Live Inspired: how to be a rubber band

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It seems far away now, but I haven’t forgotten the frustration that once bubbled up, regularly.

Sitting in a cubicle, under fluorescent lights, abiding to stiff work hours, I felt like I was going a little insane. I was trying to be creative in the most uncreative space I could imagine.

How much better could I be, I thought, if I could remove this bulky structure, if I could write when and where I was inspired? If I could wander and discover, until creativity struck. And certainly it would strike all the time.

Those urges were among the reasons I decided to take this leap, and I expect a lot of people who make major change in their lives have similar motivations.

Yet, as I’ve discarded that resented framework, I’ve found, the pieces within it sometimes threaten to unravel, too.

See, the old structure forced out some of the freeness, but it also took away a lot of the daily decision-making and guesswork, allowing me to concentrate on what really mattered.

So now I’m in search of a new routine, new structure — the kind that can stretch and twist with new places and living situations and people, but can pop back into shape in a second, like a rubber band. 

Is it possible in a lifestyle like this? I’m still figuring it out.

It’s true what they say: 

Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life work every day of your life.

While so much of what I’m doing is “fun” and “fulfilling,” it’s also a lot. I need to explore and meet people to inspire content; to create content I need to be sitting in front of my computer. I also need down time, moments to recharge.

It’s been difficult to check all those boxes.

With the structure removed, it all becomes muddled. I no longer have a specific time I need to wake up, the ingredients for a smoothie in my fridge, a normal commute, a newspaper at my door, expected hours to sit in the office, and hours afterward.

So when is work time? It’s a little before leaving the house, a little with coffee, a little in the afternoon, a little with dinner, a little before bed. When is non-work time? I’m not sure. My computer is always with me, daring me not to pick it up, to fall behind, to not get ahead, to risk the dream.

I crave the point when I’ll feel comfortable closing my computer for one day or even two. (A weekend! What are those? I’ve forgotten.) But I also can’t really imagine it. 

Sometimes it feels like I’m doing so much with traveling, planning, discovering and producing that I haven’t left time for true creativity, because — and  here’s the kicker — the lack of structure gets in the way. My kitchen isn’t stocked, I can’t order takeout, I have no office, communication is hard and every chore takes at least twice as long. 

I know it won’t happen overnight, but I’m trying to make small steps to work closer toward some kind of normalcy. 

I’ve started setting my alarm at the same time every morning. I’m trying to embrace finding one coffee shop, and going there every day. A makeshift morning. I’m trying to put myself on a schedule, getting more work done in the mornings and early afternoons, so I can have the late afternoons to experience the city I’m in. I’m trying to drink less, sleep more. I’m not on vacation, after all, even though so many who surround me are.

Small things, like keeping my belongings in order, always unpacking right away, always making my bed, listening to the same podcast every morning and finding the time to put together a few thoughts before I leave the house each day — have kept me from unraveling. 

Something is holding it together, tenuously. The rubber band is often stretched thin, but I hope it will continue to pop back into shape. 

3 thoughts on “Live Inspired: how to be a rubber band

  1. Fascinating!! I didn’t think about how much this new lifestyle lacked structure. While that sounds so inviting, I can see the negative aspects as well! Lovely writing, Amelia!

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