One of the things I want to get better at doing is reviewing each calendar year.
1. I’ve always been bad at doing any sort of review in a systematic way. Think about how bad I was at keeping my files updated back in school. And how I’ve never really managed to stick to any sort of deliberate system or habit for longer than a few months. I’m trying to change that now. I feel like I’ve been trying to change this for the past 6-8 years. What am I going to do now moving forward that’s going to make a difference?
1b. I think the answer is that I’m going to change my attitude towards the importance of a daily calendar review. The costs are too high now for me to let it go. I’m approaching my 4th year of marriage, of being a home-owner, of being employed. I can no longer approach it like a beginner, like a novice. There are expectations I have to live up to, especially my own.
2. I was doing a calendar review yesterday (I know it because I put it in my calendar). I went to the start of 2016, and then scanned through my days week by weeks. I didn’t always keep great records – sometimes I’d have weeks at a time where I didn’t fill in anything, and can’t exactly be sure of what I did.
2a. A part of me wants to be okay with that, as a sort of resistance to the colonization of time. But the bigger part of me I think wants to see what it’s like when I really take my own time seriously. After all, I can always revert to living a life of indifference to time. I do remember that there was a period of time in my life where I basically just hung out with friends every day, and I didn’t enjoy that at all. I found myself weary, listless, and it was just not a good vibe.
2b. It’s also a little shocking how short a year really is. It seems like a long stretch of time when it’s laid out in front of you. But you’re going to spend a third of it asleep. You’re going to spend large chunks of it eating, showering, using the toilet, walking from place to place, and so on. The reality of it seems to be that after everything else, I only have a couple of hours – maybe up to 4 hours – that I can reliably count on to be productive with. And when I look at my calendar, I see that I wasn’t nearly as productive as I wish I was. And I don’t even think I was as productive as I assumed I’d be. That’s the scary part.
3. I spend a lot more time on Facebook or randomly surfing the internet – reddit and so on – than I realize. I went cold turkey on this back in 2013, which was good for a while, but it’s slowly crept back onto me. A part of me does think that I want to build relationships with people on Facebook for my long-term writing career, but I need to be very precise about what exactly I’m trying to achieve with that – because otherwise it’s sickeningly easy to fall into the trap of just hanging out in the common room all day. (Which was what I did when I was in Junior College.)
4. I was talking to a friend over a beer and talked about how we’re going to be turning 27. Lots of the celebrities that we looked up to – Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, etc – they never made it to 28. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin. All of them crashed and burned one way or another. And it looks like we’re probably going to make it to 28.
4b. I just thought that was interesting, because making it to old age in a healthy and functional way, I think, requires effort. And we’re crossing a threshold now, and once we’ve crossed it we really have to shed our old skins. We have to reimagine ourselves as entirely different people, in a new stage of life, reborn.
5. All this calendar talk is really about me circling around the idea that I don’t want to waste any more time. I don’t want to allow forces beyond my control to dictate how I spend my time – or if that’s inevitable to some degree, well at least I want to minimize the amount of time that is taken from me. Life is so short. It passes so fast. I can’t believe 4 years have already gone. It almost seemed to have vanished in the haze. It went by while I was trying to keep up and trying to get by. I feel like I “deserve” at least a decade where I feel well-adjusted and happy and in control of my domain. Of course, nobody “deserves” anything. Life will bitch-smack you in the face if it feels inclined to.
6. Another thing I’m trying to tie up here is the importance of ruthless prioritization, which I’m sure I’ve written about before. I usually write myself into a frenzy to try and get myself into the right mood for agreeing that prioritization is important, but I rarely follow up with what I think is actually most important, and then eliminate everything else accordingly.
7. Well, for the remaining two years I’m going to make it a point that my word vomits are my single top priority. I’m going to have to write at least one every single day. I need to cross 650 by the end of the year, ideally I’d like to cross 700. I know it’s possible. I just need to make it a priority. I need to do it early in the day so I get it out of my system, before I do anything else. My 2nd priority would be fitness. I need to get healthier now while I’m still young. More on that later.