Focus for Fall

It’s fall in my little corner of the world. Undeniably. The leaves are covering my mile-long drive and with each one that dries and falls, I feel the end of 2003 approach. I’m not sure why things move so fast anymore – I’m not even used to writing “2003” in my checkbook. I do fine in letters, in my business dealings. I seem to remember the date there, but on a personal level like my checkbook – I don’t do as well. The other day, I started the date “199_” and had to scratch it out and face the fact that I’ve now become old enough to forget the current decade. How sad.

But, fall is also the time of the year when I get the urge to purge. I want to sort and organize and clean and toss things. I think it’s because winter usually heralds a new “physical” closeness. The indoors become more important and the family visits the outdoors less. That’s the nice way of saying that cabin fever and stir craziness is only a month or two in my future. So, I figure the more I can clean out, the more space there will be and the less cramped I’ll feel.

I’ve reached an age where I’ve found my direction in my life and in my career. I’m more content with me (gee, why did that take so long?). I’m a better friend, a less up-tight parent, and more likely to take life as it comes. I enjoy more and orchestrate things less. Overall, I’m quite a bit happier. But, part of this “setting in” age, is the realization that I’m missing out on some of the things that originally brought me to the point that I decided to be a VA. The time for my life, increased time for my family, more personal time for me, and the ability to actually develop some long-awaited hobbies.

The flurry of building the business is starting to give way to the more steady, but just as challenging, constant chore of maintaining and growing my VA practice. Silly me, I thought when I started this journey into Virtual Assistance, I’d actually have more time to call my own after the initial launch. I’ve learned better, but still try to carve out a bit more for myself here and there.

For instance, my birthday present to myself last year was an outlandishly expensive set of watercolors and the decision to begin the journey on the long-awaited desire to learn to paint. I still have the really nice, portable, paint set in my “go everywhere” bag. I’ve not yet wet a brush. Maybe this year I’ll give myself the present of the time to actually put brush to paper. I’m a terrible painter. Horrid. I know this and admit it readily, but I would still like to create the time for myself — to paint poorly.

Fall is a time of reflection for many of us. Maybe there are things that you have always wanted to do that you haven’t quite found the time to begin. Now is the time, and if you blink, another opportunity will have passed. If this is your time of the year to review and reconsider, take the time to nurture yourself and submerge in the process. Enjoy it. And come out with a new direction, a refreshed spirit, and concrete goals.

Come out with a personalize rendition of the “big picture” then follow your bliss. And be certain that the life you want to live, the person you want to be, is reflected by your daily actions both at work and at leisure. Remember leisure? (Hint: It’s that time when you aren’t actively working.)

© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen of This article first appeared in the October 2003 issue of the IVAACast – official newsletter of the International Virtual Assistants Association.