• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

20 January 2010

life's like an hourglass glued to the table

I think I need to change the way I look at my days.

A friend of mine (who is a fellow doctoral student and full-time professional, in addition to being momma of an adorable toddler) posted this link on Facebook the other day.

Reading the article wasn't necessarily an eye opener, but it did help solidify what I already knew: I do have plenty of free time. It's just how I choose to manage it that is the issue.

The other night I was sitting in the basement for 10 minutes, waiting for Pink Hubby to feed that cat so we could start watching a movie. Free time.
On Sunday I sat in a booth at a restaurant for 15 minutes, waiting for my takeout order. Free time.
3 minutes waiting for the shower to warm up every morning. Free time.
Standing in the kitchen monitoring food cooking on the stove. Free time.
Going to the gym. Free time.
Writing this blog post. Free time.

My point is that I choose to either schedule, rationalize, or fritter away all my free time, and then complain later that I am too busy to relax.

I am not saying I should stop cooking, stop showering, stop eating out, and stop going to the gym. (And I'm definitely not saying I should stop blogging! haha.) What I am saying is that when you have as many obligations as I do, you need to take a more active role in managing the free time you have.

Let's take the shower, for example. There are a lot of things I could do with that three minutes. Recently, I've started keeping a couple of free weights in our bathroom cabinet. While the shower warms up, I do two sets of two respective arm exercises. Then I stretch for 20 seconds and by that time, my water is hot (you know, like my arms will be if I keep this up).

How about waiting? Doctors' waiting rooms, car washes, waiting for takeout. I had an ex who used to carry a paperback book everywhere with him and whip it out whenever he had to wait for something. I thought it was odd. Maybe he was on to something though: the last time I read a book for pleasure was last Christmas (I think).

Reading is a prime example of something I really enjoy doing, but I do not make time for. See, I have this idea stuck in my head that I need to finish everything else that I have to do before I can read for pleasure. Reading for pleasure takes time -- lots of time -- and I simply don't have it (in my mind).

So by this definition, I can read a book when...

Our walls are all painted.
Our stairs are refinished.
Our furniture is all in place and we have good decor in all rooms.
Our art is on the walls.
Our snow is shoveled (or lawn freshly-mowed).
Our cars have been washed.
Our laundry is all folded and put away.
Our bills are paid.
Our cupboards and fridge are stocked.
Our home is clean.
and of course... my degree is done.

It's going to be a while. So when I do have a little bit of time to spend 'just for me,' I tend to assume that it is not enough time to do whatever it is I really want to do. At the very worst I will just dick around on the Internet, not relaxing or accomplishing anything... just wasting time. Many times, I will tidy something. Straighten something. Vacuum something. You know? Because someone has to do it.

And no, I'm not saying that Pink Hubby won't do it. But somehow, he has overcome the idea that these things Always Need To Get Done Right Now. Because of this, he is my hero (and also, maybe a little annoying sometimes, when my priorities aren't aligning with his). He can sit down on a day off from work, and play a computer game. Even if there is unsorted mail on the table. Even if the dishwasher is full. Even if there are clean socks ready to be folded. Unmatched socks, people!

Faced with a tub of unmatched socks, Pink Hubby has some kind of super power that allows him to say: "I'll do it later." And then, I watch in awe as he relaxes.

And then I go put the socks away because I just can't handle them being there. How could I possibly read a book or go for a walk or paint my toenails when those socks are sitting there, totally unfolded? It isn't possible.

Again, my point here is not that we should all have messy and unkempt homes, nor is it that husbands are worthless. My point is that I have a really effed up hierarchy of priorities. It looks something like this.

1) School
2) Work
3) Pink Hubby (and our families)
4) Our home
5) Friends
6) The cat
7) Everybody else
100) Me

I rationalize it a lot. I'm not happy when my house is a mess. Therefore, cleaning the house is something I do for me. There is a lot of truth to that. But cleaning the bathroom (for example) is no one's idea of relaxing (well, almost no one's). I don't like doing it. I just like it when it's done.

Hmm, maybe I need to make it in to a game, Mary Poppins style. Or hire a maid. Heh.

I will write more on organization, cleanliness, relaxation, and men's and women's (or at least, PHubby's and mine) differing opinions on what is important (and when), and how we deal with these issues.

I can't promise a change and I won't cite any lofty goals... but I am trying to become more aware of my time and whether or not its expenditure falls in line with my values.

But right now, I think I hear laundry calling. After that I might have to wipe out the sink, or empty a garbage can or something. And by the time I've done that, it'll be bed time.