Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carpe Diem Wednesday and some Philosophical What-Not

I’d like to tell you of my day yesterday. I’m rather proud of it I must say. Do you ever have those days where you’ve felt so productive, where you’ve used all of your time in meaningful worthwhile pursuits of not only a professional or academic nature, but a social and emotional nature as well, you just have to look back and say.. .“Man! I carp’ed that diem!” Well my friends, yesterday, I carpe’d my diem. Carpe’d it real good.
Let’s begin with 5:50am. My little phone alarm goes off and I am up, in workout clothes and to the gym by 6:05am where I proceeded to work out for an hour. I know what you’re thinking – stop there! You’re amazing! You’re my hero! You have carpe’d your diem more than 95% of Americans ever even attempt in their lifetimes! Well, though I appreciate (and understand) your awe, there’s even more to come. This diem hasn’t even STARTED!

After showering myself (which can I tell you I’ve gotten into the habit of showering before bed so all I have to do in the morning is splash on mascara and straiten my bangs on the way out the door? Truth) and getting to work, I proceeded to work an 8 hour day. Applause! What is so special about this, you ask? Don’t most people work an 8-5 Monday-Friday work day? Well, I would say that depends on your definition of “work” for 8 hours. What with facebook, BLOGS (caught!), personal calls, lunch, the 3:00pm slump, and general tom-foolery that goes on during an 8 “hour” work day – I’d say most employees – good employees – get in about 5-6 hours of those 8. I, however, worked a very legit 8 hours yesterday and felt pretty damn good about it! I’m one of those weirdys that likes it to be busy though. A little pressure does my motivation good. That’s my work-mantra.

After this full day of work – I proceeded to class. Yep. I’ve gotten in a work out (recreational), work (professional), and now class (academic). And it was a really fantastic class. Nerd alert! Listen, in grad school you’re all nerds. You’re surrounded by people who have voluntarily elected to continue studying something because they WANT to at a much higher price (including tution and sanity costs), because it INTERESTS them. And considering my area of interest is public administration and higher education, you know all my classes are full of nerds just like me. Feels like home; warm cookies and fuzzy blankets. My classes are once a week in 3 hour blocks so there’s a risk that you may want to pluck out your eyes by the time that final 30 minutes rolls around but not this time. THIS time I felt like my mind was expanded and my dreams were realized. Well, more that my mind was expanded but it’s just one more step towards realizing my dreams. Right? Yet another mantra. This whole post is just full of mantras. Feel free to use any of them as your life so dictates.

So by the time class has ended, it’s about 7pm and you’d think it’s time to go home and be unproductive: go to the drive-through, slump on the couch, and watch some DVR. Normally Internet, this is EXACTLY what I would do after class… with the mere wisp of “I should go work out” lingering in the back of my mind as I await my order of Wendy’s Spicy (they really are… VERY spicy) chicken nuggets, small fry, and baby frosty. But this wisp did not enter my mind for two reasons. 1. I’D ALREADY WORKED OUT!! AH hahahahahahha!!! 2. I had some Bowlin to do.

Enter Final Phase of Carpe Diem Wednesday

I gathered with a group of work buddies, MPA buddies, and random buddies for 2 rounds of DOLLAR (you read that right) Bowlin at “The Ritz” located here. Turns out, they have dollar bowling starting at 9pm. It also gets really nuts when they turn the lights down low and the disco balls on. For some reason a rotating disco ball turns your average bowler into a yelling blathering cheering bowling enthusiast whose entire life has boiled down to this fantastic night of weeknight bowlin! Either that or the beer. There was a lot of beer rotating around. Perhaps the disco light beer bowlin combo? Hmmm… may warrant an investigation. World Peace brought on by beer (of the “root” kind for those of us who don’t drink the “secular” beers ;)), bowling, and the soft glow of a rotating disco ball. I feel soothed already.

Anyway 2 bowling games later, I rounded out carpe’ing my diem by driving on home, reading some of the good word, and crashing into my pillow at around 11:40pm.

What a day! So lets…


Day started: 5:45am
Day Ended: 11:40pm.
Inbetween: much productivity.

