Burning the Candle at Both Ends

This weekend I was able to enjoy my first days off in more than two weeks. During the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I ended up work 75+ hours in 6 days–often 12-15 hour days on my feet. I was working in a sponsor booth for Bit of Britain during the day and covering the Kentucky Reining Cup event at night for an online publication.

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Oh, yeah, and sand volleyball season has started at the German bar where I ref two nights a week. So here was my schedule:

Monday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30 am, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-7
Wednesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-6
Thursday: Rolex 8-6, Press Dinner 6:30-9pm
Friday: Rolex 8-6, Reining 6-Midnight
Saturday: Rolex 8-5, Reining 5:30-10:30pm
Sunday: Rolex 8-9:30, Reining 9:30-Noon, Rolex/Teardown 12-8pm
Monday: Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-11pm
Wednesday: Work 9-4:30
Thursday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30
Friday: Work regular job 9-3

Mix in writing articles at night for publications that were due at night. I didn’t even have the energy to blog, let alone catch up on my usual blogs I like to read.

This past Tuesday I started coughing…and throughout the week it has morphed into more than a cough. I was supposed to run 8 miles as part of my half marathon training on Saturday, but combine whatever the illness is that I have (some say a cold, others bronchitis, we’ll see what the doctor says Monday), I strained my back doing thrusters (while coughing) at CrossFit on Thursday. Yeah….I’m a hot mess.

My mother always warns me about burning the candle at both ends–you burn out a lot quicker than you’d like. That has definitely rang true for me this past week.

I’m taking stock in everything that I’m doing, and it’s time to prioritize things. My day job (aka “regular job”) will soon be going from part-time (33 hours a week) to full-time come June (or so we hope). I’m also trying to grow and promote my freelancing business a lot more: I have picked up a few new publications/websites in the past few weeks that will start to require more of my time for brainstorming, interviewing, and story writing. I’m also wanting to get more serious about my CrossFit training and have a half marathon coming up in almost a month. Not to mention training the dogs in agility as classes are getting going in the warm weather, etc. Oh, yeah…and spend some time with my husband.

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For four years I’ve been a ref for a sand volleyball league at a German bar here in town. I used to ref 4-5 nights a week, but then cutback to 2 nights a week. For two years I’d ref Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 pm to 2 am. But this year I’ve decided I can’t do that any more. I need to take care of myself and make sure I’m getting decent sleep–I can’t be falling asleep at work the next day because I only had a few hours of sleep, and I don’t want to slack off on my training. So I will still ref Monday and Tuesday nights, but the latest I’ll ref is to 11pm. Yes I’ll miss some of that extra money, but I’ll appreciate my sleep more.

While I haven’t been able to enjoy the gorgeous weekend weather because of being sick, it has proven that I’m not Superwoman and I need to take better care of myself. I need rest just as much as I need activity, money, etc.

I might not be blogging as much as I used to, but I hope to focus on my quality blog posts, and for that, I hope you understand.

Your turn: Have you ever just hit the wall? How have you combatted burning the candle at both ends?

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Too Busy to be In Love?

(Note: This is another one of those personal stream of thought postings [that I’m trying to not get too personal], so please forgive me if this post doesn’t make 100% sense…)

Is it possible that you can be too busy to be in love with life? I ask this because of a personal issue to someone I’m connected with, that I was always concerned that they were too busy for their personal life and too busy to make their marriage work.

In this day and age, it’s not hard to find someone who is burning the candle at both ends–I know I’m guilty of it, especially in the summer when my volleyball reffing gig picks up. We seem to be more focused on status–whether it be of monetary value or professional value–which then takes our focus away from the other, perhaps smaller things, in life.

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

But isn’t there a point where you just have to stop and think for a minute that perhaps you’re attacking your life all wrong? Lately it seems like I’ll look back and can’t believe I’ve been married for almost five months now…time seems to be flying! And when I look at everything I’ve done since October, it’s no wonder that the days all zoom by me–I’m too busy to take a few deep breaths and enjoy what’s already around me. And I fear that’s what’s happened to my family member who has just realized she isn’t in love.

We look hard and long for that special someone who makes our life whole, and then we (well, most of us) take our time getting to know that person so we know if they’re right for us. Then we marry and our life truly begins again…and then you turn on the fast forward button.

You keep yourself so busy that the marriage becomes one of convenience–you know you’re not coming home to an empty house and there’s someone to take care of the pets while you’re out and about doing whatever. But you forget that you married that special someone to spend your life and share your time with, not to have as an convenience. Your spouse is there to be your supporter, but they’re also there to share themselves with you. If you don’t give them that opportunity, then you quickly forget why you married that someone.

I know I’ve been guilty of never being home, of being too busy with my friends and other plans that I’ve neglected my relationship with M. And I’ve worked hard to rectify that situation and to make life better for us. It’s so difficult to keep that delicate balance because there’s so much I want to do and to accomplish, and I always feel like life won’t let me catch up. But you have to be mature enough to really step back and realize how you got to the point you’re at now and why you are there. You have to make the effort to fix what you’ve broken because of your inattentiveness. You can’t expect 100% of that effort to come from the other party, instead it has to a team experience–50/50.

Do I fear that this individual has just given up and doesn’t want to try to fix things? Yes, I do. And it’s a selfish act to just give up on someone you’ve once proclaimed you loved with all your heart, and that someone you know would move heaven and earth for. It’s selfish to just give up, to just move on like you’re not hurting anyone. Because it’s more than just yourself you should be thinking about, but the other party and those affected by the dissolving of a marriage. I know you have to make yourself happy, but you also need to look deep inside yourself to figure out what it is you really need that was pulling you away and pushing you to be so busy.

Things are going to be rocky for a while, but I hope the boat rightens itself soon…

Workplace Insights

The following is mostly just a stream of thoughts put to the keyboard…but I feel it’s an important topic that everyone should feel open to discuss.

They say you spend a very big portion of your life working. You spend at least a third of your day working. So you want what you do your a living to be enjoyable, right? But it’s not all 100% just about you, but about the people you work with is just as important. You have to be able to get along with your co-workers and your management.

So what do you do when you’re unhappy with your work? I’m not talking about myself at this current moment in particular, but just talking from experiences in my past and some of my friends’ experiences.

It’s imperative that whoever you are, wherever you work, you have a support system at work. Now this is different from the support system I talked about in a previous post, but the support you should receive from someone like your boss and your coworkers.

I’m lucky to currently have a boss that cultivates creativity and has the back of her employees. If we need a day off, she’s all about finding someone to help make sure our job (which can basically be 24/7) is taken care of. She works hard to make sure our jobs aren’t too difficult, yet she challenges us to think of new ideas and concepts to help the company.

Some might not be so fortunate–they might feel stuck in their position, pigeon-holed to stay within the lines and not be able to stretch their legs outside of the job description that’s on paper. Or they have a boss that might believe in the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality because perhaps they feel entitled? They might forget that they were once in the position of their employees (hey, we all started somewhere, right?). But it’s a leader like that can create a stifling environment, which can be unpleasant for anyone. You don’t want to work in an unpleasant environment after a while–it eats away at your soul and your heart. This can make life move slowly…miserably.

Yet, in this economy, we feel trapped. If you have a job, you’re darn tootin’ going to do your best to keep it–that is, until you are able to find something better–but still, you’re afraid to shake the boat because you need that income and those benefits.

So what is someone to do when they’re unhappy? Right now, you just keep plugging along. You keep your chin held high and your head to the brimstone and do your job and pray for things to get better.

Or, you can take that leap and hope for the best…you just have to plan a little for the future before doing so.

So which is it?