Years ago back in my event planning days, a group of us put on an annual fundraiser benefiting various organizations here in town. Our biggest challenge was not wrangling the many details that went into planning this event. No, our biggest challenge was finding a time to meet to do the planning.
We would toss out dates and times and inevitably one of my friends would say, “No, that won’t work for me, I’m running then.” So we’d toss out another day and time and she’d say, “No, I can’t do that time either. I’m going for a run then as well.” This annoyed me. In my head, I was impatiently thinking, “Oh for crying out loud, do you have to do your exercising then? Your running? Can’t you do that another time?” Meanwhile, I would cancel anything, or completely rearrange my calendar to make our meeting work. “Oh Carrie, good for you for being so flexible,” you might be thinking. But, no. Not good. My friend was much wiser than I.
I didn’t set boundaries for my time like my friend. For years, I did not maintain control of how my time was spent. I would fritter it away not only for trivial reasons but also well-intentioned reasons: planning meetings, lunches out, networking meetings, evening gatherings, volunteer projects, perfecting projects that would have been sufficiently finished at 80%, making long-involved recipes on weekdays, never saying no to my children’s request to drive them here, there, and everywhere. I didn’t value my time.
The irony of scheduling those event-planning meetings is that even with my friend’s dedicated exercise times, after a few rounds of tossing out dates and times, we always found a time that worked for all of us.
If you came over to my house today, unannounced, you would find my kitchen sink, as well as the counter next to it, full of dishes. Upstairs you’d find unmade beds. On the cabinet in my office, you’d find a graveyard of electronics that continues to grow year after year since no one has carved out the time to take care of that little problem.
Back in my event planning days, that same group of friends used to poke fun at me about my relentless organizing and tidying. One friend used to joke, “Carrie, your house is always party-ready.” No longer and not because I don’t like a party-ready house — there’s actually something quite calming about a tidy and organized house — but what I realized is that I could spend every second of every day organizing and tidying up stuff and never spend the time doing what actually matters most to me. The soul fulfilling stuff. The stuff that gives meaning to my short life.
Yesterday morning, after walking my fourth-grader to school, I made a pot of coffee, left the dishes for later, and sat down at my desk to write. I sat there working away until my stomach rumbled for lunch. Thanks to our warm winter weather, I ate my lunch outside on my deck and from time-to-time I turned my face toward the warm sun, closed my eyes, and let out a huge sigh. During those morning hours, I had finished editing the final essays for my book and sent them off to be professionally edited by my thank-god-I-hired-her-best-decision-ever copy editor. I felt rather proud of myself.
All of the editing of essays and recipes has been an incredible amount of work and yet, I’m so pleased that I guarded my time and have spent these last months doing that hard work that really matters to me. I still have quite a bit more to do, but the bulk of the editing—the hardest part in my opinion—is finished and I feel such a sense of personal accomplishment. And ironically, even though I didn’t spend my days doing dishes, or tidying up the house, somehow those necessary tasks always seemed to get done.
Thank goodness for my friend’s wise example all those years ago. Now, if I could only adopt her dedication to exercise, I’d be in really great shape. (Pun intended.)
|Dijon Rosemary Marinated Chicken Breasts|| |
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar (or other white vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, about 4 inches long, leaves removed, stems discarded
- Generously salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts.
- In a small bowl (or 4-cup glass measuring container like I use), whisk together your olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and rosemary. Place your chicken in an airtight marinating container or in a Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal container, and shake to make sure chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to grill, take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit while you preheat your grill to medium. (I use my gas grill all year long, but if you currently have 6 feet of snow out your window, you may want to cook these on a grill pan on your stove top.) Grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Pull from grill, tent with foil and let stand for 5-10 minutes.