Over the past several weeks I have been practicing making space. The thing about practice is that it is not about perfection; it is about consistency and improvement.
Which is all to say I have not always succeeded. A thing about business travel is you (I) regularly end up working two to three time zones at once (a way of saying 18-hour days) and it is hard to integrate anything else (doing yoga, going on bike rides, playing video games, reading books, getting enough sleep, spending quality time with friends or family) when your calls start at 5am and don’t end until midnight.
Before the pandemic, I travelled for work all the time. During the pandemic (did you think it was over?), I once again travel for work all the time.
And yet! There have been times I have succeeded. I have met colleagues for coffee and friends for lunch at short notice without the endless scheduling dance of duelling calendars. I have gone for long walks in beautiful parks. I have played with adorable babies I had not previously had a chance to meet. I started and finished a couple of books.
And also: I concede that my relationship with sleep is…less than ideal, that I have commuted via bike share but not ridden any of my own for pleasure in months. That yoga is a practice, and I have not practiced. Video games are a memory.
There are always trade-offs. The question is always: which ones do I make, and for how long, and for whose benefit?
Fifty cents more an hour would get me
a house in the country
hilarious friends calling
an Airedale that wakes me up only for brunch
a lover lusting insatiate
liberation from my own daily routines
10,000 more a year would get me
in debt for the house in the country
part of the car that will slide up the driveway
tennis lessons in the neighborhood
installment plan travel out of that
an A-1 recommended kennel for my dog
50,000 beyond that would get me
a whole lotta trouble
I would have to revise this poem
and I don’t know
— Financial Planning by June Jordan (commissioned by Forbes magazine) in Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan