Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Now What?

In the days that have passed since the marathon, I have gotten the question, "Now What?" quite a bit.  I guess the people in my life know me well and know I always have something that I am working towards.

Except right now, I don't.  Sure, I am still running, but this is sort of my 'off season'.  I want to continue to run 2-3 days a week, with a long run on Saturday of around 6-10 miles, but running will definitely not be my focus until next June when I start training for the Chicago marathon.  I kind of hate not having a race to train for, but I know my body needs a break - and I need a less structured schedule.  So the months between now and June will be more about cross training and less about obsessively counting/analyzing the miles I run each month.  I am tossing around the idea of getting a gym membership, as I miss being able to go to classes and I'd like access to a pool...  but I could also make my condo gym work and save myself a lot of money over the coming months.  Decisions, decisions.

The next thing on the horizon for me is CFA studying.  Yes, it's almost that time of year again.  I will start studying for the 3rd and FINAL level on December 26th.  It's a bit surreal to think that I will begin studying again in just under 2 months!  I am hoping that this final study season is not as hard on me as the previous 2 were.  I have talked about the challenges of studying on my blog, and my family and closest friends have definitely gotten a sense of how hard it is on me.  Suffice it to say, it is harder than anything I've done.  Harder than my travel schedule for work.  Harder than training for a marathon.  Harder than obtaining an MBA.  I am hoping that knowing it is the last level will help with that somewhat, but I also keep thinking of the comment my former boss's wife makes about his last spring of studying.  She said, "He studied so hard, it's like he broke something."  I felt a little bit broken last spring when studying for level 2, so I know what she is talking about.  And I know I'll likely study even HARDER this time around as there is no way I am going to risk having to study for this test another year.  I NEED to be done with it!

But - it's still 2 months away.  So my focus now turns to enjoying the next 2 months as much as possible.  I want to fill those 2 months with time with friends and weekend morning spent sleeping in and lounging in bed.  I want to have more dinners with family and friends, and fill up my weekends with fun activities, like trips to the book store with my nephews.  I want to go ice skating in December and bake banana bread on a quiet Sunday afternoon.  I want to try new recipes, eat dinners at my table, and relish the fact that my table is not covered with textbooks.  I want to look at my calendar each week and enjoy the fact that I don't have study hours planned 5-6 days of the week.

Time has a way of flying by if we don't intentionally and purposely acknowledge the good things in life.  So that is what I intend to do these next 2 month.  I'm going to close with a passage from Mary Anne Radmacher's book, "Lean Forward into Your Life," which is so applicable to how I plan to spend the next 2 months:

"chance are... forever is... sitting outside my door.  Why am I doing the dishes?  Days speedily tick past.  My future, ink, pours from this pen of today, written with apparent ease.  A precious vapor disappears.  In the clearing of it I shall see that I am aged.  I shall wonder how I could have dedicated so many days to the pursuit of nonessential things.  What of all those days can I recall?  As I learn to embrace the gray and the wrinkle, I open the door to chance.  I whisper to forever, "let's now go dance and leave the dishes for later."

Is there a certain part of each year that is especially draining and difficult for you?  If so, do you fixate on that phase or focus on trying to enjoy the quieter times of life?  Truth be told, I fixate on the stress I know is coming, but this year I am trying to enjoy the blissful hear and now.

17 comments:

Unprofessional said...

I can't believe you'll be studying all over again!! You'll do great, I Just know it. Enjoy every minute of free time-sounds like you have some fabulous plans!

missris said...

I think relaxing and fully enjoying life as much as you can before studying sets in is a great use of the next two months! Pretty soon the test will be over though, and you'll never have to take it again. It'll be a distant memory!

Caroline said...

Great post and love that quote! I can't believe how quickly time has gone, but it sounds like you're going to make the most out of the next two months! I think I tend to focus on what is stressing me out, unfortunately. I've been trying to work on being more in the present lately and live in the moment, but it definitely doesn't come naturally to me.

Nora said...

