Amanda's Adventures

{March 3, 2015}   The Business of Being Busy

Hey world. It’s 11:00 at night and I’m listening to Pela’s album Anytown Graffiti. I listened to this album on almost every bus/car/train/plane trip for about 2 years. My brother was best friends with the singer (and still is but the band is no longer fully together) and I felt personally connected to the musical artistry. Augustines is the newer band that Billy is a part of and they continue to put out inspiring music (Rise Ye Sunken Ships is an absolute masterpiece). What made this album so special to me is that it was the first album that I had that resonated with me that wasn’t directly given to me or heavily influenced by my parents (other than musicals, which I’ll go into how musical theatre saved my life another time). This album followed me through Europe, one of the few times of getting to be my authentic self (“her”) entirely, and listening to the album again reminds me of what that felt like. Music has always been a means of transportation for me (I’ll explain that a bit more another time).

The reason why I bring this up is because I am working towards building my sense of self and part of that is going to be saying “no” to being busy. The main reason that I need to do this because I’ve said “yes” to so many things that there isn’t room for “her”. Sitting here and listening to the music that carried “her” on the most independent adventure of her life, I miss “her”. While I was in Europe, I had a strong sense of self. I knew where  I was going (kind of) and I knew how I was getting there while staying open to the spontaneous gifts of the journey. I took risks and solved problems and prayed hard and cried hard and laughed hard. Solo travel is such a beautiful gift because you get to be yourself without all of the influences of the external contexts of your life. I got to let go of my school and career plans. I got to let go of my complicated relationships. I got to let go of everything around me in my regular life and put myself to the test. I got to see what I was actually made of. I made my choices and got to own them and learn from them.

I want to find that feeling again. I feel it a little bit right now, but I want to live in a way that I feel like I’m making choices, owning them, and learning from them. I’ve felt like the victim of my circumstances for so long, so this is a relatively new level of awareness and decisiveness. But sometimes I still feel like the victim. I was at work for 12 hours today and I had moments of thinking “It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to stay here.” But the truth is, no one was making me stay. I stayed because I haven’t made boundaries that make my work a part of me and not all of me. Because when you get out of grad school, no one tells you that you can stop pushing yourself as hard. No one tells you that you need to take care of yourself so that you don’t burn out. No one tells you that it is imperative that you create a life for yourself. For some people, reducing your expectations for yourself might be easy. And some companies are starting to look at wellness and preventing burn out. For me, I continued to have a need to prove that I was good enough. So I worked the long hours and made myself an asset. And then I took on more and more. And then I became the co-president of another organization and be a public figure and resource in taking on that role.

So I have no room for me because of all of the responsibilities I’ve taken on. So I have to figure out how to make room. Because this isn’t me. Most of the people in my life, even people I hold very dear, don’t know about important parts of me. Most don’t know that I am a musician. Most don’t know that I dance. Most don’t know that my favorite tree is a Redwood or that the beach is my one true sanctuary. And I want them to know “her”. But I have to make conscious choices that make room for me to be that person again. Because she’s been kept in the shadows for too long.


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