Anyone who knows me knows that I am a busy person. I design my life that way. While I might occasionally get overwhelmed if a bunch of things come up all at once and I have a bit of a crunch week, I prefer to be busy over bored. I don’t know if you’ve heard the cliché “only the boring are bored” but I find truth in it.
The thing about being a busy person is it encourages me to live my life deliberately. I began thinking more about living deliberately after a conversation with my friend Katie and reading her blog post about her tiny apartment. Everything I do takes time, which is my most precious commodity. What (and who) I spend my time on needs to reflect my priorities, which means I need to know what they are.
To figure out how I want to spend my time, I need to know what my goals are in life. Do I want to focus on my career or have a work/life balance? Do I want to spend time dating and actively looking for a partner, or would I rather focus on other areas of my life? What type of person do I want to be and what sort of impact do I want to make in the world and on the people in my life? Am I ambitious or would I rather just go with the flow?
Since I have a fairly decent understanding of the person I am and the person I want to be, some of those questions have pretty easy answers. Yes, I am a pretty ambitious and driven person. That means I know that I gain happiness and fulfillment from setting goals, meeting them, and then setting new goals. That’s a pretty important thing to know because it impacts a bunch of different areas of my life. I also want a work/life balance and I want to spend time doing things for the sole purpose of enjoying them. So I don’t feel guilty when I spend some time reading a trashy novel, watching TV or playing a video game. I want to make as positive an impact on the world as I am able. I want to leave the world in a better state than I found it. I have a complicated experience with romantic relationships and I find it difficult to keep mentally and emotionally healthy when I am in one and I am independent almost to a fault, so a relationship is not high on my priority list.
Now that I have some major questions answered, I can start mapping out the main aspects of my life. Because I am not currently financially independent, I have to spend a certain amount of time at a job generating income. So career/employment is an aspect. I am an addict in recovery and I attend meetings and participate in service to a twelve step fellowship. In my day-to-day professional life, sometimes to non-addicts I call my service work “volunteering”, but I personally consider it to be part of my recovery like attending meetings or doing step work. So recovery is another large aspect of my life. Speaking of volunteering, I have recently begun working with another non-profit organization to broaden my positive impact with other causes. My health (mental and physical) is another aspect of my life that I am not willing to neglect. My theme for my life last year was improving my mental and physical health, including working with a number of specialists.
Having an idea of the major aspects of my life helps me to set goals in each area. I set long term goals which are often a little more abstract then the short term goals will set me up to reach the long term goals. As an easily understandable example, one of my fitness goals is to “be strong” which is rather vague. Part of being able to measure that is improving my deadlift, which is my favourite lift. I started with a short term goal last year, wanting to be able to lift the equivalent of my body weight. When I hit that goal, I set my sights on lifting over 200 lbs. My longer term goal is lifting over 300 lbs. so that I can join the 1000 club, which is when the total weight of the three main lifts (deadlift, squat and bench press) is over 1000 lbs. So, I have an abstract concept of what I want to accomplish, a longer term goal and shorter term goal(s) to help me get there. Not every goal breaks down so linearly and of course different things will overlap and to reach the longer term goals or abstract concepts. Life is complicated like that. But reaching and then resetting those smaller goals helps keep me on the right track and feeling accomplished.
Here’s Daisy Ridley (who plays Rei in Star Wars: The Force Awakens) deadlifting like a boss:
As an exercise in living deliberately, I began tracking my time this week. The goal is to figure out where I am spending my time and if I am not spending time in accordance with my priorities, to either re-evaluate my priorities or change what I’m doing. I’ll let you know how it goes.