This is me trying to write a blog post with all the time in the world.
I didn’t post last week. Sorry guys. I got halfway through a post, realized my heart wasn’t in it, and then went to my room to watch New Girl for five hours. I’m productive like that.
In fact, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not… but something about staying home all the time is sapping the productivity from our lives. I’m not entirely sure why.
For me, at least, I’ve been dreaming about the day all my obligations get cancelled. My excuse for not doing things is that I don’t have enough time. I don’t have the motivation. I only have 24 hours in a day and it just isn’t feasible to do everything.
Then this happened.
Now, just like I’ve always wanted, my life is cancelled.
School is online. That means (theoretically) that my education is even more flexible than it was during the school year. I’m one of those seniors who chose to have two free periods. That essentially meant I’d get to leave school two hours earlier than everyone else, which meant I theoretically had more time to get my schoolwork finished and spend time on my most important priorities (writing). Now… I have zero periods. I can do school whenever I want. And there are less assignments than ever before because of the online barrier.
My clubs are cancelled. I’m an NHS member. And although I do love volunteering… turning in those slips to prove I did it (and getting up the courage to ask random supervisors of events to sign them) was pretty stressful. That stress is gone… because we literally aren’t allowed to be near people, and that’s the definition of volunteer work.
Likewise, my Ireland and Scotland trip was cancelled (after we got to London… read that saga here). Sometimes I feel like crying over that loss. But because of that cancellation, I got an entire week back to myself that I thought I was going to spend sleep deprived in the UK, touring fancy castles.
My circadian rhythm has been cancelled. (Okay… not really, but it feels like it). I can sleep whenever I want. I don’t have to set a time for myself to go to bed anymore because I don’t have to be places the next morning.
My senior year has been cancelled. Imagine all that time I just saved that I could have spent at prom, graduation, special meals for being in the top ten in my class, senior pep rallies, and all the other fun “seniors only” events I was excited to go to.
The world has finally told everyone to stay in their houses. It’s socially acceptable to sit in your room all day (of course, going for a thirty minute walk so you feel like a person) and watch TV. It’s socially acceptable to not go to work. It’s socially acceptable to not talk to anyone (and if you do… long chats on FaceTime and texting 24/7 has never been so popular).
This is living the dream, right?
I’ve got nowhere to be. I’ve got no plans to interfere with my goals. No more excuses. No more pesky appointments. No more people to suck away my time.
I finally understand the whole “be careful what you wish for” saying. Before now, I honestly thought that applied to wishes that could obviously backfire. “I want to go on an adventure” could mean an emotional rollercoaster that ends lower than you started. “I wish I was rich” probably ends with all your neighbors plotting a robbery and sinking your yacht. “I wish for success in my life” might end well, but there’s probably like ten years of uphill climbing, setbacks, and hurdles that’ll probably reduce me to a depressive state.
“I wish I had time” shouldn’t backfire. How could that backfire?
When I was busy, this is what I wanted to do with my time, if I ever had any:
- Write really awesome novels
- Build a platform
- Get published successfully
- Read regularly
- Spend time in writing resources
- Always have an organized room
- Spend time with my sisters playing silly games
- Read all the information there is about my college so I’m prepared
- Spend meaningful time with friends
- Read the Bible consistently
- Practice my instruments consistently
- Plan for my future
I managed to do a lot of these. But I also managed to make consistent excuses for many of them too.
But twelve goals? Twelve things I wanted to do if I ever had free time? If I ever had free time, I’d do all those activities and never relax. I’d burn myself out.
Perhaps you can relate. What were the activities you dreamed of doing with a couple spare hours?
Now we have more than a couple spare hours. We have all the hours. Time is meaningless. The world has stopped. There is absolutely nothing standing in our way to complete the millions of dreams we always said we had no time for.
Yet… I still haven’t done most of those things. I haven’t made progress on most of those dreams. My motivation is gone. Time still passes. I mean, you’d think with all the time in the world, I’d at least post on my blog every week.
How is it that it feels like I was more successful when I was too busy? In the middle of marching season, I posted every week. In the middle of NaNoWriMo, I posted every week (even though I said I wouldn’t). In the middle of the busy holidays and school events and stuff in my life, I still posted every week. I think I missed two Mondays last year, back when life was normal.
When I was busy, I still got the most important tasks done. And now that I’m not busy… I’m still getting the most important tasks done. It’s just that my perspective on importance has changed.
During lockdown, with all the time in the world, I’ve:
- Started another novel
- Signed up for a million online webinars and listened to people give me advice on all sorts of stuff, writing included
- Spent time playing silly games with my family
- Spent meaningful time with my friends. Even when those FaceTime calls were light and random… speaking with friends has become a lot more meaningful in isolation.
- Attempted to read the Bible consistently. I’m still working on it.
- Chose a college
That’s half of the list… and some of those goals weren’t even part of the list to begin with. But now that I have time… my priorities have changed.
We were being unrealistic before. We were.
For some reason, I fell into this idea that if I only had a little more time, everything would just come together. I would magically be able to accomplish everything at once. I wouldn’t lose motivation. I wouldn’t lose sight of why I made those goals.
I hope I’m not the only one who’s ever dreamed of having a little more time.
Here is a truth: you won’t ever accomplish anything if you don’t put time into it.
I can’t expect my twelve dream goals to just get done without any effort. Even in times of slowness and cancellations, my goals can’t be completed without my own work.
Here’s another truth: you don’t have to accomplish everything at once.
I’m so glad I’ve done those six things in the last four weeks of sitting at home. I’m so glad that they weren’t part of my initial goal list. I’m so thankful I finally have time to just sit. And relax. And watch five hours of New Girl and accomplish a couple goals a week.
Because you know what? That list has no deadline. There will be a clear prompting to start working on something when it’s the right time.
Maybe right now is tricking you into thinking it’s the right time for all of your goals. It’s not. But maybe it’s the right time for some of them.
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