The “un-plan” for my 30 days of me time was to carve out space to do the things I’ve neglected for too long. Turns out I filled my time with the familiar, only with more freedom. Isn’t that interesting? Finding your lost love and discovering it’s the same as it always was. Only you were different.
I’ve been writing professionally (in advertising and promotions) for umpteen years (maybe even 20 but at some point you have to stop counting.) Though I still get a charge out of the process, like everything, it can get rote. So I took this break to teach myself that I could take what I loved, but grown weary of, and pivot. I wanted to see if a time-out could help me refresh and re-direct new energy into something more fulfilling. I’ve been thinking about ways to take my passion and skills to different outlets–and writing this silly blog has been a tiny part of my test.
The result? Same as it ever was. It’s a love-hate relationship. This, always-on-thought-to-paper process. But I’m lollygagging in the love section. What’s different is I’m not doing this on the clock, for a commercial brand or for my résumé. I like the craft. I like the performance without the spotlight. I like the kneading and rolling and shaping.
I’m free here. Not being measured against any creative brief, marketing strategy or client expectation. And so I run with it. And enjoy the stretch.
Which is a great (and embarrassingly heavy-handed) segue into my other old, yet still burning, flame: running.
The scenery around here has been re-energizing to say the least. I explore the backroads and beaches on foot like a jogger tourist. Though I’ve been running consistently for years always, it’s under some time pressure. Squeezing it in before work, before going out or sometimes before going to bed. The night stops me. The traffic stops me. The to-do list stops me.
But I’m running on me time now. (And yes, that’s a double entendre.) Which means it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, how cold it is or whether I can fit it in. I do. If I feel like it. When I feel like it. As long as I feel like it. I’m compelled to run down any road that dead ends at the water and the ones that say “private road” but seem deserted enough in the off-season to get a quick sneaker peek. I like the change in terrain from weathered asphalt and puddled dirt roads to wet sand and lumpy dunes. The farm and vineyard views to the passing glimpses of clapboard houses reflecting curious ways of life. (And one, I just might envy.)
What has surprised me a bit is that I gravitated to two very distinct choices on a list of favorites to indulge. I wonder how they’re connected–cause everything is. The writing and the running…. The spurts of moving from one place to another, in a steady cadence, wending my way through changing landscape–literally and metaphorically. One foot in front of the other, two hands side by side, determined to find my rhythm, then break it, then go at it again and again.
In the end (at least of my me-time pursuits), it’s as if I enjoy the act of jumping in and not knowing where I’m going to end up. To take a run at something where I have the room to just go and find out. The freedom to move in any direction without a care to get anywhere in particular. How very zen of me. Embracing the uncertainty. Just like I un-planned.