When later never comes

Isn’t it interesting how, even when you should know better, it’s so much easier to diagnose and / or solve other people’s problems than your own? Oh well. I’ll leave the post up anyway.

———

I was thinking earlier about my senior year of high school, in AP English.

We had a lot of reading, papers, and projects in that class. Usually there were multiple assignments going on at the same time. I often found myself thinking, when I’m done with this one, than I can do X. But as the deadline for this one approached, another one would be assigned. I realized that, at least in this class, later would never come. If there were things I wanted to do, I would have to make time for them around the assignments.

That idea helped me get through college, too. I found that if I took the time to go for a walk or write a letter or hang with a friend, I’d still get the homework done — but if I tried to do my homework first, it would expand to fill all the time available, and the walks and letters and friends would keep being postponed. Later wouldn’t come. (I’m not recommending this approach to just anyone — just to people who suffer from perfectionism and an overdeveloped sense of obligation.)

I guess it’s the same philosophy that keeps me going with creative projects despite having a toddler in the house. While I don’t have as much time for my projects as I would sometimes like, and while I often have to remind myself to tip the balance back toward Amy, I still find I’m able to take time for things that matter to me, things I enjoy.

I have found that sometimes I do need to wait for later — I don’t think this is the season to be working on another dulcimer CD, for example, or for trying to expand my business (expand! ha — I’ve played one gig all year so far and have no students).

So it seems it’s yet another question of balance and moderation. How to make time for living, for enjoying, in and around the obligations — how to set and follow limits on how much time and energy go into the obligations without doing shoddy work — how to face the problem with grace and faith and hope and with minimal catastrophizing — how to accept (if not embrace) that surprise obligations will always come — what things really would be better postponed, perhaps for years — etc.

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