My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Please remember to breathe

If there were one thing I would change about myself, it is the fact that I lack the ability to inhabit the moment. I am constantly and consistently thinking only of the future--not necessarily the distant future, more usually the immediate, next-couple-of-hours-or-days future. And I find that this drains me more than is necessary.

Summer is supposed to be time off from school to relax, but present-day economics throws a wrench in that model. Students instead usually must arm themselves with resumes and hunt out at least one (if not more) summer jobs in order to pay for schooling, residence, food, gas, and whatever expensive habits they have acquired since they had enough money to buy expensive habit-forming items.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I don't have to pay for schooling, residence, or food. All I need to take care of are my expensive habits,((i.e., buying DVDs and miscellaneous computer stuff)) and sometimes gas, although my dad is pretty generous in that area. Otherwise, I'm just saving my money for when I will need to pay for school, when I'll need to start renting an apartment or put a down payment on a house or anyone of those expenses that seem to crop up in the adult world.((Which is scarier than the trailer made it appear.)) So compared to others, I have it easy. Either I just have a weaker constitution, or going through school and then working all summer is draining.((I think it's a little of both))

My wondrous vacation to Ohio is over, and now I am starting full time at work. This means more money (yay) but longer shifts. The true downside is also the upside of my work (isn't that just irony for you). At the gallery, the days are often slow--especially in the summer, when the weather is warm and people engage in outdoor activities. So when there is nothing for us to do, we front desk attendants get some downtime. I like to read. :D Working during the summer means that the first four hours of our weekday shifts are spent with the full-time staff, which means we at least have to look like we're working. Anyone who lives in Cubeville knows how this feels.((Except we don't get a high speed Internet connection to abuse.))

I get Sundays and Mondays off, but otherwise I'm biking to work every day that the weather is nice. That takes time and effort--especially on the way back, because that way is mostly uphill. When I arrive home, I'm tired and sweaty and all I want to do is collapse. Combined with working, this gives me the distinct feeling that I lack free time. And as a somewhat lazy, sedentary sort of person, free time is a very valuable commodity to me. I function best in an idle state of careful rumination.

Hence my lack of ability to focus on the present and "live in the moment." Were I able to do that, I think I'd be better at coping with this sort of lifestyle. Instead, I constantly focus on what comes next, leaving me somewhat disorganized, discontent, and dissatisfied.

So every so often I say to myself, "Ben, you need to shape up and start living in the moment," and every time I reply, "You're right, Ben--and might I add, devilishly charming and handsome--I do need to alter my pattern of behaviour." Yet nothing comes of it. The closest I've managed to come is sort of use a to-do list, and even that hasn't become a habit. I have flirted with the GTD philosophy, tried downloading ThinkingRock and using that, but it has gotten me nowhere.

I need to accept that I am not a very organized person. Those who know me may balk at this statement, but what you think of as "organization" is in fact just a deep-seated need for tidiness. It's true that I enjoy cleaning. I need a clean, tidy environment in order to have a clean, tidy state of mind in which to work. If my room is messy, then I feel stifled, crowded, and I can't work very productively. Don't mistake this for organization, however. That is another beast altogether. I am usually very disorganized.

The question remains, however: if I cannot become an organized person--and I'm pretty sure I can't--then how do I improve my time management even though I'm disorganized? How do I avoid feeling so drained, grumpy, and ... grown up?

The answer may be to "stop and smell the roses" as often as I can, and I do. Really. I spend a lot of time just vegetating--that's the whole point of acquiring free time, so I don't have to do anything except just soak up the wonderful ambiance of life in our little corner of the universe. What else? I'm going to try and read as much as possible in order to further expand my personal life goal of "know as much as possible, read as many books as possible before you die." Lastly, I am going to remember to breathe. To try to separate the tough and grimy (work, travelling to work, cleaning, lack of free time) from the light and fluffy (movies, books, gardens, walks, friends).

After all, rain comes from clouds.