I’m sitting in my favorite spot in the writing center—in the green chair on the left side, across from the blue one. No one else is here. My backpack is sitting on the floor where I dropped it, filled with textbooks, pencils and paper. I should be doing my homework, but it’s so quiet, and my mind pops and fizzles with everything that’s going on in my life.
I have no motivation to start my homework, and I can’t settle my mind, so I decide to straighten the chairs. One hand on the wooden backs, I push them forward until they knock against the tables. All obsessive-compulsively pushed in, I realize I need to write it all out. The following is a rough draft of what my mind spilled out that night, channeled through the keyboard and plastered on this screen.
I figured out tonight that one of my hardest challenges I have (and will have) is choosing between the temporal things that don’t really matter but demand so much of my time, and the things that really do matter—that would have an eternal consequence, but seem harder to take time out for. Or, rather, effectively prioritizing.
The things that matter—that REALLY matter—in this life I tend to pass by because I ‘don’t have time’ for them. Why? School…and something more. I don’t know exactly. But it’s hard. Little aunt Kathy’s on bed-rest with her seventh child—shouldn’t I forget my homework and go help her? Grandma’s recovering from eye surgery—shouldn’t I visit with her, instead of study at the library? Mom forgot she was filling the bucket with water to feed the dogs and flooded the kitchen—shouldn’t I stop fretting about my grades and just drive down to help her? Mari says she’s lonely—how about putting my Spanish dictionary away and, instead of text-telling her everything will be okay, doing something with her? Yes, I should; but I don’t. I know the ‘right’ answers. I don’t know if I want those. I’ve had them; my priorities remain the same.
School consumes me and therefore my time. (What is time to tell me I have or don’t have it to accomplish all that needs to be done?) I enjoy learning, but am frustrated with the system. What trivial things grades are, and yet they’re powerful. Powerful enough to capture and confine my focus to its exhausting purpose. I put school first. What is the iron-invisible hold school work/grading has on me? I don’t have an answer this time. Yes, this may seem trivial, but it is real.
Am I alone in this one?