Truly, it’s days like this that make me realize how much one can seriously accomplish in a day. A LOT! And not even how much one can accomplish but how many MEANINGFUL things one can accomplish in a single day – including the bowling. I find leisure a meaningful activity as it helps maintain some sense of appreciation of the good things on this earth. It also makes me reflect on all the silly things that can just soak up oodles and oodles of time doing meaningless “nothings”. And by nothings I don’t mean leisure… lets be clear… I mean pointlessness. Leisure has a point – and it’s to relax and recharge. Nothings however, is ike… you know I’m going there… Facebook or video games or watching hours and hours of TV. Mind-numbing time-wasters! Con-sarn-it! There’s a place for all those things – and truly sometimes I just want to have my mind numbed by an America’s Next Top Model marathon and peruse the Facebook when I need a break from legitimate thinking. There’s a place for all these things. But truly, honestly, I don’t understand the phrase “I’m ADDICTED to Facebook” (how? What can you possibly DO on there for hours and hours?) or, wasting an entire day defeating the newest Halo just to find another mind-numbing blow’em up game to conquer the next day. Are there not better uses of time? Better ways to incorporate “leisure?” without sacrificing brain cells? There needs to be some serious limits to these time-sucks that we can so easily fall victim to. One day, we’ll look back and see the days, weeks, and even years that have passed doing meaningless things with nothing but 10 comments on my FB status or few conquered video games or mushy mind to show for it. Taking it a step further, if we have the luxury (and time is a luxury) to waste so much time in frivolity, just think what we could do with that time helping someone else. 3 hours on the Facebook (again – HOW) translates into 3 hours at the Food Bank or 3 hours at the YMCA. We lament about the busyness of our lives, the responsibilities we undertake, and that there isn’t even enough time in the day to sit down and have a proper meal or meaningfully interact with those closest to us because we’re off to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. With the advent of the electronic age: texting, FB’ing, emails, no one interacts organically anymore and everything has increased to the speed of light. If we can’t get it NOW, then we don’t want it. If it’s not at our fingertips, it’s not worth the time. But what is the real WORTH of our time? There are good ways to spend our time, there are better ways, and then there are the best ways.
The greatest way someone can show me what’s truly important to them, given distractions (some legit and some not as much) and our egocentric, fast-paced society, is where they spend their TIME. How they use their TIME. And where they GIVE their TIME. Time is a priviledge in this day and age and it’s also one of those things we have complete control over; how we use it, who deserves it, and where it can be used best.

An example.

Mormon standard time. I hate it. And I hate that being consistently late is not only acceptable – but for some reason “cool.” I’ve ranted about this before – but I think it’s incredibly selfish to be consistently late to everything. You either 1. Need to loosen your schedule a little bit or 2. Recognize that you’re not the only one in the world who matters Mr. Me-Planet! To me, when someone is consistently incredibly late it says “my time is more important than your time… and you can wait until I’m ready to interact with you.” When I went bowling last night, I invited friends from work, school, life, etc. The great majority of them are not part of the dominant religion here and thus do not prescribe to the Mormon standard time disease. And guess what, ALL of them were early (gasp!) or ON TIME for our bowling night. All. Of. Them. Just something to think about. For a people (me included) who profess service and care for others and who declare that the pure love of Christ is charity, we sure are incredibly selfish with our time… one of the greatest “services” we can give to someone else.

Yesterday, I felt good because I felt I used my time, my luxury, meaningfully. And it was a good feeling to look back and say “That was a day well spent!” BUT, though I was SPOT-on time to my bowling outing, I couldn’t think of any other time that day when I specifically stopped and thought of or helped someone else. As a student, a single person, and a working professional, the temptation to become incredibly selfish and wrapped up in my on first world issues is a slippery slope. I really am busy. I have a lot of things that include me me me. But, my Carpe Diem Wednesday taught me to reach outside of myself and find better ways to use my time… to truly carpe my diem not just with "meaningful" activities, but with an acknowledgment of others who need a little of my time to improve their "diem" in even the smallest measure. If an entire day doing productive things mostly for "me" can make me feel good about myself - I wonder what an entire day spent doing productive and meaningful things for OTHERS would feel like. Probably pretty stinking good.


David Hulet said...

This is possibly, maybe, probably, my favorite post. I was so there! Carpe Diem'ing with you. Except I didn't work out :/

And other than the frustration of zoid lane, bowling was so fun! And bonus! Free passes. Because things should work. They just should. The last thing you need in lesiure is more stress.

Craig Barlow B. said...

I have been spending a lot of time lately on the nothings.

However, I'm very promt. I like being on time.

So I think I break even.

Andrea Jolene said...

Prompt trumps all. I'll Fedex you a medal!