{sweet spot}

Yesterday, my friend Katherine told me that whenever she is deciding whether or not to commit to something, she asks herself this question: Is this something I want to do? Or something I feel like I should do?
This question aligns with so many of the things I'm trying to accomplish: to be less busy, to stop shoulding, to make time for the things that bring us joy. But there is also something bigger it taps in to. Lately I've been performing a bit of a self audit. I've been making a list of what I love, what makes me happy and what moves me in the direction I hope to go. And then I'm taking the list of everything I do and seeing how they fit together. Does this event move me torward this goal? Does this project, charity, committee, activity move me where I want to go?
This is on the heels of a recent formula I heard about finding how to live a fulfilling, happy life. The formula is: 
Doing what you love + what you think the world needs = happiness.
 My brother, Duke, is the perfect example. He loves healthy living and believes in the power our physical health has on our mental health. He also sees a void in the world: people are undereducated, undermotivated and overweight. He took his love, found the gap in the world, and merged them. This weekend he will finish his Masters, and this fall will start his PhD in Sports Psychology. Every day, he's meeting with clients to help them understand how they can live a healthier life. He's performing research and writing dissertations. He's working with entire families to break the cycle of obesity. And I've never seen him this happy. He's living in his sweet spot.
Everyone should get to live this way!
Everyone should be able to do what they love to help make the world a happier, more productive place. Maybe it's your job. Maybe it's your extracurriculars. Maybe you're lucky enough to have both of your happy worlds in one!
For me, the formula is helping me keep my activities in check. It's reminding me that just because I can do something, doesn't mean I should. Some things move us forward and others bog us down. And when we can figure out which are which, that's when we're really living in our sweet spots. That's when we're really flying.

r&r at its finest

Life is a funny thing and it seems the minute I found myself at my breaking point - setting rules and taking names - is just when my problem solved itself. Thursday, I scheduled this post, then hit the road for vacation. Just as it posted itself Friday morning, I hopped in the car for the last hour of my drive. I talked to Court and she asked me what I planned to do all day, since no one in our family was coming in until around 5 p.m.
And then it hit me.
I'd been so busy trying to figure out when I was going to finally learn to have some alone time - finally get my head on straight, ducks in row - that I didn't even realize I'd have all day Friday at the beach, by myself. I'd be homeless, since check-in wasn't until 3, wifiless, computerless, companionless. I could do exactly what I'd been saying I wanted to do for the last 3 months. Hang out with myself.
And then I laughed out loud at my own lack of foresight.
And then I got to chilling.
I sat by the ocean and read Love Does for hours. I ate lunch alone outside at a cafe - drinking Chai, people watching and enjoying the ocean breeze. I went on a walk and a run and then another walk, because why not? I read some more and ignored my phone and felt the kind of peaceful rechargedness that I felt when I broke my foot and was house-bound. But this time it was voluntarily, which has a much more peaceful and less anxious prisoner kind of vibe.
By the end of the day, I was, of course, itching like a fool for my family to arrive, because, let's be honest. I don't really love being alone that much. I'd much prefer company and chaos over solitude any day of the week. But sometimes, when you stumble upon a sleepy beach town and are alone without any distractions, you're reminded just how great it is to have a little solo time.
Looks like I don't need handcuffs, after all. Just unlimited time off and a sea breeze. Is that so much to ask!?
Happy Friday, guys!


