Monday, July 2, 2012

Enjoying the Quiet

It’s a lesson I’m trying to learn gracefully.

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to keep a busy schedule. I am known to overbook myself, to stretch myself thin, to commit to far more than I can easily handle. I carry a planner and a notebook of to-do lists with me in an effort to manage my schedule, as a way to ensure that everything gets done. This has been especially true as I’ve navigated three years of college and working nearly full-time. The first month of summer felt no different. I spent my days squeezing in waitressing shifts, homework assignments, social obligations and household chores. The nights were late; I was exhausted. But as my trip to Montana approached, the business became too much - I was doing a photography job each day, followed by a shift at the restaurant and filling the holes with editing, client ordering, finishing homework assignments and trying to pack.

Thankfully, somehow, I managed to find a few quiet evenings with my family. Time spent feeding ducks, laying in the grass at our favorite lake, and eating Italian Ice; savoring summer nights with my little brother who’s seven year old temperament is anything but quiet. I also snuck in afternoon ice cream cones with old friends and mornings spent in the park. These quiet moments were the only way I could recharge amongst all of the busy, all of the “to-do”, all of the anxiousness.

While traveling normally gives me the fuel I need for a new adventure, tis time - it didn’t happen that way. My trip to Montana started at 3:00 a.m. with a drive to Philadelphia. I entered the doors holding my breath, hoping that my suitcase wouldn’t blink a 5 and 0 on the official scale. (It didn’t.) The airport held long security lines and had I not been invited to use the first class/frequent traveler lane, I don’t know that I would have made my flight.

Our plane departing from Philadelphia encountered an oil quality error. An error that meant an extra hour spent in maintenance, being refueled and taxiing across the runway. Unfortunately I had had to book a ticket with a four hour delay but this proved fortunate on Thursday when we arrived late to the Denver airport, most of the plane arguing and rushing to try and make their next connecting flight which was due to depart in fifteen minutes.

My luck didn’t improve throughout the afternoon, though. Familiar with the airport from my last trip to Montana, I knew that there was only one Starbucks before Gate B23 and so I stopped, anxious for a venti iced chai latte - my favorite and saving grace during long days of travel. But before I had even the chance to take a sip, a flight attendant managed to knock it all over the floor without so much as an apology. So there I was - embarrassed and without a drink in the Denver airport. At this point, I was far past Starbucks and traveling alone meant that I had to drag my suitcase and backpack up the escalator in order to pay another $4.91 for a drink. (It was well worth it.)

The flights were bearable otherwise - a chance to catch up on homework and perhaps a quick nap. But the only real relief I felt from the exhaustion of my nearly sixteen hour travels was seeing Trevor waiting for me in the Bozeman airport. There’s something about the person you love waiting for you in an airport that gets me everyday. Long distance relationships might be hard but damn it, that’s not a bad perk. (Also, let me say that my boyfriend knows me better than anyone - he arrived at the airport with a V8 splash in one pocket and a Snickers bar in the other. And Buddy waiting outside in the truck. Yes please.)

Since, life has been a lot quieter - though maybe not in the most literal of senses with a bathroom remodel mid-progress and an over-protective pit bull who is hating the town’s overuse of pre - fourth of july fireworks.

I’ve been trying to learn how to enjoy time on my own, time without to-do lists and long hours of work. And, part of me has found this more exhausting than my usual busy routine. Most evenings, my boyfriend works eight to nine hour shifts - coming home to me no earlier than 12:30 but sometimes as late as 2. We’ve done our best to squeeze in funny movie nights snuggled on the couch and eating breakfast together but my favorite time of the day is always Trevor coming home.

I’ve spent my evenings settling into my new Montana home. That’s meant creating a closet for myself, cleaning and reorganizing the house, catching up on laundry, doing our shopping, taking early evening naps with Buddy, doing homework outside in the much cooler Montana sunshine and my favorite part? cooking dinner for Trevor. (Tonight’s menu? Strawberry balsamic chicken with roasted balsamic oregano potatoes.) As I begin to run out of to-do’s with hours left until Trevor returns home, I’m feeling anxious and ready for a mid-week holiday to spend together. I’ve got a list of projects for future days and some waitressing shifts this week to help keep me busy, but I’m still wondering,

How do you spend quiet hours on your own?

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying quiet can take some getting used to when you're a busy person. It can be so weird to just have not much or nothing that needs doing, or places to be, etc. I relish having things to do but I have learned that I very much need to include daily quiet time in my schedule or I over-stress.

    Anyway, in quiet moments I like to catch up on favourite blogs, read, or watch a loved TV series. I do have to have SOMETHING to do; I can't just sit for very long doing nothing but reflecting, lol.