now

Last time, I talked about my process of making goals. I came up with two–one to do with writing, and another to do with meaningful relationships. I can have only two goals, but any more than three won’t receive my focus. I was thinking of making a third goal that would cover something that I have been wanting to change–the way I use my time.

In December, when I was making these goals, I had been procrastinating. As part of my Year to Simplify project, I had already limited the websites I could go on to ones that were useful or meaningful to me. I also decided that I would only check my email twice a week. However, I found it difficult to follow this, and on Friday afternoons, I would put off doing my homework and read blogs instead. I wanted to change this so I wouldn’t have to do as much homework over the weekend.

Bedtime is when I’m supposed to go to sleep. I found that it was actually when I would start thinking about my plans and ideas for the future, and not-so-future. For brief periods of time during December, I felt this sense of relief, of calm, of peace. It hovered over me when I had the week under my control, when I had the time to do everything I needed and wanted. I had time to focus on the things I enjoyed, like reading and writing. And I could sleep, without having to be concerned about this thing or that school thing or whatever. Yeah. Whatever…Because I also realized that a lot of things I worried about were useless to worry about, either because they were trivial, or because the extra worrying wasn’t going to change anything in the end. If I thought about, say, my course selection for next year, and I had already thought it through, I wouldn’t need to review my choices repeatedly.

As I lay in bed, with this calmness settling around me, I was thinking about how awesome it would be if that were all the time. If I could just enjoy that moment, as it were, at that time.

I know from the past that any goals or plans regarding time management won’t work. I used to organize my time with specific start and end times for each task I needed to do. But I couldn’t live my life that way–it was so automated and rigid. When I break my time down like that, I spend a lot of energy just trying to follow the schedule, and it’s so much more work.

Something bothers me about the phrase, “time management.” It reminds me of the dreary time scheduling that I tried to make myself endure. By prioritizing the things that need to get done, I can make sure I always complete those tasks. That doesn’t take into account whether I enjoy what I’m doing.

I like learning. In fact, I spend a lot of my time outside of school purposely doing that–reading books, reading articles, reading the news, or taking a class such as ballet. And school has plenty of opportunities for learning. When I think of it that way, I get really excited. But the way I think about it matters. When it’s about just getting things done in a certain time frame instead of the things I can discover in the process, it’s not so fun. Sometimes it’s torturous.

I couldn’t come up with a sentence encompassing all that I’ve written about above. It’s not really about time management, but about time, how I use it, and how I see the way I use it. Instead of going through mechanical repetitions, I want to use my time in ways that are good and worthwhile–that includes doing schoolwork and enjoying it, but also doing things outside of school. I want to make this enjoyment, the excitement that comes when I start something new…I want to make that something usual, that I don’t have obsess over or time to get it down to some automatic routine robot schedule thing.

Because I’m not rehearsing for some performance of life. I’m living it. Now.

That’s my one-word intention this year. “now.” I’ve read about this idea several places on the internet, about coming up with one word to be a theme for the year. (I got the name “intention” from Rebecca at This I Wear, who chose one and wrote about it last year.)

Because now is when I live thoroughly, not later. Now is when I want to focus on enjoying, now is where I want to be.

Now means not procrastinating from homework, which is putting it off until later. Sometimes in school classes I have ideas and thoughts, not fully formed, but taking shape in my mind. But I need to think it through carefully before I say it. And then I don’t get the chance. Now. Now is the chance, and maybe it won’t be perfect or neat…Well, it’ll probably be a disaster, but it’s now or never. And I choose now, because that gives a possibility that something good could come from it.

These are just some areas of my life that this word covers. To the voice that whispers, “Not now. Later,” this is my response.

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2 thoughts on “now

  1. Pearl, this is such a beautifully written and honest post. So glad you got the scoop on intentions (which I, in turn, learned a lot about from Jess Lively) because they truly are life changing. I think all my “intentions” in high school and college were really ambitious and got me to where I am, but now that I’ve hit my late 20s, the word “fun” has started creeping in a lot more and life does become a little bit easier 🙂

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