Monday, August 27, 2007

The Ideal Day. The Idle Day? The Idyll... with an idol?

If you spend any amount of time in my brain, you know that I devote large portions of it to the question of How To Live My Life, and what that really means is How To Spend My Time, which is to say... scheduling. God I spend a lot of time on scheduling.

There are a number of good reasons for this (and that number is: zero. I always, always want to say that when I hear someone use the phrase "there are a number of x"... what a dumb phrase.) There are a number of good reasons for this, chief among them that I have four jobs and if I didn't devote some mental cycles to scheduling, I'd never be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment and I'd soon no longer have four jobs. Another reason is that my Ideal Day is the Idle Day, meaning that without a schedule (and often, a task list), I'd kind of never do anything... aside from, you know: read, sleep, and eat. Mmmmm....

But there are millions of things I want to do (aka "everything") and so I spend lots of time thinking about how to spend my time. Yes, probably I should spend less time thinking/planning/preparing and more time doing, but that doesn't come naturally to me. I'm good at the part of scheduling that requires juggling jobs and writing things down on calendars and Outlook. What I'm always thinking about is how to spend the rest of my time, my so-called "free" time. For example: a few of the things I most want to do when I'm not working are 0) write 1) learn Hebrew 2) do yoga / run / work out / take dance classes and 3)correspond more with people, like write letters, send birthday cards, make phone calls.

We interrupt this blog post to stick out our tongue at everyone who has something to say on the subject of our inability to make phone calls. THPPFFT! as Bill the Cat would say.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled self-absorbed out-loud musings.


So last year I had a lot of unstructured time, and I wondered constantly about the best way to fit those things into my life. Should I spend 10:00-11:00 writing, and then 11:00-12:00 on letters and phone calls and then 1:00-2:00 on Hebrew, every "free" day? Or should it be more like this: Mondays - write. Tuesdays - Hebrew. Wednesdays - correspondence. Always I come up with possibilities like this; always Life comes along and gets in the way, and instead of writing at 10am, I sleep in, and then instead of doing whatever at 12, I go for a walk and read my book in the sun, and then at 2 so-and-so calls me up and I go over to her house to hang out, and in the end I'm up very late at night, having done none or nearly none of what I planned, and before going to sleep I resolve that the next day will be different.

How many times can one resolve that Tomorrow Will Be Different? Ha!

Now honestly, I don't mind all that much, if I have indeed spent a day sleeping in, going for a walk and reading my book in the sun, and then hanging out with a friend. That's a damn good day. It's more the time I spend doing nothing, or somehow putzing around, or refreshing facebook 80 times a minute... how do I spend so much time doing... nothing? I don't know.

Because I am very good at always being where I'm "supposed" to be when "supposed to" includes the world outside of my head, I use that as often as possible. I see that I never just sit down with my Hebrew books and get my learning on, so I sign up for (and pre-pay for - always a strong motivator for me) Hebrew classes in some adult-ed program, and then I *have* to go and I do go. I don't always spend enough out-of-class time studying, I don't always do my homework in a timely fashion, but at the very least I show up to class. So I'm usually in good shape with a particular activity if I can basically move it from the "free time" category to the "structured time" category, if I can stick it in Outlook and label it recurring. Part of the success of that is that other people are, if not depending on me, then at last expecting me. Another part is, as I've said, the fear of losing money that I've already paid. So that strategy works for certain kinds of things, like studying Hebrew. How do you do that for returning-email-time??

Wow, I've gone far afield today from the topic about which I intended to write. This has gone on entirely too long. What I really meant to say was this: I had a good day, if not an altogether exciting or inspirational one.
I got up early, and was out the door a little after 7am. (ungodly early, in my opinion, but I'm still on EST so it wasn't too painful) (I needed to be Somewhere Important at 8, and I was. I'm rarely late for job-related events.)

After the job-related portion of the day ended, I ran a number (and that number is...) of errands that I had planned to do: I got my car washed, I went to the post office, I got my eyebrows waxed. (TMI? Ha!)

Then a friend *did* call and invite me to come over for dinner, and I accepted, even though it meant throwing over my plans to go to the gym, cook dinner, and do more prep work for the rest of this week.

Here's where it gets crazy: a few minutes later, I called back and said I'd changed my mind. Instead of going over there, I WENT TO THE GYM, COOKED DINNER, AND DID MORE PREP WORK FOR THIS WEEK.

Well, and spent entirely too long on this entirely-too-long post.

Does it feel good to have had that sort of a day? It does, though it's lonelier than having seen my friends, and it's getting late at night and because I have spent this long writing, I haven't done nearly as much work as I could have / should have done. But still: perhaps this should be the Plan for Mondays...

1 comment:

Alexis said...

A number of important comments ;)

0. When you figure out how to live... let me know, ok? I'm working on that one myself!

1. Cooked dinner? Awesome. I'm proud of you!!!

2. Out the door a little after 7am? I'm more proud of you!

3. I miss you!!!