Whoa, this post is timely. I woke up this morning and needed this exact message myself, so I hope it hits at least one of you on the right heartstring, too.
Do you ever have those moments where you can’t breathe in your own life? Like, you feel claustrophobic looking at your calendar, or seriously stressed with every notification that pops up on your screen, or like you just want to throw everything (and sometimes, everyone) very, very far away so that you can sit in a room with no clutter all by yourself and just lay there looking at the ceiling? Or maybe scream?
Sometimes not even the best brain dump can solve our problems – sure, it’s a hella good start, but it’s just scratching the surface. Because beyond the surface level, there’s a whooooole lotta space. And it’s our responsibility in our own lives to manage that space.
Give yourself space.
In J’s day job, he deals with something called “preserved open space” in towns. So in some townships (maybe yours?), there may be a biiiiiiig open plot of land that is deemed “preserved” by the municipality, so that no developers can come in and, well, develop it.
When I was first brainstorming this post and the message I hoped to convey with it, this thought hadn’t hit me…and then it did, and it was like like the divine lightning bolt of the day and all clicked, so bear with me. 😉
So this open space idea. The concept helps ensure that from a holistic standpoint, the town maintains a certain charm. It prevents things from getting too cluttered or too busy. It keeps things forcibly open.
Because if it’s not intentionally handled, it would be waaaaaay easy for developers to come in, do what they do, and over-develop for the sake of their short-term picture, not even taking the long-term vision into consideration for the town at large.
The same goes for us – sometimes we forget that beauty isn’t always created in the doing, but in the being. Whether it’s through letter of the law or sheer force, we need preserved open space in our lives – from our calendars to our closets, relationships to refrigerators.
Give yourself space.
Case in point: I just started a new agenda today. That’s the best feeling, isn’t it??? A new calendar book for a new fiscal year…I digress.
In my old agenda, each day was broken down by the hour. At first, I thought this was exactly what I needed – my OCD scheduling tendencies were ~thriving~. But then…not so much.
One of my fatal flaws came out full-force, and I couldn’t stop it.
My incessant need to overschedule.
I mean, I know myself. I know that I’m a chronic overscheduler. If there are five time slots for the day, I can fill six with another squeezed in tiny chicken scratch on the side justincase I “find the time.”
Realistically, that’s not going to happen. It’s NEVER going to happen. Because besides the fact that it’s just not possible to put 27 hours worth of work in a 24-hour day, it’s psychologically screwy to expect to make that happen. If anything, it can lead to *less* productivity, with time wasted on overthinking or overanalyzing or overstressing the day’s to-do’s.
For me, it’s a fine line. If I have a calendar of totally open space, I’m LESS productive – instead of intentionally plotting that space to good use, I can waste it away on 45 minutes of a beauty tutorial here, 30 minutes of online window shopping there, two hours catching up on Bachelorette drama, and wham bam alakazam – wasted space.
So I toe the line and give myself grace…but it can be a real battle sometimes to give myself space.
As I switched agendas to my new planner, I realized something of the last month or so: Every. single. hour was blocked off for one thing or another on my calendar, and I had no space to ~breathe~. Literally. It was an impossibe feat, getting each task checked off, and it was this self-inflicted wound that kept getting salted with every added line-item “to get done ASAP.”
But the thing is…we need space.
Mentally, physically, emotionally, creatively, organizally, we need space.
I always like to use flower metaphors around these rosy parts (because duh), and it works WELL here. Ironically, I have the least green thumb on God’s green earth. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that seeds need a specific set of space between them when planting. If they’re cramped too close together, they can’t blossom. Their roots can become intertwined, and they literally compete with one another for nutrients. They don’t get what they need to succeed, and they can dry up altogether. Giving yourself space is an essential part of watering your own mind, body, and soul, so that YOU don’t dry up and wither away, either, from overwhelm.
Instead of viewing space as something to be filled, imagine space as something to be cherished. Something to just be. Something to sit with, and to use for nothing other than existing so as to better complement the other things that naturally fill it down the line.
Space is breathing room.
Clear out the clutter and give yourself space to be great.
Plan less, just be more.
Close out some tabs, both in your brain + on your screen (guilty), so that you can refresh, refocus, + restart with newfound freshness.
Add space between the lines, both on your calendar + in your life.
We all need that “preserved open space” in our lives – have you assigned it yet in yours?