I am sitting in one my new favorite writing spots. I am near the window, my back to the rest of the room. I put on my headphones and tune out the work everyone else is doing around me. Snow is falling again today, a new norm. It is an Ohio winter, after all. I look at the window across the rooftop. It looks into the gym where people are getting in their morning workouts and I dread the upcoming treadmill workout the snow has forced me to meet my four runs a week goal that I have proudly kept up for over a year (back patted). I am ready for the sidewalks to come out from hiding under their shelter of snow, salt and ice. I really miss the outdoor air and the feeling of actually running somewhere, rather in place, but the treadmill is a necessary part of keeping up my running habit. (and I am lucky enough to have regular company) I am at the age where I am starting to realize how much comfort I can find in steady habit. That’s how my sneakers get miles and my journal pages get filled. Here I am, every week, in the same spot by the window trying to get into as good of a writing habit as my running habit.
This should come as no shock – I have terrible time management skills. I blame it on my bad depth perception and apply it to poor planning. Or maybe it is lack of focus. I have spent the better part of my life feeling like there was something wrong with my nocturnal ways and my constant tardiness. But seriously, how do you manage something that seemingly slips away like literal sand through an hourglass. As I write this, one of my six alarms is reminding me that I will be, once again, pulled away from focusing on my time to get one of my children moving. I even got up early today, but there are still not enough hours in my day. Even if I did have a few extra minutes, they aren’t always spent doing activities of substance (thanks Facebook). Today won’t be the right day to focus on writing, I can already tell. Just like every other chore, I let it hang over my head on an endless to do list. Maybe my behavior is self-sabotaging, a mask for the fear of what “judgy” strangers may think of my exposed words. I am not even sure being organized would fix this problem. Another time management issue I face is figuring out how to schedule around my anxiety. Sometimes it is a daily cycle, sometimes a monthly cycle, and most times something that I am mostly afraid the world thinks I am making up. I want to work on this career, but I am also good at talking myself into thinking I am not any good. I want to make a phone call (networking, I think they call it) but I can’t get myself to hit send. I am not ready to leave my comfort zone. Not today.
Lately, I have buried my time into being a really good stay-at-home mom. The needs are basic, not complicated. Food, bathroom, entertainment, sleep. There is no question, or ambiguity of whether or not I am doing what they want; they let me know if not. I like to stay inside with them. In an outside world that can be filled with double meaning and passive aggressive statements that I will most likely over analyze.
Time leads way to habits. I promise myself. I am cutting time out, like paper snowflakes, beautiful and decorative, but filled with holes. In those holes, light begins to shine through and moments freeze. That’s what I’m good at: freezing moments. But adulthood calls for habits, organization and time management. Nothing functions just when “I feel like doing it”. I have read the books; I have tried the tactics and eventually let myself down. At home, I can catch a sense of accomplishment. The kitchen gets cleaned, the laundry gets folded and put away, the clutter is reduced and in those moments I start to make the strongest connection between physical and mental clutter. Then life will start to pound down on me. Appointments get made, kids schedules bulk up, work schedules, holidays, anything that is outside of the norm. As a mom, I love those days. I crave something different; a break from routine, a reason to put on jeans. As a writer, I struggle to keep my voice during times that fall out of the ordinary.
I look at time management as an essential part of adulthood. A bullet point on a resume, a subheading of so many self-help books, and the one thing I can’t quite get a grasp on. I started this year with a simple goal: to be a better version of myself. It is not a resolution, rather an evolution. Once again, my voice appears to be changing and shifting and I struggle to keep up with it. My priorities and interests are morphing into something different, something cleaner and more inviting as the home I am working extra hard to maintain. The only thing I can do is find time, and space within my busy mom bubble to keep up with the individual person I want to become: the inner adult I try to grow up to be.