Thursday, September 30, 2010

Word! Of! The! Night! (er, morning)


A word I've been mulling a LOT.

How to spend time, how to work well and create and be a friend and sister and daughter and get sleep and exercise and quiet time within that (oh yeah, and continue to look for permanent employment post-December). For some reason it's on my mind these days more than it was in college, because I think, at least last year, all I felt I needed to be "intentional" about was enjoying senior year to the fullest. And I did that. Somehow, it included everything I wanted it to include. Intention happened more on a blurred basis, get up and GO and laugh and sing and run run run up the hill down the hill people people people. It worked, definitely, but for some reason these days I'm thinking about it in a different light.

Maybe that's because I work from 9:30-4:30 and I come back to the house and I have time, time with no homework and no dining hall to go to and no meetings. In some ways it absolutely sucks, in some ways it makes me terribly sad and ache for that energy that I can't fully get back. In other ways, it's really cool -- I can write what I want to write! I can take a nap without feeling guilty! I can make dinner when I want to make dinner! (Still need to get a handle on that one... too often it's a peanut butter sandwich at 9 pm, but whatevs.) I can go for a walk and not rush!

But then there's the question of how I actually do choose to spend that time. I do wonderful things, yes, I see friends and write and sit, just sit. I also don't ever finish my to-do list, my room has never been completely clean, I have forgotten how to go to bed before 1 AM, I pray brief and blunt and apathetic. It almost feels like I have too many books on my shelf to read (Hunting for Unicorns... Writing to Change the World... Olive Kitteridge... Small Wonders... mixing fiction and inspiration to get -- somewhere) and I'm a third of the way through all of them. Same with words -- how many writing projects do I wish I could focus on at a time? It's almost like I've learned to rely too much on multi-tasking, and instead of helping me accomplish more, I don't actually get more than one thing done. I get lazy. I forget what's on the list. And then it's 12:26 AM and the laundry's not done and the resume isn't worked on and the balance isn't checked...

Balance. Intention. I'm on my own more now -- literally alone -- and so compared to those days of bursting calendars and squeezing in the random Lingle sing or tea kettle heart-to-heart, I feel more personally in charge of my time, and how I live into that freedom. It's hard to explain, because of course I also felt personally in charge of what I did at Davidson, but I was also pulled along by a current. These days, I'm bobbing on a placid sea, which is great for a time but then -- let's be honest -- gets boring. And I can get complacent in that. There are things that need to be done that I'm not doing. There are things that I should do less. It's not that I want to have a fully segmented life, sleep NOW and work on this NOW and switch over to this THEN and go put on your sneakers from blank to blank and go take a walk... I'm so very grateful to feel more at home in this city and have friends to hang out with and activities to go to that might "throw me off" if I had a time slot for everything. Still, I want to put more purpose into this part of my life. Regardless of how I treat transition, active or passive, it will teach me more than I can imagine, but I hope to live active and forward and refreshed.

I don't mean for this to sound like I feel inactive or bored or disappointed with how things are going. I don't. I'm very satisfied with how I've spent my time these first four months out, and I'm excited about adventures on the way. I also want to find an awareness in my heart, an intentionality that will help me say: "how am I going to approach this situation? This person? This task?" and come up with an answer that will... give me a sense of wholeness. As Rev. Ken Carter said tonight -- the sacrament of the present moment. As Michael says, always -- be here now.

Pray. Eat. Sleep. Walk. Sing. Laugh. Play cards. Have catch up phone calls. If staring at a screen, let it be a creative, relationship-building staring-at-the-screen. (Except for the occasional TV night.) Don't ignore the practicalities -- money, laundry, errands. Talk. Write. Read. Go outside. Don't be afraid to sit and be quiet.

It's a tall order, for sure. I'm a genetically-predispositioned night owl who's steeped in procrastination and Facebook stalking and doesn't get out of bed until a few minutes after she should have been dressed. I eat my toast or my Clif bar with one hand, in a lazy haze on the way to work.

I'm also figuring this out as I go along.



Anonymous said...

Amen Claire, you nailed the weird, post-Davidson haze that sets in. I think it may be PTSD related! Let me know if you find that balance of being free and staying meanfully busy. Intentionality is tough!

Sally said...

Amen Claire, you nailed the post-Davidson haze that sets in. I think it may be PTSD related! Let me know when you find the balance of being free and having structured, meaningful activity. Intentionality is tough!ni