The other day I went for a walk with a friend who has been spending time meditating and going to Buddhist retreats, and I felt a bit of envy. Inner peace? Yes, please!
But I know myself too well to think I’m going to take up any of those habits now, in middle age, when I can barely get myself to Quaker Meeting. Instead, I’m finding ways to turn my own weakness–Horizontal Space Disease–into a strength.
HSD is my #1 disorder, according to my Mate. Its symptoms: I see an empty horizontal space, and–according to him–I instantly need to cover it with something. Books. Laundry. Flowers. Little caches of rubber bands, paper clips, and batteries for guitar tuners. (Hey, that stuff is USEful.)
Over the years we’ve found a good compromise: certain areas of the house are fair game for my stuff, others are kept shipshape. So this is NOT a Wing house picture.
But something of mine I’ve noticed is looking a lot like this photo these days: my schedule. It’s a cluttered mess.
A typical day generally involves the following:
2:30 or 3:15 a.m. rise, depending on whether I’m riding or driving to work
8 1/2 hour workday at the bakery
mini-power nap (20 minutes) before heading off to writing group, or music practice, or a meeting for some community organization
ride home, OR drive home to power-walk or do indoor workout
dinner/catch up with The Mate
study Spanish/practice music/catch up on correspondence/see how those spinning plates are doing–anything crashed yet?–good, keep spinning, and…time for bed so you can do it again tomorrow!
Understand, I am NOT complaining. Just noticing. Noticing that life feels a tad hectic these days. So the other morning, I used my starry morning bike commute to list all the ways I can keep myself feeling in charge of my schedule, instead of the other way around.
- Start the day with a poem, preferably about nature. It puts everything in perspective before little things start assuming too much importance.
- Use my drive or ride to air-journal about what’s on my mind, or to sing, or to call up memories that bring me joy.
- Use my power-walk to do the same, or, if I’m riding the indoor bike, listen to a thoughtful podcast like On Being.
- Even when I have a lot to do in a short time, I try to move my body deliberately. It’s amazing how un-rushed that makes me feel.
Could I clear my calendar, quit some groups, attend fewer meetings, do less? Absolutely! But I don’t WANT to. I like my full life. Just got to find a way to live comfortably with my “disease.”
Any HSD/Calendar fellow-sufferers out there? What are your remedies? Please share!