Truly Living = Enjoying The Now

Christmas is basically 2 weeks away. We could quibble about a few days here and there, but for me and my schedule, I’m at C minus 2 weeks.

As I write this post when I should be doing other things I feel like I need to get this out of my head and into some kind of tangible format. I am wondering why I procrastinate. Why delay tasks, and what do I do with my time instead?

Like any one of you (yes, you!) I have many different “hats” to wear, many identities and duties I’ve taken on over the years. We all started quite simply, as children. We could just be — play, dream, read, sleep — while someone else took care of us. And there are many times we’d like to escape back to that simpler time in our lives because we grew into adults and took up a myriad of duties. Many — if not all of — those things started out joyfully and I hope the joy is still there for you.

My top three titles are wife, mother, and homemaker. If you have a home and you take care of it, doing your best to make it a place of refuge for you and/or others, you are a homemaker! If you have a job that earns money to put food on the table and a roof over your head, add that title to your list. There are other hats to wear, too: friend, volunteer (we all do things in our communities). Do you have hobbies? Anything that takes up your time counts. I find joy in each of one of the vocations that define me as a person.  While not everything on my list fits on a calendar (e.g., wife, mother, and friend are constants), they all take time.

Some people seem to handle life with great competence. They put on their multiple hats and walk as though it wasn’t a challenge to keep everything in balance. Admittedly, those people are few and far between, and I suspect they are hiding something. But there are plenty of other folks who put on their multiple hats, juggling them if they must, and rarely drop a hat. They manage their time well. Stuff gets done. On Time. I personally know some of these people. They amaze me.
I am not one of those people.

I find it hard to be industrious and take care of a big family (now 7 of us, plus extended family and a few friends who are like family) when there aren’t the sights & smells of Christmas in the air.
If I’d been really smart, I would have decorated right after Thanksgiving, so it would be done… but I like my fall decor and hadn’t really taken the time to enjoy it. That was a big mistake. The mistake isn’t about decorating for Christmas in late November; I was trying to get other things accomplished before my foot surgery and Christmas decorations didn’t make the short list. No, the mistake was that I failed to enjoy what was happening now. I think that is key: Enjoying The Now. I didn’t look up, didn’t look around, didn’t soak in what really mattered.

I was busy with other stuff — what that stuff was, I don’t recall. 

OUCH. If I was truly living, I should be able to account for that time. Not that life is a spreadsheet to be turned in for a grade, but we should probably know where our time has been spent and what we did. If I was truly enjoying the activities (or at least enjoying the product of those activities), if I was truly present and involved, I would know exactly where and how my time was spent. And yet, much of my day disappears in a haze of busyness with little account for “where the time went.”

So right here, right now, I am sitting and thinking and tapping out words from my head and onto the keyboard. I am looking at what is right in front of my eyes. I’m at home. I’m looking up and looking around at the room in which I am sitting. I force myself to pause on each object, to consider why it is there. I look back at what I have written here. And I think.

I think I know the answers to my questions: I procrastinate because the task either feels overwhelming and/or I don’t feel up to beginning to work on it.  And what do I do with my time instead? Well, sometimes I just sits and thinks… and sometimes I just sits… but let’s break that down and lay it on the table for us all to look at it, because I’m not opposed to daydreaming, in moderation. It’s part of being a creative person! ButI waste a lot of time on the computer. There it is, in tangible form.
[If my husband read my blog, he would be so proud of that admission.]

There is, of course, good and useful time spent on the computer. Like right now, for instance! I can account for this time spent. I’m basically journaling. When I click “publish”, I will be sharing myself with friends and others.
But the hours spent playing solitaire and looking up useless information, filling time by roaming facebook and sometimes, yes, even blogging! — that is not time well managed or well spent. There are hats to be worn, hobbies to enjoy, life to be lived. If my eyes are only focused on the screen in front of me, I’m not enjoying the now. I’m not participating in things that bring me joy. I’m not truly living.  This revelation prods my mind, pricks my conscience, jabs my soul and delivers a sucker-punch to my heart.

On my previous blog, I wrote that I have a convoluted relationship with my computer, that the computer can easily take over “real life” (including time to get everything done in the day, and time I’d like to spend on hobbies), so I’m trying to learn the art of balance.

Obviously, I am a slow learner on a life-long journey.

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7 thoughts on “Truly Living = Enjoying The Now

  1. Oh, I totally get it. My husband always wonders WHAT I do on the computer for such a long time. I consider my hobby. 🙂 I finally got my decorating done yesterday, so now I will have time to think about what gifts to get. Everyone else seems so far ahead…

  2. If I could, I’d give you a hug of encouragement! In some ways you sound like my husband. He is also a procrastinator, and he also wears many hats, some of the most time-consuming are his hobbies. Of course, those are also the things he finds most rewarding. And he often over-estimates the time it will take to do certain things, which can make the task before him seem more overwhelming than it really is. But one thing he’s good at is living in the moment –get him on vacation (even a couple of hours) and he’s all there. And that’s where I fall down. I don’t procrastinate, but it’s very rare that I’m able to enjoy something without thinking (or worrying) about the things that are coming up. I’m totally aware of that, but somehow that by itself doesn’t solve the problem.

    There must be lots of us who have these problems, given the self-help-book industry. Let’s raise a glass (of wine 🙂 ) to another year of taking baby steps. And sharing our journeys through blogging.

  3. I hear you! I also think God is telling me to slow down and savor the season. It is a little easier for me to heed that command to slow down this year because of my health and then to our “family” celebrations dwindling down to a few friends, my adult nieces, nephew, and two sons.
    HUGS!
    Carol

  4. Since my post above, I have to admit that I too have been procrastinating at the computer when I really could have been writing my notes in our Christmas cards.
    Sending more hugs! Carol

  5. I am a person that does a lot of things, and most of them pretty competently. And really, I’m not hiding anything! But I think your lesson is meant for all of us because sometimes I can be so busy crossing things off my to-do list, that I forget to be in the moment. Mindfulness definitely improves your life.

    • Jenn, you were one of the people I was thinking of when I wrote this:
      But there are plenty of other folks who put on their multiple hats, juggling them if they must, and rarely drop a hat. They manage their time well. Stuff gets done. On Time. I personally know some of these people. They amaze me.

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