January 11, 2016 - 9:53 AM
How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless."
"Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."
"I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.”
— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
“I assure you,” I said to my husband over morning coffee as I held my new 600-page textbook in my hand, “I am actually quite a stress-capable student.” He gave me one of those spouse looks — one that prompted me to ask myself if I’ve been telling myself a lie for the past ten years.
Deciding to go back to school to do my Masters degree in Divinity while also working three jobs and attending rehearsal four nights a week for a community theatre production unsurprisingly had my husband questioning whether or not he would be able to live with me for the next three months. It’s not that I blamed him for asking the question, I just wanted to reassure him that I’m a much better person when I’m up to my eyeballs in commitments.
“It’s like, yeah, I’m going to be busy,” I defended myself, “but I’m also going to be way more organized.”
I remember vividly the last time I was in school. A full time student with a full time job and walking pneumonia, I also managed to score a weekly column for a local website (this one!) and run 10k five times a week. I maintained friends with such a level of enthusiasm it was as if I had never known another human in my life and I wrote dozens of television pilots just for fun between the hours of 11 p.m. and three in the morning.
This isn’t so much a list of accomplishments as it is what I based my argument on last Sunday evening. Yes, I’m going to be busy, but it’s all going to be okay. I can handle it.
Now shoulder-deep in a schedule that has me on the go from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., five days of the week, I am beginning to remember why it was so much easier to maintain a healthy self-care regime with so little time to do so.
We tend to think of routines as the things that keep us consistent but also boring. When we talk about things becoming “routine” we think of a lack of excitement. We see passion slipping away and relationships ending, we see small talk, nights in front of television re-runs and exercise that refuses to budge the last five pounds. Routine is the R rating that goes along with contentment. Satisfaction. Mediocrity.
But what if routine is actually the one thing strong enough to turn those things around?
It’s easy to get into the rut of having free time and doing nothing with it, but when we are pulled into spending most of our time on outside projects we are also forced to evaluate what we want those precious free moments to hold. Not only that, we are forced to carve out time for the things that we can’t live without.
Being busy doesn’t need to be glamorized — it doesn’t need to hold the sort of acclaim that it does in the business world. The busier you are doesn’t necessarily indicate your success. However, I would argue — whether my husband sees it yet or not — the busier we are, the more likely we are to have free time.
The Buddhists have a concept that if you can’t find enough time to meditate, you really need to meditate. I think the same goes for our every day lives — if we don’t feel we have the time to do the things that keep us earnest then we need to make the time. It is, after all, of utmost importance.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.
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