I hear this phrase at least once a day. How do you do it? How are there enough hours in the day for you? Don’t you sleep? Gosh, I’m blushing. Yes, I sleep. Thank you for your concern.
If you don’t know me, I’ll fill you in on my life. I work a semi-normal 9-5… and by that I mean that I’m an event planner. During event weeks, I’ll work all week only to cap it off with a 13 hour Saturday. Sometimes I have to be at work before the sun even rises. My record time? Working from 10am-11pm then staying overnight in a hotel (in the same city I live in) so that I can report at work the next day at 4:15am. That’s just how it goes.
On top of my job, I study improv. This means that on any given week, I commit about 15 hours studying, rehearsing and performing. Most Tues-Thurs nights, I don’t get home until midnight. To be able to afford my improv classes, I babysit a couple nights each month after work. I’m also very active at my gym and put in at least 5 hours a week working out. And, like every 20-something, I refuse to sacrifice my social life. I’m constantly balancing my sorority sisters with my roommates… my softball team with my dorm friends… all while getting to know my improv friends.
It’s not enough for me to just go through the motions – I strive to perform to the best of my ability in all areas. My biggest challenge yet was a few Thursdays ago. I woke up around 6am to get myself to work early, put in a 14-hr work day where I managed my first event, changed in a cab and made it over to Second City just in time to hop on stage for a show. This particular day didn’t allow me to slack off… I had to be at the peak of my performance during my event, put out fires left and right, then shake it off and forget everything that went wrong so that I could focus and give my teammates 100% on stage.
So how do I do it? A lot of people try to answer this question for me. Most attribute it to my age. I’m young, full of energy and naive enough to think that I can do it all. My mother loses sleep over the thought that my head is in the clouds and I will, in her words, trip and fall into the L tracks. It’s not a metaphor. She literally thinks this will happen one day.
This thought scares me to death… that I’m only going to be able to keep this up for a limited amount of time. However, when I look at my life, I realize that I’ve always been like this. When I was little, I was on multiple sports teams, captain of my cheerleading squad and was a girl scout. In high school, I balanced sports, theater and school… even getting myself on the train and commuting to NYC for Second City classes. In college, I held positions in three organizations, worked multiple jobs, interned, double majored and never compromised my social life. This is just how I am. It doesn’t have to do with my age and I honestly don’t see my flame burning out anytime soon. My dad worked multiple jobs, had a family and coached multiple teams every season. It’s in our blood to be busy.
This past Thursday, my improv coach was spitting some of her wisdom. We were chatting about leading a busy life when she mentioned that most people live in either the past or future, without any regard to the present. As I glanced around the bar, I realized that, although my life is busy, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I was surrounded by good people… people that make me happy and push me to be the best version of myself. If I were concerned about being tired tomorrow, or how rough work was earlier that day, I would have missed out on an opportunity to live in the present.
So many people make excuses. You’re busy, you’re tired, you have a long day tomorrow. I totally get it… sometimes this is true. But how often do you find yourself doing this? Are you going straight from work to your couch every single night? What kind of life are you living? I urge you to find something to be passionate about… and it can’t be work. Find one thing every week to look forward to… one thing that will force you to live in the present. It’ll make you happier.
How do I do it? I try to live in the present as much as I can. I learned at a very early age that life is short and we have to have fun while we’re here. At the same time, I know my limitations. I say no sometimes. I schedule time for myself… Monday night yoga, blogging during lunch, lying in bed until 2pm this past Saturday… something that will completely relax my body and help it heal from a busy week.
I allow myself a brief moment to unwind. Then I get up and do it all over again.