At this point in my year it has become routine. Each day I wake up around the same time, lay in my bed for a few minutes huddled in the nest of cozy blankets and pillows I swaddled myself with throughout the night, and try to conjure the energy to move. When I finally muster the energy and drive to pop up and out, I stumble out of my bedroom, pop on the electric kettle, and head to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for my day (sometimes with only one eye open!). I leave for work by 7:40 am, wave to the same guy standing with his same sign in the same spot at the end of the same exit at the same time every morning. My weeks have become predictable.
It is easy to get lost in the mundane daily tasks that we have come to accept as part of our VISTA year. Getting up each day, going to work, coming home, going to bed, getting up, going to work… The daily grind of following the same schedule, following the same routine day in and day out.
Stressing the importance of self-care is not simply enough. Taking the time to do something that grounds you, weather it be exercising, drawing, sitting in the grass, or making it a point to just lay in your room and have some ‘zen’ time for 10 minutes every morning is vital to survival.
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brownn
A very hectic last couple of weeks later, this point could not have been driven home any harder. My family came down to visit and I spent some time playing New Orleans tour guide. It was great to spend time with my favorite people, and to share my beautiful city with them! We went on a Swamp Tour and I even held a baby Gator!
After some really heavy rains and surprise flooding, the wildlife in the bayou had to make do with reaching higher ground. This made for a great swamp tour (minus the awesome pigs that we didn’t get to see), because of all the extra introductions to some local critters that came out to visit!
Saying goodbye was rough, but not lamenting for long, I was immediately ready to focus on our big GiveNOLA campaign! Thanks to all the hard work, dedication, sweat, blood, and tears that went into planning our series of GiveNOLA events, Project Homecoming was as prepared and ready as we were ever going to be to start raking in the unrestricted funding. After some unforeseen, and unfavorable issues regarding a platform crash and the closing down of the official GiveNOLA site, with the help of all of our awesome supporters who chose to give online, come out and Party for a Purpose at Shamrock New Orleans, or attended our very first wine and cheese hour, The Showcase, Project Homecoming was able to raise over $7,000.00 in UNRESTRICTED FUNDING!!! We were also invited to a great event hosted by Dash Lumber, where we were able to raise even more money through the sale of raffle tickets!
Thank you so much to all those who choose to give to Project Homecoming. Continuing to rebuild and revitalize this vibrant and special city is crucial.
In closing, this past month has been a crazy one… from family time to crunch time and everything in between, the pace of my life in New Orleans (and my attention to self-care) has definitely picked up… and not for the worse!