Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 133… Work & Life

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

Life is a balancing act. The peak foliage has past, the days are getting shorter and that also means my work days are getting longer and my time off is rapidly shrinking. This happens each year and should not be a surprise to me, however this is the first time in my adult life I have had a second driving force in my life outside of work. Yes, relationships have come and gone in my years post college but the central core of everything has always been work.

Friends who have known me for years know when the leaves change our friendships are put on hold until after the snow is gone off the ground once more and the trees begin to bud again. For once the snow hits it’s all about work and really my whole life has been this way for when I was in high school and college winter marked my competition season. Now instead of me competing it’s coaching and being a dorm parent. I love these roles and at times have loved them to the detriment of friendships and relationships. The kids mean the world to me and I would do anything for them when they are under my care. I have spent most of the last nine years putting my own goals and successes aside for my athletes, much as a parent  focuses all their energy to their children. I realize now I had lost a part of me along the way. This spring, these races, this blog changed the whole game.
This year however something has changed, for the first time really since I can remember I have started to put myself first. I find my workout time sacred. Others have commented it’s at the point of obsessive or manic, but it is my only time in the day to truly be self centered. It is a time I can totally devote to myself, for the rest of my life is devoted to fostering up the next generation of young adults. Some go to the bars to find solitude in a cold beverage, some dig themselves deep into a book, others veg out on the couch or cook a fantastic meal. All of these things can be the right answer but for me it is my training, my “me” time of the day. Even if I am gone for only an hour, I come back refreshed ready to tackle obstacles that seemed insurmountable moments earlier.
As work has gotten more demanding I find my balance is off, I struggle to find that “me” time in the day. As a day or two stacks up and I realize that not only have I not had a chance to workout. I also haven’t left the building, a hazard of living where you work. My balance is thrown off, I am ready to run down the hallways like an asylum inmate searching for the exit door. It is within these moments that I realize I need the outdoors, I crave the outdoors, and at the very least I need to have movement in my life. I need to find the reprieve like a smoker needs their cigarette break.
I do not have the answers to this puzzle, yet. However, the first step for me has been locating the pieces, like finding the edges of a puzzle. Once the outline is set and the frame is ready, then it’s moving all the pieces into the correct places, to reveal the final picture. I am still working out my plan to find this balance but for now the first step was knowing and realizing how much this personal time really means to me each day. As I move forward finding the time and refocusing the balance is becoming more and more important for when I am off not only does my fitness suffer but my work, and my mental psyche are off balance. 
I know in finding this balance I will have to make sacrifices. I will miss things whether it be a training session, a race, a party, that beer with a co-worker or another event along the way. It’s adjusting priorities, taking a step back and looking at the big picture of life which I hope will guide me to finding those pieces and putting them into the correct places.