2015 has been my year of “yes.” I wasn’t per se a “no” person before, but I have chosen to say “yes” to more invites and more opportunities in hopes of expanding my horizons, adding to my social circle, and being more present in people’s lives. My year of “yes” has developed oodles of new friendships, meaningful connections, and some unforgettable moments. It also spread me too thin. On October 10, 2015, I was officially running on empty.
My world is music. I work in the music industry. A large percentage of my friends work in music. My favorite pastime is attending shows. At shows, my attention and energy is focused on the music and performance in front of me, rather than the number of unread emails in my inbox or complex feelings that come with life’s woes. At shows, I regain my composure.
The last few months have been difficult, so I’ve tried to balance my stress with the benefits of live music and the company of friends. I was in luck as a lot of friends were producing and playing free or $5 gigs. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) set up camp in my brain and I was RSVP’ing “yes” to most of them with a determination to come through. The word “free” was an added bonus because that meant I wouldn’t be depleting my bank account. What I ended up depleting was my immune system.
During the end of September and beginning of October, I was making it to four or more shows a week, sometimes two shows in one night. Set times were typically around 10pm or later, keeping me out while the moon was high in the sky. I slept for (maybe) five hours a night. I couldn’t even sleep much during the weekends, because my internal clock had recently made me an early riser. I became the Energizer Bunny with no energy.
So it was October 10, and although I knew better, I decided to squeeze in eight hours of live music at two different shows. By the end of the day, my body waved its red flag. I spent the entire following week working from home, sick, and kicking myself for saying “yes” a few too many times. While I confined myself in my apartment for four days, apart from the occasional step outside to breathe some “fresh” Los Angeles air, I saw a silver lining in my predicament. Despite enduring cold symptoms, a hellish migraine, and a cough that has left me with sore abs, I now feel more rested and calm thanks to ample amounts of water, Chinese medicine and sleep. Being sick gave me the isolation I didn’t know I needed.
After laying in bed and sitting on my living room floor for four days, yesterday I finally flew the coop. First stop was Cafe Gratitude for brunch and a short walk around Larchmont Village. It was an incredible feeling to be out and about again with good company. I still want to make the most of my year of “yes,” which I plan to carry over into 2016, but my health and finding a balance between work, play and life’s other units will be a priority. Keep well.
If you have a moment, here’s a good read from Fast Company:
“How Solitude Can Change Your Brain In Profound Ways“