There are those moments when a worry you can’t fathom grows inside you. Perhaps, there’s no valid reason but something is present that’s making you unhappy. It was on such an occasion, when I was trying to figure out my emotions, that I noticed something. The cause of my worry was seeing a full schedule when I opened my day planner. It was the density of my social life agenda, based solely on my own initiative. Monday night I was to attend the dinner party of a friend who is moving abroad; Wednesday, I was to attend another party celebrating a friend’s new project; Friday, I planned on visiting the newborn baby of a close friend; and Saturday, breakfast with my cousin scheduled with great difficulty. And I was unhappy! Even though all of these programs were joyous events in their own right, when grouped together, they became reasons of unhappiness and forces depleting me of my precious time and revitalizing solitude. I had discovered something very clear about myself. I was unhappy when I had more than two social engagements in one week. Of course I was lucky to have friends who longed to see me, but the problem was trying to make time for them all.
After this discovery I tried to live along this new direction as much as possible and with only a few rare exceptions I’ve stayed true to my maximum-of-two-events-per-week rule. I noticed that when I had the time to get my very precious sleep and freely bask in my much-loved solitude and the world I created with my books, notes, and films, I was able to devote myself much more to those dinners, celebrations, and conversations. Maybe I’m making someone upset by saying no to a proposed program, but in those instances I always remember the quote:
“You can’t complete others and break yourself into pieces.”