Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Balance in 2021: September

Like many of you, I am finding it hard to believe that it's the last week of September already; it seems to have flown by -- and, at the same time, seems to have been a very long month. Thanks, as always, to Carolyn for hosting our once-a-month link-ups on our words.

It has definitely been a challenging month for me as far as Balance is concerned. The Jewish High Holy Days fell on weekdays this month, which meant I took the days off from work and then was constantly confused about what day it was. Work also ramped up a lot, leaving me scrambling to get things done and leaving not much room for the pastimes that usually help me to relieve stress. And I had additional synagogue board demands on my time that were a frustration, as it's become increasingly clear to me that most of the other people who are involved either don't work (either because they're retired or don't need to) or have much more flexible schedules than I. Suffice it to say that much of this month has been stressful, and at times it's been a struggle to maintain the balance between work and life, between obligation and choice.

I know that many people have been eager to return to in-person work because they find that it's difficult to maintain the boundaries between home office and home; there was a time when I thought that would be the case for me. After all, when the only difference between working and not working from home is whether or not you're logged in to your email and you don't actually have to leave an office to go home, it can be very easy to let work time bleed into home time. But I really focused this month on maintaining that division. I may have stayed "on the clock" a few minutes past 5 on a few occasions, but for the most part, I logged off when the end of the work day arrived. I also made sure to get my walk in every day, because I know that not only am I given a lunch break every day but the exercise is also helpful in keeping my stress levels under control. It did seem for a while that there was no end in sight with the work that was coming in, but I kept reminding myself that in reality it could not go on forever, and indeed there was a break. This is very much the nature of my job -- it tends to go in waves. So I've ridden this wave and made it safely back to prepare for the next one.

My 21 in 2021 list is winding down, with one big item crossed off this month:

  1. Bake challah for shabbat DONE
  2. Run a 5K straight Walk the length of the UK DONE
  3. Learn a new knitting technique DONE
  4. Sew a project bag DONE
  5. Knit a sweater out of handspun DONE
  6. Spin for a sweater - DONE
  7. Read a book outside my comfort zone DONE
  8. Try making pastry
  9. Knit or crochet a toy DONE
  10. Design a crochet pattern
  11. Read a biography/autobiography DONE
  12. Spin the oldest fiber in my stash DONE
  13. Knit five items for charity DONE
  14. Finish my WIPs from 2020 DONE
  15. Knit a sweater for Rainbow DONE
  16. Knit socks for my brother DONE
  17. Read a book of poetry DONE
  18. Read a book by a Native American/Indigenous author DONE
  19. Try three new meatless recipes DONE
  20. Go for at least three bike rides - one complete
  21. Read a book Rainbow reads for school DONE

In the first week of the month, I surpassed the number of miles walked equivalent to the length of the UK. As of this past Saturday, I've now walked nearly 1,213 miles this year. I may continue to track my miles, just to see how many I walk over the course of the entire year, but it feels good to have met that big number.

I've also completed one of my three bike rides and hope to do the other two in the next month or so. That leaves just making pastry (which I'm determined to do in the next month!) and designing a crochet pattern. I didn't specify that I had to publish that pattern, just come up with something without using someone else's instructions. I may count my pierogi from earlier in the year for that one and make another amigurumi toy for my nephew, and that would take care of the two crochet items on the list. It feels good to be almost done with three months still to go in the year!

I look forward to hearing how your One Little Word has shown up in the past month, and I'll be back tomorrow with a reading and crafting update!


  1. It sounds like you managed to give your word a lot of practice during September. ;-) It's so hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance when the demands of work get too . . . heavy. Let's hope things are a bit more stable next month!

  2. Work/life balance is difficult when they are both happening in the same place. It sounds like you are making a concerted effort to keep walking to help relieve stress, and congratulations on that 2021 list!

  3. Wow on your 2021 list! I do hope you crochet a little something for your nephew's birthday - I'd love to see what you make! and here's to a more balanced October - for both of us!!

  4. I think you learned a lot about balance by having challenges in achieving it - sometimes we grow from not connecting the way we want, too.

  5. It seems like some months--especially during work + child-raising seasons of life--are, and in a way that feels like there's not much choice in it. Sounds like Balance really brought the work in Sept.
    I'm wishing you a deep breath in October.
    And I'm over here celebrating your miles walked! What a thrill!

  6. Your list is inspirational! And, as a retired person, I am very aware of the impact on my working friends when meetings are scheduled during the day. The leaders on one group wanted to meet at 11 am on a Wednesday and I kept thinking that felt like a very entitled position - to imagine everyone was going to schedule a lunch break for this meeting. Balance in all things

  7. What a month, right?!

    But wow - you've done a great job of finding balance despite being pulled in so many different directions. You're doing a really great job of staying focused on your 21 in 2021 list.

    And double WOW on all the miles you've logged - that's amazing!

  8. Oof, I remember the challenges of work-life balance as a single mother. Sometimes, the stress of trying to keep things in balance is part of the problem. But it seems that you are doing a good job of keep work in check! (and bravo to you on that list!)

  9. How is it the end of September? Your 2021 list check-off looks great. Your reflections on balance are right on. In spite of the challenges you have maintained a healthy balance. I applaud your success.

  10. Seeing this list and reading how you were able to keep your head above the stress and didn't drown in it is so good, honestly. I hope you are really proud of yourself!
    I'm sorry that the board meetings are more stress, have you already adressed the schedule and voiced your frustration? I'm on a flexible schedule, too, but if I meet with others I have to take into account that others are not and have limited time (are you meeting in person again or is that via zoom?). I hope it will improve soon!!

    I am really applauding your list, by the way, that is super cool - did you already decide what kind of pastry your are going to make?