When my eyes opened on their own before 6 a.m. today, I was excited to be awake – no harsh alarm jolting me out of an easy slumber, no mad rush to make lunches and get groggy kids up and standing with smiles on their faces. Today, I woke alone in a quiet house and still-dark sky, and found the time I’d been searching for all week.

First, I meditated – a simple, palliative step that I have found ensures my own inner peace and measured moods. The sun hadn’t even risen by the time I was done, so then I took care of the administrative shuffle that the busy week prevents me from finishing – a.k.a. paid bills.

It’s a good month when the money coming in exceeds the money going out. In these days and times, with everything costing what it does, it’s no small miracle.

And now, I’ve tied the laces on my new tennis shoes and pulled on my royal blue skirt, ready to hit the court. 7:30 tennis game, ready and waiting.

A friend said earlier this week that he is striving for a balance of free days, focus days and I forget what the third distinction is – but basically, that’s no-work-at-all, focused-good-work and something in between.

I may be there. Today I’m up and ready, energetic and moving forward, and I will work for most of the day – quietly, uninterrupted in my silent office, getting things done, checking off lists. Tomorrow, a totally free day – including our first soccer game (go Finches!).

And next week, with the coming of our new year, the kids and my darling husband and I will scale mountains and breathe deeply, rediscovering the beauty of being together as a family, amid nature and expansive sky.

It’s always a balance. Go away and immerse in the moment, come back and immerse in the work. The challenge for me is always to hit that balance in the busy times – fit in meditation and exercise, fit in time alone with each kid, fit in family dinners and healthy lunches, fit in silent moments for just me.

It’s finally a cool morning and I can set the air conditioning to off. If the rain lets up, we’ll clean the garage and trim the yard. If not, we’ll scour the inside of the house. No matter – there is always something to conquer, something to attend to.

And the in-between moments – those are to savor. Drinks at the Townsend later with a new friend, soccer planning with my dear friend and assistant coach, and back home to roost when night falls. It’s a good day laying out in front of me, a very good day.

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