Thursday, August 23, 2018

Carving Out Time


I've never been a big fan of summer, and I'm happy that it's finally coming to an end. Kids are back in school, and all of the fall activities are starting up. Last night at church we had our first WOW (Wesley On Wednesdays) of the season, and we started practicing Christmas music at choir. Last weekend was the kickoff event for both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Anne's taekwondo classes have gotten crowded again after sparse attendance throughout the summer. And hopefully, I'll be meeting with a piano teacher to discuss piano lessons (for me, not my kid!) for the fall.

This morning, I sat down and realized, with great relief, that life is going to start having some semblance of structure again. Summer is hard; there's day camp, and overnight camp, and Bible school, and vacations, and visitors, and so much more. Fall? Wake up, get the kid to school, work, kid comes home, and then most evenings there's something to do, plus homework, then get ready for bed, read, and go to sleep.

In college, I both loved and hated the semesters where I had just a little too much work to do. I didn't have a lot of free time, but I still managed to get more done because I was forced to stick to a strict schedule. So by the end of the crazy semester, I had more knowledge, had knocked out some amazing papers, and had mastered a few new piano pieces for recital.

I think that's what it's going to be like this semester. With things falling into place, I can better plan meals, make time for exercise, work in thirty minutes here or an hour there for music (voice and piano) practice. Most importantly, I can carve out the quiet time for thinking and meditation because so many of the stuff going on is fixed.

Is life going to pass by in the blink of an eye for the next few months? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The days seem to elongate when I'm able to carve out time for slow things. I love that metaphor "carve out time" because that's what it feels like. The day is a flat surface, and I carve it into something with indentations, curves, texture. Something that increases the surface area somehow, and I'm able to make more of the space of the time I have.



I do need to be diligent, though. I need to abide by the schedule, which is harder to do now that I'm not in college and I don't have an institution and faculty telling me where I need to be at what time, what I need to do, and how it needs to be done.

When I first got out of college (OK, for probably the next 5 or 10 years after college), I arranged my life like school, even to the point of giving different elements of my life course name. Seriously -- working out was "PE," making dinner was "Culinary Arts," reading was "Russian Literature" (or whatever I was hooked on at the moment), work was "Technical Writing," and my other writing was "Creative Writing" or "Fiction" or "Poetry." I'd make a schedule and give myself assignments. It was great fun and an effective motivator.

I suppose it's time for "Technical Writing" now. Only 7:30 in the morning, but I have lots to do for this 8- or 9-hour long class!

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