Somewhere in Wyoming, I realized my life had gone off track. I was at a scenic overlook, gazing upon these majestic mountains rising up from the ground in the distance, and all I could think was “OK, it’s time to go!” As I got back in the car, I yearned to stay longer, but I had 1,500 miles to drive and little time to do it in. During my book tour, I was often asked “Are your travels as interesting as they used to be now that travel is work?”
Working as a travel writer has definitely changed how I travel. In the past, every day on the road was Saturday. I had nothing to do and all the time to do it in. But travel is different now: I need to stay in each destination longer in order to balance work, research, writing, and just having fun.
While I love this blog, the people I meet, and everything I do, there are times when you realize your life has become unbalanced.
Wyoming was one of those times.
Both work and play were suffering. I could no longer keep up with either. Projects and ideas accumulated but none got done. I never had time to do the things that relaxed me and was tired and worn out.
When I got back to New York City last month, I resolved to find balance again. I created a schedule to clearly separate work time and me time. I hired people to help run the website, am reading more, rejoined the gym, and started swing dance class again.
Tomorrow is my thirty-fourth birthday, and, if this past year has taught me anything, it is that time is the most precious commodity in the universe. You can never get it back and we have so little of it. I’ve thought a lot lately about the times I watched TV over reading, drank a little too much, spent way too much, and skipped the gym because “there’s always tomorrow.”
But there is no tomorrow. There’s just this moment now and you have to ask yourself “Am I using my time wisely?”
I recently read the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which talks a lot about internal balance and time management. I realized that to be the person I desire and do the things I want to do, there needs to be better balance in my life.
By using my time for what is truly important (Sorry, Facebook, you have to go. It’s not you, it’s me!), I can focus on what improves my life and the lives of those around me. This is about progress… because every moment of every day is a chance to be just a little better than you used to be.
And if I can do just one thing differently each day, next year, I just may be where I want to be. Or, at the very least, heading in the right direction.