A little over a year ago I went on a handful of dates with a boy. After a few dates, it was clear he wasn't my match, but these dates haven't gone unnoticed in my life. The grand finale culminated in one really rough evening that made me wonder just how it ever got this far. It has been called, by some of my friends, my worst date ever.
That feels a little dramatic to me, though.
Regardless, in the beginning there were fun dates, when I was excited about him, and his jokes were still funny and did he mean to touch my hand? And on one of those dates, we were at dinner and he asked me how my day was. I told him it was good! And he said, but are you always one of those people who says their days are good?
That is, until this week, when my friend Hannah asked me how I'd been and I couldn't even change the words into good before they popped out: tired.
And then I felt embarrased for complaining and wanted to backtrack and tell her I was actually good, but unfortunately my brain was already six miles ahead thinking about why it popped out. This led to a whole slew of thoughts, which landed me at a frustratingly familiar place.
Yet again, I can't seem to slow down. I can't seem to figure out where to cut back. I can't commit to my February goal of spending time at home. And the real problem is, is that this leads to me feeling like I am not doing anything well. Like everything I'm doing, I'm performing just below grade. I'm sliding by and taking shortcuts and missing details.
Last summer and fall, I went through this excellent stretch where I spent a lot of time at home and felt organized and rested. But for some reason, 2013 has brought on an attitude of racing and running that has led to me to choas. Chaos like never seeing my roommate. Wednesday night, we had supper club, and I was just so grateful that we had something on the calendar together, so we could catch up.
When I visited Katie and Sara in Chicago, we stayed at Katie's house. That girl is busy, but she also knows how to say no and really values time to herself. And I noticed when I was there, that she had thought of every detail before my visit. She'd gotten food I liked, made plans just for me - had thought of tiny things that made me feel so important. And it meant so much to me - then also made me panic at the thought of all of my guests that have visited, with fear that I hadn't done the same for them. And it made me realize that in order to do things really, really well (like everything Katie does), you cannot do everything. You have to choose your priorities.
And the fact is, no one can make do it. I just have to make the choice, like choosing to budget or exercise. No one is going to handcuff me to my kitchen table one night a week.
But could you, someone?
On Wednesday, Courtney told me I should try to have one night each week at home. Like totally at home. Not an hour at home before dinner or after yoga and between volunteering. At. Home.
This weekend I'm heading to the beach with my family, which feels like the perfect opportunity to recharge and reconnect. Then, upon my return, Wednesdays officially become Whitney Wednesdays. Because (1) I love alliteration, obviously, who doesn't? and (2) they feel like the perfect midweek opportunity to have some quality alone time.
Courtney says she's holding me to it, which feels like the next best thing to handcuffs.
Let's do this!

PS: I'm not so narcissistic to think that you should now call Wednesdays the day of Whitney, too. But maybe you could have Solo Sundays or Togetherless Tuesdays or Me Myself and I Mondays -- really whatever resonates for you.

::reality check::

About a year and a half ago a few of my friends had an intervention because I was too busy. Not joking. They told me they were worried I was wearing myself out and needed to cut back.

My initial reaction to this was something like this:
They don't think I can do all of this? They don't think I can handle it? They'll see.

And then:
Am I not handling it? Am I not pulling everything off perfectly? I need to do all of this better then. Move faster, sleep less.

Then, finally, I landed somewhere closer to reality and realized they were right, at which point I put myself on a strict schedule of spending at least one night per week at home. Coming home from work and just being there - no new workout classes, no dates, no meetings, no dinners.

It was insanely hard at first, but eventually became my rhythm. And by this summer, I was actually keeping more than one night open each week - I had really, positively made a habit change. In fact, I went on somewhat of a quest to unglorify busy, where I even learned that busy does not equal self worth.

But, old habits really do die hard.

And I write to you today as one overbooked, underslept, caffeinated girl.

I fell off the wagon.

A few nights ago I was talking to Allie, as I was rushing home at 7:30 to be picked up for a date at 8. She said, "are you excited for your date?"

At which point I burst into her tears. Not your normal reaction to a date.

I'm running on five nights in a row of five hours of sleep. I am so behind on phone calls to my friends it gives me anxiety. I haven't had an unplanned night in two weeks - and have something every single night this week, not to mention a wedding shower to throw Saturday, a flight to Vegas Sunday and a flight to DC next week.

And the sickest part of all? I not only did this to myself, but I also kind of love it.


An addiction to busyness is no joke, my friends.

So. I need a plan.

Always need a plan. [AKA: the problem]

Starting today - and from Vegas to DC and back to Atlanta - things stay the same. There's no way out.

But then, upon my return to Atlanta, I slow down. The last 10 days of February are being dedicated to what February should be dedicated to: full hibernation.

Just kidding. I'm not going to pack snacks and disappear for 10 days.

I am, however, going to force myself to leave two weeknights each of those weeks open. That's right. four out of 10 days. 40 percent. Almost half.

It's a plan. And I hope that with it I can finally call a few friends back and give them the focused conversations they deserve. Heck, I might even eat dinner at home and get to bed early.

With it, I hope I can get back to feeling like I'm doing the things I love and care about well, as opposed to doing the things I'm committed to at a mediocre level.

Lots of hope for this time ahead :)

I'll keep you posted on how it goes, of course.

PS: It can't go without saying that I'm super duperly excited about said events/parties/trips/opportunities and so grateful to be included. :)