"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment... and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn." -Thoreau

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Return to Chaos?

I find it amusing that my last post began by deploring my state of laziness. Boy, have things changed!

Since last I wrote, a number of remarkable things have occurred. I have lived through three incredibly distinct weeks. My last week home for the summer, with all sorts of last-minute activities, tasty food, and farewells... a trip to gorgeously mountain-y North Carolina... and a return to that other home of mine in happy, quaint little Northfield.

Perhaps words such as quaint and happy denote images of a sleepy, rural town.
Be not fooled! At least if you're thinking of sleepy in the sense of languid, rush-free living. (It would be more accurate to think of sleepy in the sense of so-busy-you-yearn-for-sleep.)
So, I've been incredibly busy since I stepped back onto my dear college campus. Unpacking, turning my dorm room into a comfy home, reconnecting with friends... starting classes... realizing how much work I have!

It poses interesting questions as to how I want to live my life. Deplorable laziness? Nay. Breathless whirlwind of activity? Also nay. How to achieve that tricky balance?

Perhaps my enjoyment of life has much to do with perspective.
I have spent a great portion of my oh-so-extensive life accusing myself of not doing enough with my time. I have always felt like I should be doing more, better. The problem comes when I try to imagine what "more" and "better" would look like. How can I fill my day such that when I go to bed at night I feel that it was a day well-lived? How can I use my time so that in a year I will look upon my life with satisfaction?

I'm not sure how to answer those questions. But I do know that, in the quest for answers, the next ten weeks shall be chaotic. In contrast to the usual holes in my schedule, my days are pretty tightly blocked off between classes, studying, working, and dancing. (And volunteering. I want to fit that in, too, somehow.)
But alas! Already in the past week I found myself falling into the treacherous trap of viewing my schedule... as a constraint, rather than a means of achieving satisfaction. Rush, rush, rush, rush.
Is rush, rush, rush really "more" and "better"?

It seems fairly obvious that the answer is no.
However, I think it's important to step back and remember why I chose to do these things.
Most notable, my classes. Demanding. I have a lot of work before me. But I'm excited about the subjects I'm studying! My studies are not merely a chore, they are an opportunity to entertain interesting ideas, to gather new perspectives, to explore interesting questions... to do all sorts of delightful things! Rather than fall into the danger of viewing my life as a checklist of burdensome chores which I need to complete, I need to savor the moment. I think I need to worry less about the fact that I need to be somewhere in half an hour, and focus more on enjoying how I have chosen to fill my time. Ah, perspective, perspective.

So have I succeeded in devising a plan for doing more and better? I'm not sure. I'm still not certain what those look like. I do know that rushing through my busy life is not going to make me happier. But I also know that I am extremely excited for everything I have before me.
Now I just need to savor it.

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