Friday, February 22, 2013

Get Up and Read

As the phrase goes, life happens.  I had an epiphany recently, in that it is impossible to keep things perfect, and neat, and in working order.  Life is not a new car, where a periodic oil change and tire alignment keeps things running smoothly.  Life is very much like a clunker, where the A.C. can break even when you just went through all of winter and know for a fact you hadn't turned it on once.

My life used to be care-free and easy going.  Life in College is liberating, apartment life was just as much fun, save for the occasional utility bills that hit.  Then, before you know it, you're married, have a 30 year mortgage, working 50+ hours a week and have a 2 year old running around the house.  Now, all of my responsibilities are now making my wants and potential needs secondary.  If I didn't *need* to eat food to survive, I have no doubt my home life would overtake the 15 minute break at night time that is spent inhaling my dinner.

My outlook on life isn't grim, it's just very real at the moment.  Yes, I do get time for "fun", and yes my wife ensures that we all get our fair share of R&R from time to time, it's just that life has a way of ensuring that I don't have much time to be bored, that's all.

So what things do I *need* to do, and feel I need to do?  Well, I *need* to eat, sleep and occasionally shower.  I feel I need to decompress, drink an occasional beer, get some cardio in to work off all the beer, and read.  Of course, these items don't include the every day items of life that also take place, namely attending my job on a daily basis, and spending time with my wife and little girl. 

So with the above items in mind, I've learned that the old plan of action just isn't good enough.  I love to stay up late, but when you chase around a 2 year old after a day at the office, you wear down pretty quickly.  You can't just go home and do what you feel like doing, like just lay on the couch and catch up on Sports Center.  You can't just decide to go for a run, rinse off, then cook dinner in the middle of the week, as by that time its after 7 and the wife is getting more stressed out than usual.

So given my epiphany, my fix is very simple, if you can't beat em.. join em.  If you can't get everyone else in your family to shift their schedules to accomodate your needs and wants, just take advantage of the gaps.  My wife and daughter are typically sleeping when I leave for work each day.  I learned a refreshing method to start my day, to get up early and read.  This little sacrifice just makes so much of a difference on my outlook of my day.  I don't feel like I'm squeezed to take advantage of the few minutes free while my daughter's getting a bath, or that I need to worry about her getting to bed early so I have some free time at night.  In other words, why leave things to chance?  Instead, just knowing that that time in the morning is mine for the taking, go ahead and grab it. 

Need further proof that the answer to more time is less sleep?  Here's a hint, there are no phone calls at 6:30 AM.  There are no text messages asking for favors "when you have 5 minutes" (which you never do).  Getting ready for work is much more fun when you dont squeeze getting ready into a 5 minute window, and it's nice to be able to read the news, weather and sports BEFORE you get to work, not while you're checking email and making a task list for the day.

So if you find yourself squeezed for time, challenge yourself to look for when free time is available.  I don't particularly consider myself a morning person, but I personally realized that it's juvenile and ignorant to think that I can use Saturdays and Sundays as days to "sleep in".  Instead, I can use days and weekends to get an extra 1-1.5 hours in for me, knowing my time with my family is much more guilt-free when I get home, focusing on them rather than focusing on the things I feel I *need* to do.

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