Squeezing it All In

The older you get, the more you tend to add things to your schedule without taking anything away. It’s an illogical practice, and if you can avoid it, it will save you some angst. Since I did not avoid it, I am living with the consequences.

Of course, things get squeezed out, even if you don’t want them to. Here are some things I’ve given up or reduced to occasional activities:

  • Playing the violin or piano on a regular basis. I can be a competent musician, but I’m not at present. I am out of practice. I hopefully keep my fingernails short, but when the Time Squeeze occurs, this, unfortunately, is what is squeezed.
  • Calligraphy. I have pens, ink, paper, paint–all the accoutrements. But I no longer have an art desk or a magnifier light because there’s just no time for this activity. When I do decide to do a project, part of the time involved is practice and brushing up. And each project takes three or four drafts, so the occasion has to be very special.
  • RPG Games. We don’t have a group anymore, either, and it’s so hard to find gamers who at the same level of geekiness as you. Gamers that are too geeky just make you feel awkward, and if they are not geeky enough, you make them feel awkward.
  • Book reviewing. I hated giving up Debuts & Reviews. Hated it. This blog has languished without a clear subject ever since. I am considering dipping my big toe back in it, but really–the thing that made that blog distinctive was my Debut Showcases, and there are just too many debuts for me to handle. If I were to return to book reviewing, it would be one review a week, unless I could lure back my review partners.

Lest this post become totally negative, why did I have to give these things up? For reasons that were worth it.

  • My daughter’s education. Something had to be done, and we’re doing it. It involves a private school and lots of time, but it has totally been worth it.
  • A new job. My old career as a business analyst was pretty much played out, and now I am a product manager. It has been hard, and it will continue to be hard for at least six months or so. And it does involve extra hours. But when I get this product managed (that’s the idea, eh?) things should get easier.
  • Increasing my writerly output. I don’t blog as much because I am writing more. I am trying to add 2000 words to my WIP a week. A measly amount I know, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, and that’s all the time I’ve got.

But mostly, I don’t ever want to give anything up. Note that I still have my musical instruments and my calligraphy pens. And I still have this blog, along with a remnant of my audience (thank you!).

I know that I am probably in the busiest years of my life. As time goes on, and as my daughter grows up, I know the demands on my time will slacken, and I’ll be able to tackle those activities in the top group again. I was in Orchestra once with a woman who picked the violin back up after 30 years.

Have you had to give up any activities that you still miss? Or have you picked an activity back up due to a surplus of free time?

9 thoughts on “Squeezing it All In

  1. You go, Tia- that’s pretty much it in a nutshell, except I never did blog as much as you. Or review books much. But that is the squeeze in a nutshell, and item 1 on your “still doing” list is worth it alone.

    What I wouldn’t give for a RPG group of the appropriate level of geek… but I had perfection already so it would be tough!

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  2. As a daughter whose parents had to rearrange their lives a bit to make sure I got a decent education I’ve got to tell you, that does not go unappreciated. (And as a reader, your increase in writing output doesn’t go unappreciated either.) :)

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  3. I gave up the piano (temporarily, I hope!) after two wonderful years of lessons. We moved and just can’t fit it into our schedule or budget right now. I hope that will change!

    I’ve also given up crocheting and sketching, but I do still doodle, with pen and needle & thread.

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    • Music is hard to give up. It gets in your soul and takes root.

      But those lessons weren’t wasted, trust me. I took two years of violin lessons in my 20s, and they have stuck with me. I also retaught myself piano (from childhood lessons) and picked up a little music theory. The violin is good for ear training, too, so when I am composing I usually can find the right notes pretty quickly.

      Timing–now that’s another thing entirely.

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  4. I had to give up role-playing because I can’t find a group to play with. Likewise, I gave up weekly Rummikub games because the fellow we were playing with moved away. I also gave up volunteering at a library because the library was being renovated, and I never picked it back up. I miss all of those. {wistful smile}

    However, I’ve gotten back to playing my recorder (bloc flute), both at church and at occasional Big Island Recorder Society meetings. Church was out for a while because they kept holding the service earlier than we could make it, but they’re finally back to an early and a barely-late-enough service. I’m also trying to get back to writing more. I do enjoy that. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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    • Looks like you’ve given up lots of stuff, too. Is a recorder/bloc flute the instrument I think it is? That sounds fun. I still miss orchestra and it has been 20 years.

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      • Yes, I had to give up a lot. Sometimes life is like that. {small smile}

        The recorder… here’s the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorder
        It includes a picture of two or three sizes.

        It was the popular flute (non-reed woodwind) in Medieval, Rennaissance, and well into the Baroque period. Most baroque pieces that are now played with flutes were priginally written for recorders. It’s still popular in folk music, especially in Germany and Israel. {Smile}

        It’s played going straight out from the mouth, not going to the side like a transverse flute. Players blow into a mouthpiece, and the air is split partway down the headjoint, at a specially-cut hole that I think is called the fipple. So yet another name for this instrument is the fipple flute.

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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