Has anyone seen my Zen?

Earlier this week, for the first time ever, I walked out of a bookstore without a single book for me. I had tons for the kids, but none for me.

It felt wrong. It was sad. It made me realize I need to take a hard look at my life.

How could I commit such a treacherous act to the written word?

Because as I looked over the delicious buffet of books, as I ran my hands over the cool smooth surfaces, and  oooh-ed over the glorious cover art and typography, I kept saying to myself,  “I don’t have time to read.”

That, my friends, is a brutal wake-up call.

It was the reality check I needed to prove how much my life is controlling me instead of me controlling it.

I haven’t relaxed in months. I haven’t meditated for as long as I can remember. Yoga? Not these days, my friend. Quality time with friends? Texting is quality time, right? Does that once a month exercise class I manage to squeeze in even count?

I got home and instead of immediately sitting down to check my e-mail or get caught up on the work I am constantly barely staying afloat with, I sat on the sofa and relaxed. Just relaxed.

I felt itchy at first, jittery, and a voice in the back of my head was screaming that I had a homework assignment due the next day which needed finished, a manuscript to edit, e-mails to catch up on,  several blog posts to write, and a million other things.  But I stifled that bitchy little voice by eating a few cookies and drinking some hot tea.

I read a book then. Okay, it was a book that I had to read for a school assignment. But I actually read it instead of skimmed it enough to answer the questions which I’d done with the last few books because…I don’t have time to read.

I have been, in little bursts over the last few months, trying to find a way to get more organized and stay ahead instead of always just catching up. I even resigned from a few projects to free up time to focus on my writing since it always gets pushed to the backburner.

I now have three calendars on my wall, one on my phone, and one on my computer. All with the purpose of knowing what is do for different things and keeping track of my deadlines. These things have helped. But clearly not enough.

However, this cinched it for me, this was the slap to the forehead, the eye opening experience, the wake up call I needed. It is definitely time to rein it in and make more time for me.

Now, I just have to figure out how.

So, I ask you, ladies and gents, because I know you all are as crazy busy as I am, what has worked for you? How do you multi-taskers keep on top of your tasks and still find “me” time? What are you best time saving/stress relieving tricks?


4 thoughts on “Has anyone seen my Zen?

  1. I don’t have any good tips because I’m a horrible procrastinator and generally a disorganized mess. I need the tips as much as anyone! But as the book loving daughter of a mother who looked at reading for pleasure as “a waste of time” (I love my mother but we are just really different on this front!) I just want to cheer a post and its writer that gives such weight to the importance of the need to read… just because. For fun. For entertainment. For relaxation. Yes, life is busy and there are things that need doing. But is life all about “getting things done”? No. I know it’s tired but it’s true: we are here for a good time, not a long time, folks. Thanks for the reminder Emilia!!


  2. “we are here for a good time, not a long time”
    Well said, Kyoko! Maybe we can both find some great tips! I’ll share if you will! 🙂


  3. What a great post, Emilia. I retired about a year ago from my “real life” job. It helped a whole lot. Before that, I was up at 5 every morning, meditated for an hour to provide a platform for my day, and then spent the next ten hours or so running a county mental health and alcohol/drug services program. In the middle of the day, I went to the gym so my body wouldn’t fall apart. Once I finally got home and spent a bit of quality time with my husband, I’d write, often until the wee hours of the morning. Then I’d get up and do it all over again.
    Back when I was raising kids, I’ll be the first to admit I wouldn’t have had a shred of time to write between their school and extra-curricular activities.
    You’re wise to take some “me time”, though. When we don’t, eventually we become bitter and resentful which bleeds off on our families. My “me time” has been my daily meditation and exercise. I don’t think it matters what you choose, so long as you make time for it consistently and it renews you.
    Hope that was helpful.


    • Thanks, Ann! You sound so like me! I work from home, somehow that seems to make it worse. I don’t have any excuses not to have a clean house, laundry done, errands run…yet I still have to get all my work done too. It’s a lot to juggle!

      You are right about “me time.” It is critical to mental well-being and we all need to commit to it so we stay healthy!

      Thanks for your input!


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