I’ve been thinking a lot about intentionality lately, about how much control I have over the way my life is going right now, when it’s a good thing to hold onto those decisions and when my grip is getting a little too white-knuckled. For the past few semesters I’ve had plenty of say in how my schedule and general way of life is set up, but sometimes that level of ostensible control results in high hopes that are inevitably dashed when circumstances arise in which I can’t control what happens.
The flip side of this is that I tend to be far more intentional about the new tasks and opportunities I take on, rather than making conscious decisions to give myself a break, so I accelerate the pace at which I hurtle through life when I should probably be putting on the brakes.
For instance, when a Three Day Weekend such as this one rolls around, and I’m a little under the weather, I still can’t help but spend the day making a list of all the things I need to get done. I may be curled up on the couch under a comfy blanket with Scrubs playing on Hulu, but I’m also scribbling down every single tiny chore/assignment/personal goal for the weekend in 15-minute increments and religiously checking all three of my email accounts and color coding my schedule for the next week and…
I can’t seem to give myself permission to slow down, even for one day. I feel like I have to make up for the fact that I slept in this morning so my afternoon and evening had better set world records for productivity – even though I have Monday off and this was only the first week of classes so I don’t actually have insane amounts of work to do (yet).
Part of this discomfort with taking time off is probably linked to the similar discomfort I feel whenever I spend much time off-screen. You know what I mean; even when I don’t have anything pressing to do, my go-to entertainment is usually mindlessly scrolling through Tumblr or checking web series Twitter updates on my phone, and trying to step away from the screen once in a while is surprisingly difficult.
I’ve made small steps. I used to turn on my laptop to go on Pandora while I was getting ready in the morning, but I kept checking emails or opening other new tabs between putting on jeans and putting on a shirt, and then again between eyeshadow and mascara. Now when I feel like listening to music, I turn on my iPod and find that I’m ready a lot sooner and feel less scattered in the morning.
Of course, then I go out to the kitchen and check my email (all three of them) over breakfast. But hey, baby steps, right?
For now, I’m going over to a friend’s house and giving myself the evening off. The To Do List of Doom can wait.