Each day is 24 hours. Approximately 8 hours for sleeping, 8 hours for working, and 8 hours for othering, like meals, commutes, chores, etc. Some days those 24 hours are gone in a blink, and other days seem longer than the presidential election cycle (I’m currently avoiding the State of the Union speech and all the commentary that will come afterward).
When I used to be an academic advisor, I often visited a cohort’s final night of class. I took a couple of minutes to celebrate achieving this milestone in their academic journey, and highlighting the need to connect with me to ensure that they remained on track for graduation. My little speech also included a challenge to decide what they were going to do with their recovered time. In our program, students had class for four hours, one night a week (more nights if they doubled-up) plus reading and assignments due each week. Very conservatively, that equated to 10 hours a week dedicated to their college degree. Upon graduation, those hours would be released back to them. However, life would fill up that time if they were not careful. Binge watching reruns on Netflix, extra mindless projects for work, or reality show people shouting on television (in or outside of politics) would fill the void before their diploma arrived in the mail.
Instead I wanted them to get to decide what those 10 hours should be invested in. Perhaps volunteering, or creating, or training, or time with loved ones. It was all their choice as long as they made a choice.
Now I’m writing those words as a mirror to myself and how I chose to use my time each week. I have been out of school for a year and a half, and working one full-time job (instead of five part-time ones) for about six months now. And I find myself wondering what I want to do with my “10 hours.” Or to frame it in the language I started with, I am trying to figure out how to invest the third I have for othering. So far it’s been a bit more running, more sleeping, more writing, and more time with loved ones. And those are all good things. I’m just starting to feel too unfocused and want something to strive for.
Do I know what that thing is? Nope. Would I welcome suggestions from others? Yep.
For tonight, I’ll hold onto my warm mug of English Breakfast with milk and honey, and curl up with a book while the people in Washington D.C. also try to find something worth striving for (or at least something to yell about).
“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.