I can't believe it's almost time for CFA studying (for the last exam this time!!!!)! Amazing how quickly time flies as of late. I think enjoying the next two months to the fullest is a great idea :)

I've been asking myself the "now what," question a lot as I have a ton of free time. I've started loading up the social calednar again, am working out regularly (as in 4-5 days a week finally) and am researching some non-profit groups I can volunteer with once or twice a month as I miss being in the community. ANd, call me crazy, but I'm considering taking some adult enrichment classes through the local colleges to get back into the classroom.

Marlys said...

Make the most of these next two months! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Beautiful quote!

Stephany said...

Ahhh... CFA studying. Man. I am SO glad this is the last cycle for you! I can't believe you have to get back into it again.

I'm glad you're going to make the most of these next two months and try to enjoy the calm before the storm. :) I hope these months go slowwwwwly for you!

I think Jan-Mar is my least favorite time of year. All the excitement from the holiday season is over and it's back to regular ole life, ha. And I usually plan my cruise in May so I have a long time to wait & anticipate for that!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I think you have the right attitude about the next few months. I know I've said it before, but you're one of the most focused people I know and very diligent and intentional about everything you do, whether it's enjoying the unplanned days or hunkering down to study for some big test.

Generally, I don't get too caught up in much of anything (that said, I also don't have anything nearly as important in my life as studying for such an important exam). Lately, though, the last quarter of the year has been tough. Tough, as in super busy. We start in October with Gavin's birthday (and now seem to float over our anniversary, because there's no time or energy to focus on it) and then next thing you know it's Thanksgiving and Christmas, complete with my birthday in December and Sweets' birthday in early January.

Amy said...

I am stressing about next year already, as I'll be working on my Master's, teaching and doing yoga teacher training. It's a lot, and I like being busy, but it's overwhelming to think about. I know I can handle it but like you, I'm focused on really enjoying this unplanned time now.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Typically the end of the semester each year is stressful, but it won't be like that this year now that I am working on my thesis :-)

Carolina John said...

I was just listening to an IM Talk podcast about taking a 2 year approach to ironman training, and i think the same principals could apply to your cfa studying.

In order to have the best result or a targeted result at Ironman (kona qualify, hit a time goal, etc) you have to make something else a priority before you make Ironman a priority again. This is what I've done this year, getting ready for IM next year. Make goals like spending time with family or friends, and lay the groundwork for the time commitment you'll need to put into the cfa. they are equally important.

Amber said...

That is a great quote! I've never gone through anything even remotely similar to the CFA so I'm not sure how I would handle it. I don't think I'd be as disciplined as you, I have so much admiration for the disciplined and focused way you approach your studying!

I am super busy right now but I LOVE it and it gives me adrenaline for the most part. I am looking forward to some quiet time around Christmas though!

Leigh said...

You are going to be busy in the coming months, so take the time now to enjoy yourself, sleep in, relax and spend a carefree weekend doing whatever you want :) I always find after a training cycle, I need a break from running and a plan.

Raquelita said...

I cannot believe that it's almost time for you to start studying for the CFA again! Dang! Time goes by really fast! I hope that you can soak up as much relaxation and enjoyment as possible out of the next couple of months. I thought things would be a little bit calmer for me in the couple weeks post-midterm grading and post-conference, but since I was asked to expand and submit my paper I am feeling the crunch again. Winter break will be my time of relaxation I guess. :)

Becky said...

I think your plan for the next two months sounds just perfect! There will be plenty of time for "what's next" once you start studying again. I have a feeling you're going to be a reading machine in the next couple of months!

Journey Authentically said...

I think this is a great way to approach the next few months. It's great to have goals to be moving toward but we must also take the time to appreciate that which we have now. Plus you'll need those fun, easy moments to reflect back upon while you're putting so much into studying!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Ug. Two months until more studying!? At least the next two months will be full of friends and family and fun! It's good you are being intelligent and not trying to also train for a race at the same time.

I don't really have a busy time per se; each month comes with it's own ups and downs, but right now is pretty busy! I haven't really had a free weekend in a while (and won't FOR a while) but it's more about family than studying or work (on the weekends). I don't know how you do it!

Melissa said...

It amazes me how hard you study for the CFA. One of my SIL's friends is preparing for level 1 now and anytime I hear her talking about it, I think of you! Definitely enjoy these 2 months before you're back at studying. I tend to find school drains me like this too- you're so good when you hit the books. I really should take a page out of your book!