I am the sort of person who gets lost in a bevy of choices. I feel like a pinball machine with me, the ball, bouncing deliriously around, banging into things and getting shunted right, left, and center and thinking This is FUN!!! That’s why I know that if I am left in a playground with lots of toys to play with, I will not enjoy myself. Why not? Because I will be so INTENT on making sure I get to play with ALL the toys that I will not abandon myself to ONE! I won’t savor the moment, enjoy the toy. I will be worrying if I am leaving enough time to play with the next one.
I’m the same with books. I borrow the full allowance of books the library will let me borrow, and then I dip into each, fully intending to savour each one, but, because there are so many, I never finish ONE! And I inevitably feel hard done by. If only I wasn’t homeschooling I wouldn’t have this problem. Grumble grumble. If only I didn’t have so many chores to do, I’d get this book read! Grumble grumble. If only I were free to do ONLY what I wanted to do, I bet I could read 20 books a month! Grumble grumble. Yup, okay. I hear ya!
Well, check out my night table and you’ll see that I have books on parenting, marriage, prayer, WW2, the Holocaust, self-improvement, contemplation, writing, fiction, storytelling, spirituality, etc. Now, I am so overburdened by everything that I have to read that I end up reading entertaining fiction just to be able to feel some relief. How ridiculous is that???
Therefore, here is what I am going to do. I am going to be INTENTIONAL. I am going to start with the end in mind. First, I will decide what my greatest priorities are. Then, I am going to work backwards. Let’s say I want to be a great parent to my tweenie. What sort of skills / information do I think I lack and that I will need to acquire to achieve that goal? Focus on the greatest need and find a book/resource that will help me with that.
What if I have several priorities? Well, perhaps I could schedule to read up on one priority a month. So, May could be Parenting month. June might be Spirituality month (and that can include reading on spiritual disciplines, apologetics, the interior life, etc.). July might be Health and Fitness month, so I can read up on diet and nutrition, etc.
I am the sort of person who needs a routine. And I think that’s why I need the people I live with to have routines, too. If there are routines, I will know what sort of time I have to play with. But if I don’t plan in advance, I inevitably lose out, because nature abhors a vacuum, and there are always a gazillion things that need doing. I need to take care of ME. When I don’t make time for myself, I get ratty and grumpy. I feel like a victim, and everyone else becomes the oppressor. I recognize the fact that I NEED time and space to be creative and to replenish my energies. I need QUIET time – time to think, reflect, and write.
The tearing, rampaging hunger for peace within can only be satisfied by meeting my deepest needs. When I don’t recognize this fact, I try to sate the hunger with food, shopping, and coffee; then I feel guilty for over-eating, or over-spending, and wonder why I still feel unsatisfied.
Okay. This is great. I have a plan. Now to put it into action. 🙂