After four crazy years of living in New York City, my husband and I ended up in Montana for a one year dental residency. In New York, Bryce and I met some incredible people including many of our best friends. We went on some wonderful adventures, adapted to city life and worked really, really hard!
Our last year there I was diagnosed with non-Hodkins Lymphoma. While I was trying to survive the life of a cancer patient, my husband was doing everything for me as well as finishing up all the requirements for dental school at Columbia University. The last month we were there, my husband Bryce graduated from Dental school and I from Chemo. We then packed up two suit cases each, shipped a couple boxes and boarded an airplane to Montana.
After a beautiful year of much needed rest in Montana we are heading to Long Island, New York for one last dental residency. As we are packing up our things this week (and I'm trying to decide if you can have too many sweaters or not), I've been reflecting on our year here in Montana.
While living in Montana my husband and I both had excellent work schedules. They allowed us to have long weekends where we camped, hiked, listened to podcasts and finished some good books in our hammocks. It was a beautiful year of relaxing and enjoying nature.
The most important lesson I learned while we lived in Montana for a year was that I don't have to be busy to feel important, accomplished, successful or happy.
In New York I was SO busy! I was a full time nanny, started my own photography business, taught 10 piano students, stayed social with my husband and friends and served at my church. I also spent an hour or two on delayed subways with four bags of groceries now and again. Was it a busy time in my life?...Yes! Did I need to be as busy as I was?...No! I could have cut back on a lot of things. But being "busy" made me feel successful. At the end of the week when I would cross of my ridiculously long list of things to do I would feel empowered and important.
In Montana things were different. As I was recovering from chemo I decided to give my body the proper rest it needed. I didn't over book my life, but scheduled what really mattered. I got enough sleep, started running again, enjoyed working and starting new projects, but still gave myself time to go on walks with my husband and try new yoga classes.
I also had more time to really give back to others, which made a huge difference. I gave myself more time to call a sibling or friend. I became friends with an older neighbor and scheduled lunches with a mother of five who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was a real "Ah-ha" moment when I realized I was glorifying being busy.
You might be thinking, "that's great Laura, but you aren't juggling a busy job and two kids! I can't just move to the mountains for a year and read my book in a hammock. Heck, I don't even own a hammock!"
We all go through different stages in our lives. Some are busier than others. I don't know what the next three years in Long Island will be like. Yet I want to prioritize and not make my life "busy" because it makes me feel important. Hopefully I can remember what I learned in Montana and remember what really matters most.
How do you feel about being busy? I would love to hear your thoughts below!