my ass in a pinch.

We are a definitely a “get it done” group of girls: I don’t mean to brag, but if you looked up “hard-working women” in the dictionary you may or may not see a photo of the four of us, bent over our computers. I think we should all have matching pencil cases, actually. A few months ago, during an exceptionally busy season, Helena suggested we take a walk to clear our heads and see daylight for a few minutes. AND YOU GUYS IT WAS A GAME CHANGER.

Turns out, we needed a daily walk more than we thought: maybe it’s like matcha for the soul?  The 10 o’clock walk is now a standing appointment on our calendars: we converge by Kristen’s office and make it a point to walk the 1.2 mile loop near of office at least once a day. Our rule? Only talk about work if absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we chat about Christy’s baby girl who just learned how to walk, the fabulous trip to New Zealand Kristen and her husband have planned over Christmas or the trip to Peru Helena and her husband just returned from. We talk about marriage, family, and friendships. We share our favorite recipes, talk about our weekend plans and I make sure to inform the group when we’ve hit 2,000 steps and can return to the office. It’s something we all look forward to and try to make a priority when we don’t have meetings. Another rule? You are allowed to be too busy to walk, but you’d be surprised how many things can be set aside for a few minutes in the name of sunshine, fresh air and girl talk.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Christy, Helena and/or Kristen to walk with, get out there! Create a route, put a standing meeting on your calendars and go. If you don’t, make a date with yourself: put on a podcast, listen to Harry Potter on Audible and go. It’s easy to get trapped in the busyness of the day to day but I’ve found that life can open up little pockets of time where bits of balance can be achieved in between plans and meetings. For me, it’s the 10 o’clock walk.

IS THIS BALANCE? HAVE WE FOUND IT?! DO I HAVE TO DRINK MATCHA AND CHECK MY CHAKRAS NOW? BECAUSE I’M STILL TOO BUSY TO DO THAT.

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