I feel, a little bit, like I am coming slowly down, more along the lines of a pop bottle which has been furiously shaken and finally begins to settle than ‘Duuude, I’m coming down’ – it’s a positive, not a negative. As thing after thing gets crossed off the list for this academic quarter, in some cases for the year, and in one or two, maybe for good, it’s like short partial turns on a spring, slowly ratcheting down the pressure.
I know I haven’t been the best friend, correspondent, relative, co-worker, or teacher I might have been this quarter, and I’m sorry about that. I really have been hanging on as best I may … too much to do! I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities, and first things first. I don’t like to half-ass. In fact, I hate it. It bothers me, generally, specifically, and personally. But it happens to me a lot, mostly due to time pressure, fragmented attention, etc. There are only 24 hours in every day, seven days in every week, &c. What is needful? Probably a different answer for me than for you, but the idea I’m having is this … does your time need to go on a diet? What are you, am I, trying to fit into our hours? It really is sort of like calorie counting, only in terms of how many minutes, and to what purpose. We each have gifts, things that bring us joy in the doing of them, where the time flies, and the mind and body together set to the task. How many of those things can you work into your day?
Happily, a good part of my work is a pleasure and a joy to me – which I know not everyone can say, and I’m grateful for it – but what else does it take to nourish the soul? For me, I can think of other things: a solid eight hour sleep; real food, really cooked into real meals instead of the fast, the convenient, the usually not healthy for me; time spent in prayer, devotion, contemplation (trust me, if you actually ever talk to me, you want me to have time for that also); and the list goes on, hobbies, activities, the care and feeding of good friendships and relationships … and then there’s homework and cleaning and laundry and whatnot, which might not exactly be a good time, but which have their benefits or necessity. All of this is the motivation for the Year of No. Eliminate what is not strictly necessary, find what it takes to maintain the top priorities, then see what – and that’s a big if – other things might sensibly fit back in, with the goals of First Things First, and Do Your Best. So there you have it. If I decline to participate or attend in the next little while here, please don’t take it personally. I am trying to get this ship of mine bailed out and back on course and it is taking some doing.
I like this George Bernard Shaw quote:
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
Man and Superman, Epistle Dedicatory
Today’s musical wheel of fortune reveals:
Ah, Neil Finn. I heart some Crowded House also, esp. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” which I could play over and over and over (and have actually done that very thing … played it on a loop, I mean, not not-dreaming-it’s-over, although actually I’ve done that too). This particular track I came across courtesy of the Felicity soundtrack, yes I am owning that I a) possess the soundtrack (which is respectable! Ivy, Heather Nova, Remy Zero, whatever, mock on) and b) the entire series on DVD and that c) Ben > Noel, of course.