Here’s the thing: I am proud of the fact that, since last March, I have been posting a weekly blog, like clockwork, every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It was a goal I set for myself that I’ve managed to achieve, and I will continue to pursue that goal. But the quality of what I post varies widely from week to week, which is evidenced by the fact that sometimes I “advertise” my weekly blog post on Facebook and sometimes I don’t. (But rest assured, there IS a post every week.)
Oh, I have lots of ideas for more in-depth posts, nostalgia pieces, controversial topics, social commentary – all of which require uninterrupted TIME to whip into shareable shape. As I’ve often complained in this blog, time is something I lack, or at least I perceive that I lack.
I work part-time, at least four days a week from home. Ordinarily I am able to bill – that is, charge to a client – about 5 hours of work a day, on average. So what happens to the OTHER 16 hours of the day (allowing for a generous 8 hours of sleep)? How could I possibly complain about not having enough time?
Pet care: maybe an hour or two, tops, between walkies, feedings, poop-scooping, playtime and daytime (as opposed to nighttime) cuddles. Internet trolling occupies a good chunk of my day, especially when I’m in “waiting mode” – i.e., standing at the ready for someone to respond to a voicemail or an email so that I can take the next required action – because I can easily interrupt it, if need be, as I’m not deeply invested in what I’m doing (which is usually reading articles, playing Words With Friends and “Liking” things on Facebook). That easily occupies two to three hours of my time, maybe more, over the course of a typical day. [Another time-wasting addiction I’ve recently discovered is a game (I guess you would call it a game, but you don’t actually win anything) called “Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector,” developed by HitPoint Studios, where you’re gifted with fish icons to be used for buying food and toys and other goodies for an entire community of virtual cats and then you keep track of their visits to your neighborhood with photos and mementos. That pastime is a particularly good time killer when you’re standing on line or waiting for a train.] Three to four hours every night of hockey games and/or favorite TV show watching to close out the day’s activities – we’re getting up there into the 9-10 hour range, added to the 5 hours of work, and there you go. And on the one day a week when I go into the city, factor in another 4 hours of travel (but at least I get to read).
Truth be told, there are a few spare hours I could free up for more satisfying pursuits, but I seem to be stuck in a deep, deep rut and I don’t know how to get out. Given my seasonal lethargy (I was one of the first people I know to claim to have SAD – seasonal affective disorder – which may explain those few moments of peace I experienced today in a warm car on a sunny but frigid day: sunlight is supposedly the cure for SAD), now may not be the time to incorporate things that require energy, like exercise (at least an hour, between prep and cool down), although some may say that’s EXACTLY what I need to combat the torpor. At the very least maybe I could set aside some time for reading for pleasure rather than research. I finally started the new John Irving novel, Avenue of Mysteries, and I’m finding it typically enchanting, but what I wouldn’t give for an hour or two when I could just curl up on the couch with the animals and immerse myself in his gorgeous prose rather than taking it in snippets before my eyes close at night. Even better, I could perhaps resurrect my lagging correspondences with friends near and far. One would think the ease and immediacy of email would have removed the obstacles to telling people you’re thinking about them WHEN YOU’RE ACTUALLY THINKING ABOUT THEM rather than putting it off until the perfect moment when I’ll have the time to write the perfect thing (which of course I never have), but that seems not to be the case for me.
I envy folks who can emerge from the cozy cocoon of bed in the quiet morning hours and get writing or other creative work done before the hustle and bustle of the day takes over, probably because I seem to be incapable of doing such a thing. I DON’T emerge. I think about getting out of bed, but then I just edit the alarm time on my iPhone, flip over the pillow to the cool side and go back to sleep. Or at least I TRY to go back to sleep, but many times I don’t. Instead, I’ll just lie there dreading the day’s work ahead and/or beating myself up for not getting out of bed. It’s not a great way to start the day, but it’s pretty much how every morning begins for me. I wish there were a “cheerful and energetic” button on my iPhone instead of the “snooze”.
I need a project, an inspiration. I have my blog now, so that will likely be the vehicle for my explorations, but it needs to be something that will be the catalyst for changing my whole perspective, because I’m not enjoying my life as currently configured, and I’m not contributing much to the betterment of mankind. Two years ago, my inspirational project was volunteering at the local animal shelter, ultimately even including being a foster mom to homeless creatures (right now, we are pleased to be hosting the adorable Fritzie). Last year, it was my blog. What will my 2016 inspirational project be? So far it remains undiscovered, but it’s still only January . . .
In the meantime, maybe I can start trying to grab the day back from time-wasting activities, in much the same way as I’ve begun keeping a “joybook”. Every night before I sleep, I write down at least one thing that brought me joy that day. Some days it’s tough, especially when it’s bleak and grey and cold outside, and work has been more annoying than usual, and the Rangers have blown another game. It’s usually the animals, but it can sometimes be as simple a thing as driving in my warm Fiat Pop on a cold sunny day, listening to a new song (Shearwater’s “Quiet Americans” – good stuff!), with a head free (if only for that moment) of work and other worrisome thoughts. That was bliss.