It is perhaps a tad foolish to be blogging at 10:45 in the evening, when my new resolution for a bedtime is between 10 and 10:30. Since starting my new job, sleep has become priceless to me, and I find that without eight and a half hours of it I become drunken with exhaustion or nauseous with fatigue. Yet write this blog I must in stolen hours just such as these, or else it will never be written.
I have never understood people who claim to be bored. Certainly I have experienced moments where there were things I would rather be doing, but I have never been at a loss for things to do. All of my life I have found things of interest, books to read, games to play, topics to research and so forth which have piled higher and higher beyond my capacity to complete them. Once in high school, fearing the long hours of the break between terms, I wrote a list of things I might like to do on that holiday some 15 items long. I did precisely none of them, so preoccupied was I with the general course of living.
My point is that I have always had many things that I wanted to do, and not very much time to do them in. It was particularly fiendish in high school as I balanced my piano lessons, chorale practice, vocal ensemble rehearsals, school sports, debating, classes and homework with socialising, gaming and my other interests. I had so many obligations that I often scheduled my days into fifteen minute segments, so tightly was I wound.
I find myself in a similar position at the moment. Since the onset of full-time work I am struggling somewhat with managing the rest of my life. I continue to train about three nights a week in karate and taiji, leaving me Tuesnights free for catching up on emails and taking care of online obligations and interests (such as for the Youth Brains Trust alumni that I am part of). Friday I go to Bethwyn’s house for the weekend, where I spend Saturday either working or training, and remnants of Sunday in her esteemed company.
I am certainly not the only one to find myself running short on time. (In fact, I wrote a rather amateur poem about it once.) My counsellor once told me that she works 6.5 days a week, often coming home at 8pm and doing laundry overnight, and that she loved her life. My esteemed friend and teacher seems to spend hours every day researching and sharing articles on politics and martial arts, as well as having a full-time job, two kids and classes to teach. Another good friend of mine works part-time, studies part-time, has a newborn child and a full-time job as a martial artist (involving training twice a day whilst helping to run the dojo). It boggles my mind how such people can fit so many obligations into their lives and still enjoy it. For me, I make daily choices not to wash my hair, release tension in my body or read a book I borrowed months ago. These are all things that I love and are very dear to me. And when I do make the choice to do such things it cuts into my sleeping time, which as I have said is tremendously valuable to me. Do my friends just thrive off coffee and adrenaline? I cannot do the same.
The only conclusion I can reach is that for me to be enjoy the things that I do, I have to do less. Maybe this means training less frequently – I can certainly think of several friends who train once a week. That would afford me an incredible luxury of free evenings. I would like to enjoy baking bread, and writing blogs, and watching Good Game. And the only way I can think of enjoying these things is not to cram more into my too-full days, but to empty my days a little, taking out things I love to replace them with other things that I love or need to nourish myself. It seems a shitty trade-off.
I am too tired to re-read this blog post and see if it makes any kind of sense. I’ve still got a few things to do before I sleep tonight. Alas.
PS: I recall reading this article a few days ago which address this issue, but I’m too tired to read it again now. I think it’s relevant. http://zenhabits.net/pushing/