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?


iBo said...

uhm...why were you sitting in your favorite spot in the WC at 314 am?

Katie said...

ha um... I wasn't. That's not even allowed, is it? I wrote most of this at that spot af ew days ago, but didn't post it 'til last night...or this morning. :)

Chan said...

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Sky said...

Hmmm...what were you doing awake at 3:14 am? Keep that up, and you can't lecture me about health rules again. No matter. It's great detail. Loved it. While reading it, I couldn't help but think that it's sad we can't always stay passionately in love with what we do. And how there's always people around us who need us. That fact never goes away. But, also, most of the time, they do fine without us. Life's funny like that. (Sorry. This sounds like a tacky poem.)

Sky said...

Sure, Chan, Sure.

Katie said...

Well yesterday I took a nap and woke up at seven...so I couldn't sleep 'til after three.

So how do you figure out how to balance everything? Or is that just not possible in this life?

Sky said...

I'm curious to see what answers you get on this. I don't know about balance (except I know it's important). I always feel like the fidler on the roof.

Shani said...

Okay, balance is something that's always intrigued/frustrated me. In fact, I wrote a blog-type thing on it once, and got into an interesting discussion with the man I later married. I asked a LOT of questions about different kinds of balance in my first post, but here are a couple of quotes from a bit later in our discussion (these are all from one of my posts, because I can't find his side right now).

"I guess part of the challenge at first is to identify the principles and elements involved, so that you can recognize if you are neglecting one or more. Once you've identified the problem I think it's a bit like when you start to go off the road while driving: don't over-correct! Don't neglect another element by placing all focus on remedying the first problem."

"what is balance today may not be balance tomorrow; though the principles and objects may remain consistent, perhaps their strength has changed."

"I especially like your comment in the tight-rope example about how the ground is not an issue, because it's not what you're using to align yourself. I think sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and off-balanced it's because I'm worrying about the ground (a.k.a. things that are there, but don't really have a bearing on my current situation)."

Anyway, I'm tired, so I'm not sure if those quotes are going to make much sense the way I've presented them, but they sum up some of the things I've decided about balance. I'm still struggling a lot with implementation and actually keeping things balanced... it's even harder now that I have responsibility to my husband as well as myself/school.

danny said...

Katie, it's hard to top what everyone has offered. But I have found one theory that hasn't been proven wrong: always follow the brethren. Try this and let me know what you think. (I've tested it, and it seems to work well.)http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=dd0b8d00422fe010VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

Sky said...

Hey, Danny. Nice article. After reading it myself, I printed it off for the front desk. Perfect. Thank you.

Katie said...

Shannon, I like the concept that it can change from day to day. :)

And Danny, I just finished reading the article today. That does help; thanks. Elder Oaks doesn't really tell us how, he just tells us to do it, and why it's important. I guess it could be a part of faith. So I'll try.

maicher said...

You these things, I have read twice, for me, this is a relatively rare phenomenon!
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