“My time I divide as follows: the one half I sleep; the other half I dream. I never dream when I sleep; that would be a shame, because to sleep is the height of genius.” – Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
Some ten years ago a former boss said something in passing about me, a description that got ever-stuck in my head. I think I might’ve just left my job, then, and was having a reunion dinner of sorts with my team, the Boss included. The topic of conversation inevitably went to why I had to resign. I started reiterating what I’d already told them a number times: I was gonna finish my masters and do work for underprivileged children. Then the Boss went, “She wants to do too many things.” I can’t recall now how I responded then, but my heavily edited memory has me giving a retort, “Well that’s not necessarily a bad thing, yeah?”
Fast forward to March 2016. Here I am making a confession: The Boss was right about me then, and it was not just naiveté; even now, at middle age, I still have the desire to do far too many things, perhaps way more than my singular body can ever succeed at doing. I still maintain, though, that this is not necessarily bad.
I must admit that I am still a long way from becoming good at managing my time to accomplish all these many, many things that I am trying to do or am still dreaming of doing. Whatever I lack in discipline I make up for with sheer determination. AND FAITH. Lemme see…right now there’s a full-time job, domestic responsibilities (which entail all-nighters and lots of nursing and driving duties), inventory management and shipping tasks for my mom’s business, discipleship and other ministry efforts. I also take on moonlighting opportunities, most of which have me writing or editing technical documents.
As things are right now I literally am already quite sleepless. Which is to say that, following Kierkegaard’s reasoning, I’m afraid no genius can be found here. However I am not wont to drop any of the balls I am now juggling, plus:
- I really, really, really want to be able to write regularly. That novel has to happen.
- I would also love to be able to volunteer again, maybe teach in Sunday school or assist a community program for children.
- I want to go back to school. I’m itching to start pursuing a PhD.
- I’m still hoping to be able to teach someday.
- It would be great, too, to be a trainer again. I miss facilitating stuff.
- Finally, I want to be able to raise a child with my hubby.
If I were to live as long as my grandparents I’d have at least forty more years to do all these. Still a lot of time, don’t you think? Needless to say I must do better in the art of dividing. Whereas Kierkegaard spoke of dividing his time, I simply must divide all that are out there for me to do, between the dispensable and the significant. Leave out the fluff, the non-essentials, the time-wasters. Then my non-sleeping would be put to much better use.
I have to be realistic, though. I don’t know how much more time I actually have. So there is further dividing to be done. All my bullets above are great, and it would be oh-so-wonderful to be able to put a check on each of them, but truth is, I may not even wake up tomorrow!
Some time ago I took stack of ALL that I am capable of doing in this life and, I guess, divided them between those that I could give up, and those that I would really want to be the essence of my years–my life’s ultimate non-negotiables. Time and again I would go back to this second list, which I wrote from the perspective of having reached the end the race, so to speak. These are what the list contains:
- I loved.
- I shared God’s word.
- I helped people grow in the Lord.
- I depended on the Lord.
- I worked excellently for the Lord.
- I was a good example.
- I discipled.
- I obeyed the Lord.
- I followed the Lord.
- I reflected Christ.
- I manifested joy in all circumstances.
- I encouraged.
- I listened.
- I gave.
There it is, my BIG, FINAL LIST. No matter how much time I have, this is the list that I can, and will, live out. Does it still show that I want to do too many things? I suppose it does.
That’s not necessarily bad, though, yeah?
*Writing prompt, “Divide,” courtesy of The Daily Post.