Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Busy/Home Balancing Act

This summer has been an exercise in trying to feel grounded in my home while being away basically half of my time. It's a workout for my brain and body, trying to keep the balance between the busy, fun goings-on of summer and my need for the peace and quiet of home and "me time." It's been a ridiculously fun summer, and will continue to be: the next month is set to include a trip to Canada, a week of camping in Southern Oregon, another camping trip with my girlfriends, and a wedding in Spokane. But that leaves a grand total of about half of September in which I will actually be here in Portland.

 'Tis the season for peach salsa!

As fun as this season has been, I struggle a bit with being away from home so much. I love being social and I love seeing new places, but I always start to feel a little frazzled when I only get a few days a week in town before the next trip. Add in the fact that I've just started dating someone (which is great, but also takes up time I previously had to myself) and I have to work hard to maintain some routine and make sure I don't crash and burn from being on the go for too long at a time. Maybe I should say that this is all an exercise in intentionality: planning ahead, staying aware of my own needs, working on my ability to predict how I will feel if I do/don't have some down time by myself. I think having the ability to say no is crucial. If I were to say yes to every opportunity and invitation I have had this summer, I would be completely overwhelmed. As it is, I'm pretty pleased with the balance I've found.

 Zinnias and yarrow from my garden

I thrive on travel and time with my friends, but I am by nature a bit of a homebody and feel pretty scattered if I don't have sufficient time to spend alone in my apartment or garden, catching up on chores and cooking, and just reading and relaxing by myself. Knowing that fall is coming and the constant traveling stops at the end of September helps; remembering that there are cozy rainy stay-at-home-and-make-soup days on the way enables me to make the most of the summer (because yes, September is still summer in Portland).

This past weekend was the first I have spent in Portland in a month. It was pretty ideal: a fun social day on Saturday, and low-key social things Sunday morning and evening, but in between most of a day to myself. After a long bike ride in the first legit rainstorm in a couple months (in which I and every other cyclist got soaked because we have been lulled into a false sense of security by two months of sunny weather and did not have rain jackets with us), I mixed up a batch of bread for the first time in weeks, and left it to rise while I went to the coffee shop and spent a couple hours on job searching and catching up on emails. Then made the loaves and set them to rise while I cooked up a batch of vegetable stock from veggie scraps I've had in the freezer for awhile. My afternoon was speckled with cooking, washing dishes, planning for the week, reading, playing music and enjoying the rare day at home, with the windows open to let in the fresh air and the smell of the rain. These kinds of days are crucial to me; it's my way of recharging, collecting myself, and getting ready for the next adventure.

The community garden is a glorious forest of sunflowers right now.

I'm know I'm not the only one that struggles with keeping a healthy balance between home and social times/travel, particularly in the summer- I'd love to hear your stories and how you cope with being on the go all the time.

Continuing with the travels, tomorrow evening I head off to Victoria, British Columbia, for Labor Day Weekend. I'm looking forward to wandering a new city with my camera and journal, meeting new people and enjoying some foreignness, and dropping back into my travel blog routine for a few days! Hope you come along for the ride.

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