Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday in Texas

The Time of Your Life

by Kris B. 

Despite the fact that today is only the first Tuesday of spring, spring break, that week of rest, relaxation and catching up for those of us that operate on an academic calendar, has come and gone.  And, I had no rest, relaxation, or catching up during my week off as we were in Delaware taking care of estate business.  I am happy to say that we accomplished a little on that front, but not nearly as much as I had hoped.  It just seems that there is not enough time in my world to get done the things that I need to get done let alone those things that I want to get done.

I am famous for saying, “I wish I had time for (fill in the blank)." or “I don’t have time to (fill in another blank.)"  Lately I find myself saying over and over again that I wish I had the time to really get my house clean.  Really clean.  You know, do some hardcore spring cleaning.  With spring break over, I have no days off now until the semester ends in May.  That seems SO far away.  I don’t even want to think about the amount of dirt and dust that accumulate in these next eight weeks!  Don’t call the Health Department yet.  I do manage to run the broom and the vacuum around once a week or so, but all I accomplish is getting the really big stuff.  I know not to look up at the ceiling fans or behind any furniture.  It is too unsettling to actually see all that dirt that I really need to be addressing.  I just keep saying, “I’ll get to it all in May when I have enough time to do it right.  Translation:  when I have the time to do it all perfectly.

I have used this same line of reasoning with regard to regular exercise, reading for pure enjoyment, finishing a piece of music that I started over the Christmas break, watching the movies in my Netflix queue, replanting flower beds, and many, many other things.  I’ll get to them when I have the time.  All these things left undone begs the question, “What do I do with all my time?”

A wise friend of mine once said to me that to say that we don”t have time for something or another is an untruth; the real statement is that we don”t make time for whatever it is that is being neglected.  In reality, we do “make” the time for those things that take precedence in our lives at either the conscious or subconscious level.  In times like right now when I am feeling behind and overwhelmed, I hear those words, “We make time for those things that are important.” eching in my soul.  And, my honest response to hearing them is that no truer words have been spoken.  When I think about the things for which I do make time, I realize that I do a lot and that those things that I do accomplish, most of them anyway, make me genuinely happy.

Since I listed above all the things that I haven't gotten done, it seems only fair that I should create a second list of those things that I do do regularly.
  • The bulk of my time and energy is given to me students.  I spend many hours making sure that they get my very best teaching, that each of them leaves my classes with all that they deserve and need to continue successfully in their academic pursuits.
  • I attend church regularly as well as participate in music ministry.
  • I journal (almost) daily.
  • I take a photograph every day.
  • I do laundry every Sunday afternoon.  (Clean clothes and linens make me happy.)
  • I always make time for friends.
  • I share the wonderful experience of this blog with one of those friends.
This list of things gets done regardless of what else could be done.  I will stay up into the wee hours of the night to make sure I finish things on this list.  I spend time each day taking photos rather than cleaning.  I take thirty minutes every morning to journal rather than read.  I dedicate several hours a week to writing blog entries rather than to watching a movie.  And, I will not pass up any opportunity to enjoy time with friends, whether that means a response in the middle of the day to a silly email or that I drop everything to accept a spontaneous dinner out together on a Saturday night.  Time spent enjoying the company of friends is precious and priceless.  Time spent with dirt and the vacuum cleaner, not so much.  

Yes, it is all a matter of priorities.  And now that I think about it, I am OK with the priorities that I have established for myself.  Do I like the fact that my house is dirty?  No.  Would I be happy if my house was clean but I didn't take time to enjoy the company of my friends as often as possible?  No!!  It all comes down to making choices and then owning the ones that I make.  I can do that.  I CAN do that.

Come May, there will be no students who deserve my time and I will devote those extra hours each week to the dust bunnies and dog hair lurking in all those corners of my house.  It’s only eight more weeks.  Until then, I’ll continue to make time for those things that truly feed my soul and make my heart sing.

Who knows, maybe I will win the lottery and then I can hire a housekeeper…

OK, not likely.  I’d have to make time to buy a lottery ticket for that to happen.

What nourishes your soul?  What is on your “must do” (not to-do) list?  Are you living your life for you?

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