“How’s your summer?  How have you been?”

Busy.  Without fail, it’s the first word that I blurt out of my mouth.  Followed by a deep sigh.

“That’s good, good for you” is the typical response.  “Glad to hear business is good”.

I’m glad of this too.  I’m thankful of how far I’ve come.  I’m thankful that I have found people who appreciate my strengths and talents and want me to be a part of their celebrations.

But the exhausted sigh that follows the word busy as it bursts out of my mouth often thinks otherwise.  That exhausted sigh wants a moment of rest, wants to catch its breath and remember what summer used to be like.  I want to go for a country drive.  I want to have enough time to seek treasures in the woods.  I want to listen to Lake Michigan’s shoreline.  I want to have to wash grass stains off of the bottoms of my feet.  I want to pick up a camera, learn calligraphy, paint or dabble with a 100 other creative hobbies that sometime consume my mind.  Alas, I want to play with new flowers.

Reality finds behind a computer screen.  Gmail is holding me hostage.  And when I finally close my laptop, I am rushed the depths of my basement, I scrub buckets like it’s my job, I package an average of 150 votive candle holders per event, I creative checklists and pack my car only to unpack it at an event then repack it at the end of the night and unpack it again only when a tiny ounce of energy finally returns to my body on Tuesday – which is typically 3 days after the wedding has concluded.  Although, I’ve been known to keep my easels zip tied to the top of my Tahoe for as long as a week or two, knowing I was just going to be throwing them back up there, so I simply shouldn’t waste my time.  I pack again, prep, coordinate and making sure that nothing fall through the cracks.  I find myself problem solving dead blooms, missing packages and no show vendors.  And I ship my babies off to Nina’s for another weekend.  Yes, I’m busy.

And I find others praise me for staying busy.

Plum Centerpiece | The Day's Design | Ashley Slater Photography

Photography: Ashley Slater Photography

I want to look at the other side of that coin, it’s the side that says “rest”.  I know that word is important.  And it seems like every day there’s some social media message somewhere reminding me to stop and smell the roses.  That’s how my creativity thrives.  I have to been able to see the world to be inspired by it.  If it buzzes by so fast that all I see is the blurred ground beneath my feet, my work is going to suffer.  My life is going to suffer.  My family suffers.

Then the guilt creeps in.  I can’t leave an email unanswered for more than 2 days.  Someone out there is waiting on me.  This person is depending on me and they’re also paying my bills.  They are important to me.  And I love every single wedding I plan.

There’s guilt towards my family as well.  I have been a vessel of guilt for months now.  I’ve been seeking moments of solitude and release where I can.  Honestly, I haven’t been able to decide if I’m supposed to be thankful for the busy or if I should just throw in the towel.  Ever where I look I seem to find conflicting views.  Some days I love my yoga pant wearing friends displaying their lives, how they work from home so they’re rarely forced to brush their hair while other days I’m inwardly screaming, “your life is a vacation – when do you actually work!?”  Where is the hustle?  How do others find time of these extracurricular activities?

So I went for a walk.  I set up the stroller, grabbed the dog’s leash and down the road we went.  I was craving silence.  Gretta had other thoughts in mind and was jabbering on pointlessly about rocks and hills and heaven only knows what else.  I would mutter some sort of response every few sentences so she thought I was listening, but I couldn’t really tell you what her three year old babble was all about.  I was thinking about how much more you can observe if you can just be quiet and listen to the world around you.  Then suddenly she yelled “A deer!  Mommy do you see it!?  A deer!”

Sure enough, a deer had crossed the road no more than two car lengths in front of us.  But I was so annoyed by all of her chattering on that I had nearly missed it.  And she saw it despite the fact that she was elbows deep in a conversation with herself.

It was at that moment that it hit me, whether you’re busy or giving yourself rest, you still may miss something going on in the world around you.  You can’t rest simply because it’s Saturday and someone tells you too.  Likewise, we don’t always have to rush back to work on Monday morning (yes, I know, perks of working from home).  You have to create your own balance and a schedule and life that works for you, not necessarily the rest of the world.  So while I love to say that I work from 9-5 and close my computer, I might find myself working at 11 pm on a quiet Friday night.  My work is really important to me.  But so is my family.  I know this isn’t my first time writing about balance, but it’s a constant struggle as a business owner and one that I hadn’t exactly planned for.

Your life doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter mockup of everyone else’s.  Plan to take spontaneous play days but work hard so you’re free to do so.  Make your life work for you, and enjoy it.

Happy Friday friends!

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