Thursday, February 11, 2010

Intentionality

            Seems like I don’t have any free time left. Work has me so busy I haven’t even stopped for breaks the last two weeks. And I’m starting to wonder if I’ve crossed that line from happily involved in many things to overcommitted.
            When you read all those time management books they say figure out your top priorities and make sure you have time for those. I think that’s a pretty good principle in general. But of course, even when you have your priorities in mind, life happens. Life is messy. Dirty diapers and achy backs aren’t exactly on my top list of priorities, but a happy baby and physical health are, so when these things come up I’ve got to make sure I have time for them.
            But I can tell that I’ve entered the danger zone. The place where my child is more mature and requiring just a tad less attention, which frees me up to think of other things – things like playing music, outside friendships, writing the novel I’ve been working on for three years. These things are all very good, and they’ve all had their time of hibernation, but I feel the itch. They’re waking and telling me they’re all a part of me and want to have themselves placed higher up the priority list.
            Problem is, when something goes on the priority list, then some things need to come off. Right now, I’m starting to realize that the first thing to go is the “nothing” time I used to have.
            Those time management books don’t talk about “nothing” time. They act like it’s unimportant, and say things like, “Everything must be intentionally planned, so that we make the most of every day.”
            But I’ve lived in Latin countries. I know there’s another way. I’ve deeply enjoyed time where we “hang out” and allow things to happen around us. When we aren’t busy racing around we have time to pay attention to neighbors, and have enough space in our lives for friends to drop by unannounced.
            I think it’s a very American/Canadian thing, to plan our days with so much stuff that there’s no time to do nothing. I think that’s one of the things I really appreciate about Michelle. I have plenty of friends I can do something with, but few who I can do nothing with. She, and my two best buddies in this city, are the only ones.
            It’s such a pleasure to do nothing with those you care about – to hang around noticing things, or reading independently, or simply chatting. That’s part of the joy of parenthood – it forces us to be in that space, that mindset of simply being present to another person and whatever may come up.
            I wish I had more time for some of the outside activities who’ve awoken – those grizzled bears emerging from their caves. I think I’ll have to limit myself to one or two, rather than four or five. Let’s be realistic here. I still have a little toddler, and another one on the way. Can’t be too overly ambitious. I need to have time to do nothing.

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