Sunday, May 04, 2008

An Experiment in Time

Okay, time for another epihany. Time. Get it? Time...LOL.

Attempt at humor: Failed. Oh well.

On with the experiment. This week I've been reading a book called How Did I Get So Busy by Valorie Burton. Non-Fiction. It's a 28-Day plan to 'free your time, reclaim your schedule, and reconnect with what matters most.'

Since I don't have 28 days to anything, much less fix my schedule, I'm speeding up the plan a bit. The book is full of a lot of 'duh' type advice about cutting things out of your schedule that you don't really need to do and learning to say 'no' to extra projects, etc. And I will say a lot of it is geared toward single people who already make a lot of money and have realized that while they have all the material things they want, their lives are pretty empty. I'm of the belief that it's easier for someone who lives alone and makes $100K a year to have a 'let me slow down' epiphany than it is for someone who has a family and is just scraping by, but I do buy into the idea of visualizing the kind of life you want to lead and then making that life happen.

Since I was single, I have been visualizing the life of a successful novelist, ie, having enough money to live at a slower pace and enjoy raising my children while working at a job I love. Of course that's easier said than done, let's face it. But I am working at it. I've come a long way in the past few years and I know I still have father to go.

On that note, I've decided to work a little harder at not stressing myself out. [A paradox you say?] Hmm. Yep. Probably. But just because something is a paradox doesn't mean it can't be done.

I've decided to try an experiment for the next week. Hold on to your hats, it's a doozy.

I'm going to SLOW DOWN.

What? How can I even think such blasphemy? After all, I live in the NY/NJ Metropolitan area. Everything and everyone here moves at Warp 10 all the time. The drive to succeed, to make money, to keep up with the Jones's is overwhelming. Everything must be done yesterday, or better yet last week, and if you slow down you get run over.

But I'm going to give it a shot anyway. She says while frantically typing on her computer. I'm going to slow my pace down from the 'frantic-soccer-mom [okay, Winter Guard mom], running in three directions at once, gotta do it all and do it all now' gear I've been in and dial back my motor to 'take it easy, there's time for everything.'

She's nuts, you say. She'll be road kill inside two days.

Mmm. Maybe. But I've been road kill before and bounced back. Hence the 'experimental nature' of this experiment.

So, once again, in a nutshell, here's my plan: I'm going to move slower, think slower, do everything slower and not worry about getting every single thing in my life done ahead of time so that I can rush onto the next project and be ahead of the game. Therein, I think, lies my stress problem. I'm ALWAYS trying to get 'ahead of the game.' I always feel like if I can just do a little bit extra, stock up on projects, utilize every spare minute of every day, I will somehow reach that magical moment in time when everything is finished and I can relax.

Well, in all seriousness, I've been striving toward that moment for last 17 years and it ain't happened yet. There's never been a moment that I can remember that my laundry was all done, my house was all clean, my stories were all written, my chores were all finished. It's never happened, and guess what I figured out? It's probably never going to. So what am I striving toward?

What would happen if I spent a week just striving toward finishing one thing at a time, instead of trying to figure out how I can do three things at once? What would that be like?

I plan to find out. Wish me luck. And if I get run over by the traffic of life, would you do me a favor and scrape my remains toward the side of the road? Thanks.


Jennifer Bianco said...

It sounds like a really good plan. :) I remember living on Long Island, and the pace at which everyone ran. When I moved to GA, and now MA, I couldn't believe how much slower life was. It's hard to understand if you don't live in places that exist on warp speed. Take it slow (lol, no pun intended), and keep us informed. :)

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Thanks, Jen! I was probably really meant to live someplace where things move slower.