"Slow down, you crazy child."

Another week, another skipped post. Last time on account of moving, this time on account of some personal grief. Again, I'm going to give myself a pass.

July was a really nonstop month, from my return from China to the festivities of the 4th to my birthday to moving to a snapdash trip to New York City. August began with a highly-orchestrated housewarming party, and showed no signs of being any different from July. But breakups can be derailing, and I found myself unable to truly focus on much of anything--professional or personal--for the whole week after.

After a week of distraction in the form of some tequila, homemade "alternative ice creams" made with bananas and avocados, Netflix bingeing on 'Breaking Bad,' countless phone calls, and retail therapy courtesy of Amazon.com, I was lucky to get out of town for a weekend in the Berkshires and get centered during the few days with my friends. We hit up Tanglewood, the Clark and Mass MoCA museums, and went for a short hike on a trail near Mt. Greylock. (This was much better than my Thanksgiving trip with my family--see post from November 2012). The next time I go back there, though, I'd like to do more hiking and, if it's not too financially imprudent, something at the Canyon Ranch spa since their treatments are supposed to be amazing and their staff is said to cater really well to gluten-free folk like myself.

Now just about midway through August, I'm trying to understand how to slow down. I've lived an overcommitted life since I was five, when my mom had me on a circuit of at least three after-school activities, including tennis, karate, and dance. Those activities would be replaced with others, with the rotation currently featuring boxing, yoga/pilates, and biking. Add a job, a few doctor's appointments, meet-ups with friends, household chores, and the miscellaneous responsibilities that come with being a self-sufficient young adult and my week fills up. Ironically on both my busiest, most over-scheduled days and those days on which I have time to myself with nothing particularly urgent to do, I feel like I'm living unconsciously, like someone else is running the show. My modus operandi has been to keep myself busy because I fear that once I take a minute to myself, I'll never be productive again. So when I finally give myself a break, I feel so guilty doing it that I can't say I'm really giving myself a break. I'm keeping myself busy by giving myself grief about giving myself a break.

And after a talk with TFC last week, I think the solution here is to actually take off. A genuine, conscious break. I didn't get that between graduation and my job, since I spent those four weeks job hunting, interviewing, and then shipping up for Boston. I didn't really get it between high school and college, since those two months are spent preparing for college and enjoying rushed moments of hanging out with friends from home who are rapidly departing. And with a job that's extremely flexible that doesn't have me running into the office for a 9 to 5, I compensate by being available at all hours, on all time zones, every day to my professor.

So within the month after I get back from my next trip to China, I'm going to plan a bone fide vacation. I haven't decided if I want to go somewhere where I know a good number of people, like Princeton, New York, Philly, or D.C., somewhere semi-local in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine, or any one of those places in the U.S. I've been wanting to visit for no real reason like Portland, Seattle, Austin, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Carolinas. But I have plenty of days accumulated in the bank, and something is calling me to go off and have a real American walkabout on which I'll meet old and new friends, visit familiar and strange places, and have an experience that will transform the way I see my country as much as myself.

If not now, then when?