The important things in life

For a little while now I’ve been contemplating the possibility of studying part-time. Something I’ve noticed over my experiences in uni is that I never have enough time to study to my satisfaction- even if I devote myself to doing well in one unit, all the other units suffer as a result. I’m always struggling to get the next assignment in, and I generally stop doing the readings somewhere around Week 2 or 3. I have too many extra-curricular commitments to spend time leisurely, and I never have the time to see friends during semester. What time I spend with Bethwyn isn’t normally anywhere near enough for me. And always at the back of my mind is the thought of what study I should be doing. I think it would be healthier for me to study less- to take two units a semester and study them well, or three units and study them averagely, rather than four units and barely make deadlines. I want more time to live- to be happy, and enjoy what I’m doing rather than breezing through these four years in exchange for a degree. I don’t mind spending extra time studying if it means I’ll be able to live in the here and now and to enjoy what I’m doing rather than waiting for it to be over.

On the flip side, I am little worried I’ll have too much time. As I’ve said previously, gaps in my schedule scare me. I start to panic when I run out of things to do with my time. It’s starting to happen now, as semester draws to a close and I’m beginning to get little gaps of time (just a few hours here and there) where I don’t have to study just yet. It’s quite stressful. But I don’t want to fill my life with crap to pass the time. If I’m uncomfortable with emptiness, I should find out why, not run from it. I want to know who I am underneath all the stuff I keep busy with, what my values are and why I have them.

Speaking of which, life is too short to spend doing things you hate. Ajahn Brahm suggested there is a hierarchy of the important things in life, and that we should always be aware of what is most important, and what is not, and  to base our lives around that. So this is my little moment of self-reflection to identify some things that really, really matter, when all the layers are stripped off and you look at the essence of things.

  • My relationships. Most specifically, the very special relationship I have with Bethwyn. It is something to cherish and look after because it makes life worth living.
  • My family. As much as I run away from it sometimes, the bond I share with them is unique and something worth honouring. I must look after my parents as they have looked after me, and respect and love my brother.
  • Peace of mind. No matter what the situation, if I accept it wholly and commit myself to it, I can be at peace with it.
  • Being kind to others. Life without love is a sad, sad thing.
  • The martial way. I live and breathe martial arts- everything I do, every movement, every thought, is part of my warrior journey.

Other things which I have been treating as more important than they should be include study, work, extra training, taking on extra responsibility… These matter less than being happy. Not in the future, but now. Because who knows what the future holds? I could spend the next year and a half studying my ass off, only to get hit by a car the day I get my degree. What a sorry waste of life that would have been. Life is all about remembering what is important. So that’s something I’m going to strive towards from now on.

Ja <3

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