Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Losing Sight of the Good Stuff

To a certain extent, I've removed a lot of the fun from my life on purpose. I don't mean that to say that I don't have fun or don't have an enjoyable life, but I spend a lot of my time focusing on "productive" activities and what's an efficient or effective use of my time instead of simply enjoying whatever it is I'm doing. If something is not productive in some way, then it's a waste of time. That's been my frame of mind in my adult life and it's been slowly hurting me.

When I first moved to Tacoma, I was faced with a new realization that my adult life and "grown-up" job leaves me a lot less time than graduate school did. After work, I have 5 hours of usable time before I am in bed preparing for the next day. Compared to my previous 16 hours of usable time when I was in graduate school and not occupied by a set work schedule, this was a huge change of pace.

I find myself now wanting to spend the majority of my time being productive. This could mean either exercising, practicing music, or in a faith-development scenario. These are all good things, even great things, but they're not always fun. Forcing myself to practice or exercise takes it from the realm of being a fun activity to being a chore.

I'd compare this shift to the deconstruction of a smoothie. When you are making a healthy smoothie at home, the most popular ingredients are not only spinach and kale for green leafy vegetables, but also any sort of berry, bananas, and yogurt to make it not only healthy but tasty. When you start breaking these things down, yogurt and berries are still good, but not even as good as the vegetables. Have you tasted kale by itself, though? It's not necessarily my favorite food, unless I'm really in the mood for construction paper.

What's happened in my life is a deconstruction of this smoothie. I force myself to eat nothing but kale and spinach because that's what the "healthy" choice is. If it weren't for the berries, though, or the pizza or the french fries in our lives, we may not enjoy eating at all. In the same sense, I've removed "unproductive" things from my life, like watching movies, because they seem like an inefficient use of time. If I'm watching a movie, I'm not reading or practicing or exercising, so it must be a waste of quality time. But how am I supposed to enjoy LIVING if I'm not indulging in the berries and yogurt that makes the spinach palatable?

It's time to get selfish, take time to myself, watch movies, have an interesting conversation with a friend, or just read an article about sports. Either way, it's time to bring back the imagination that's been missing from my real world life.


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  2. I've struggled with this too. I've broken it down into categories of being a consumer or being a creator. I want to create (life, art, friendships, inspiration, purpose, etc) and I don't want to consume (entertainment, technology, time, etc). I think consumption is a big part of our world and culture...It's hard, because we're called to live in this world...but what if this world is too busy consuming and not striving to be like our Creator?