Step One: Creating Space.

I am aware that if I look back on the various posts I’ve written on this blog, I would find the personal pronouns referring to yours truly too numerous to bother counting.  I’ve ventured out of my box a little here, a tad bit there, but for the most part I’ve focused my opining and whining squarely on the space that surrounds me, the things that happen to me, because of me, and by my hand.  It’s a bit boring, isn’t it?  I’m very interested in finding a place in life in which what I’m thinking about — what concerns me — is more interesting than, well, me.

For the moment, however, I’m still figuring out which foot goes where in order to move forward.  One of the biggest obstacles to that in the last year or so has been a lack of space.

I don’t mean physical space.  I’ve got enough of that.  I don’t mean time.  Time has been there – in snippets, which is a big part of the problem.  Imagining life differently than it is takes an extraordinary amount of space. That space is emotional, mental, and creative, and if it is diminished by fatigue, it is destroyed by fear.  Of course fear – my fear, at any rate – comes from self-doubt.  I’m not sure what it is that I’m doubting, because I haven’t even figured out what it is that I’m asking myself.  But I do know that I haven’t had the space to even begin to formulate that question.  So the possibilities, rather than seeming endless as they might, seemed painfully finite.  Suffocating.  Doom and gloom.

And then that changed.

It only took a few hours, actually, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which ones.  After a rushed trip home (Stateside) with Chris to visit friends and see one of them get married to a lovely man, I came home (au Puy) to mountains of papers to grade and lessons to prepare and classes to strategize.  And I couldn’t do anything.  Not a thing.  This was no existential crisis.  It was only the worst case of jet lag I’ve ever had in my life, and from which it took solidly four days to recover.  I tried to work, but I was well and truly a waste of space.  I felt like a zombie (I did not eat any brains).  Somehow, when I started to come back to life, all of a sudden I had a little bit of a focus…a bit more of an idea as to what to do next.

The idea was this:  create space.  I work long hours, as does every teacher, I’m sure.  But I had to get ahead of my work, because I am not blessed with that single-mindedness that allows certain amazing folks to know just what to do when little snippets of time become available.  When a task seems daunting, I have to break it down into parts, and in order to do that, I need space.  In order to have space, I need to be ahead, at least a little, or I can’t see the forest for the guilt trees growing guilt fruits all around me.  You haven’t!  You should have!  You need to!  Why didn’t you?  Why haven’t you?  When will you?  How will you find the time?  And on and on.

So I did it.  A couple of cancelled lessons the other day allowed me to get twice as much done as I would have normally (while earning 100% less than I would have normally…hehe…), and I got ahead by a day.  Result?  I got a start.  A very modest one, but I’ve started the list (three of them, actually), and it can only get better from there.  Staying ahead will depend upon forthcoming strokes of luck and lots of strategy on my part, but that’s my goal.  Because not being ahead by a little allows me to put off things that could be the difference between living and existing.  In the name of Not Enough Time, life just keeps flying by.

Gotta catch up.

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8 thoughts on “Step One: Creating Space.

  1. ann, i read a Lot of stuff that people write because you just never know when something worthwhile will come along, and after all, everyone needs an audience…by default i end up wasting copious amounts of time sifting through junk, think dinner theater critic for the Des Moines Register.

    You are always insightful and thought provoking. Your posts about the residents of the Senior Home are among the best i’ve read anywhere. I sure hope you can keep finding space to do the things you love, and I hope you will keep writing about them here and on sixes and sevens.
    ron

  2. suncitymom says:

    I think I would say that you are taking control of your time and your energy and in the end you will be more satisfied with yourself and your achievements.
    I agree with Ron about your posts at the Senior Home; they were deep and insightful and thought provoking. But i am also enjoying these current posts on your insightfulness, (maybe that’s not a word-but you get my gist.

    • Ann says:

      insofar as i can, i do, but that’s the crux of it – sometimes no matter how much control we try to take, the list is too long and time is too short. i can’t even imagine how it is for parents. i’m pretty sure insightfulness is a word, but maybe another you could use here is acumen…having said that, i’m not sure i’ve got much of it, but thank you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Personally, Ann, I love reading about you. It helps me to feel a more personal connection over such a large distance. And I always get something out of them that I can apply to my own life. Speaking of which, time to get back to it.

  4. colgore says:

    I like the idea of creating space. I think I need to enact this. I’ve never had any space, as I’m a procrastinator and a “you should have” “you need to” kind of person. Wow. This post shifted my entire perspective. Just what I needed to hear as I sit hear staring at the mounds of work and wondering why I never get things done. Thanks Ann!

    • Ann says:

      that was always the way i rolled, too, until i got into management. the list just got so long, i figured out how to get organized really fast. having said that, procrastination remains my m.o., so it has to be something i consistently make a conscious effort toward…meh. get shit done however works best for you…and however keeps you sanest!

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