Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The time I'm running out of

So here's practically how my day goes everyday:

I'd commute to the office every morning with train. In the train, I'd plug my ears with earphone and occupy my mind by reading my Google reader or catching up with latest news of the day through Twitter. While listening to the songs in my ear and reading all the news and articles, I'd start imagining myself getting off the train, chasing for a bus, sitting in there, getting off of it, walking to the building where my office is located, and I'd start thinking of whether I'd drink tea or coffee this morning, I'd start recollecting the taste of each, considering which would be the most proper for that morning. Sometimes, the train of thought would be cut off for a brief moment with the realization of the sight of trees running backwards or the roof of the houses that we're passing. For that brief moment I'd think, it's not the best sight in the world but it's lovely anyway, never fails to brighten my day. And then the train of thought resume with more and more tasks and plans for the day. 

When sitting on the bus, though it had been carefully pictured in my mind earlier that I'd keep listening to the songs played in my iPod along with some interventions from the street singers creating a nonsense unintelligible sounds in my ears, I'd do something else too. I'd pondering on whether to read a book or continue checking up  Twitter, which I usually end up doing both, interchangeably.

I'd watch the cars and motorcycles passing by next to me, and think maybe I'd better stop multitasking and just enjoy the sight for a while. I never really give much thought about why the sight of traffic can be something to be enjoy. While watching the busy traffic, my mind would start wandering around the office, at my cubicle to be precise. I'd thinking about turning the computer on, entering password, and while waiting for the computer to log on I think I'd go to the toilet to clean myself up, going to the office's pantry, searching for my mug in the cupboard, making myself a cup of coffee, and walked back to my desk with the computer already logged on.

Isn't it amazing that by the time I am there, sitting at my desk with the computer already logged on and ready to start the work, I'd think of  how this day would end. I'd type words and numbers, working on the report or whatever it is I'm working on, while thinking of what to read on my way home. I'd look outside the window and find a beautiful sight of drizzling rain and would start taking pictures, editing it, and posting it on Streamzoo. All the while thinking of drawing the pictures, wondering whether to just using MyPaint or coloring pencils. 

By the time I got on the bus for a two-hours trip going home, I don't only read what I have sort of planned earlier back in the office, but I also busy multitasking between checking my inbox, reading at least two pages of a book, and staring at the traffic outside.

I'm actually pretty busy aren't I? :D

Sometimes at such moment I'd think, I have to choose to do only one of these or I'd get home dead tired. And actually, I was tired already. So I'd usually end up plastering my face to the window, watching the traffic, or staring at the sky if it's not dark yet. It felt so relieving, actually. To sit still in silence, doing nothing, thinking of nothing, only silence occupy your head.  But it's hard to keep though. My mind has this tendency to think and over think everything and it's really difficult to tell it to be quiet. During the noisy conversation, I'd think of writing them down. It's been a good therapy for me actually. Only sometimes, I'd get too far by thinking of the opening sentences, what to focus, what to highlight, any pictures I could use, or perhaps I'd just draw something.

And believe me, when I finally draw something, while moving the pencil on my sketch book, my mind would wander around other things like what to draw after this, what about the previous idea I had in mind, when will I have time to draw them, should I buy another set of coloring pencils so I wouldn't have to use my daughters', and creating a plan for the upcoming weekend where I'd have my quiet time drawing. Or perhaps going to a book store to buy some stationery. Speaking of which, what about the books in my wish list. Or even, the books I haven't finished reading. And I'd start to mentally groan in frustration, oh so many things I want to do yet so little time. 

Thinking about it, actually I have managed to crammed quite a lot of things in my time. Aside from working nine to five, I still manage to read books and articles in my Google reader, update my blog, drawing, editing some photos, updating my Deviantart and Flickr, catching up with friends once in a while through Twitter and Facebook, having a conversation during dinner with my Mom and my daughter, and quite enough sleep. 

But why do I keep feeling like I don't have enough time? 

I always recognize the feeling of a meltdown. It usually happens when I don't have enough time with myself. Being an introvert, I now know that I was never made for a noisy life, and even if I have to live one, I know I'd have to set at least two hours every day to be alone to recharge, to release all the tensions that were built during the eight hours of interaction with other people. If I don't set aside some time for myself, I'd have the meltdown phase, and it could be very nasty. 

Now I've managed to squeeze a little time here and there to do things I want. But something is missing. Something is lacking. Something that feels clearer when it's late at night, when all the world is sleeping, and I'm close to sleeping either that I never really find out what is it because I'd fall asleep not long after, physically tired and mentally exhausted for the reason I don't understand. I have time to do things I like. Why should I feel exhausted?

Only recently I realized, that I don't set quite enough time to be with myself. I've been cramming my usual quiet time with too many activities. And while I think that might be a good thing, I have to question my motive as well. I think it started to become a problem when I start setting target like reading at least two pages of a book, drawing at least one in a week, posting at least three photos in a day, and so on. 

While target is important, and I know that I have to keep at least one blog post per day for the sake of keep writing and keep my sanity intact, I might have been violating the purpose of quiet time by cramming it with not only too many things, but also target to be accomplished. If my daily life at work has already full of targets and deadlines, perhaps I should not use the same principles with my quiet time. I might have violated the quiet time by doing things I like with the wrong spirit behind it. 

Things you like, they should be done with love, with the right amount of caring and gentleness, and less ambitions. I should stop filling up my sketch book every week and learn to let go, leave a sketch half finished when I feel exhausted, and visit it again next week. I have to learn to move on with another topic or another draft instead of forcing myself to struggle with one draft that is so difficult to finish. I now think that the reason it gets that difficult to finish is perhaps because my heart was not there, not at that time. 

Committing to finish the work is one thing. But I need to learn to choose. I can't do everything all at once. Well, maybe I can, but I'd loose the present time; the time I'm  having but ignoring by being too busy thinking and planning about the next time. The present time I'd failed to enjoy for having too focus on the result. I'd missed the joyful times feeling the pencil moving on the paper, watching the color filling up the white space inches by inches together with the movement of my hands. I'd missed the joyful times of playing with ideas, the process of unveiling thoughts and untying them into a form of sentences, the excitement of swimming with words, stringing them up one by one into sentences, watching my thoughts turning itself into a previously unknown form as the sentences progress into paragraphs.

I've read this article about a relentless mind and what to do with it. I think that's just what I've been having all this time. 

I was going home from work yesterday, feeling slightly heavy on my head and still tired of an emotional breakdown two days earlier. The commuter bus has high windows so the sights are limited to tree tops and clouds in the sky. I stared blankly at the sky at first, mind wandering to the news and articles I was planning to read but failed to because exhaustion took over me. Then the sight of the clouds rolled up, forming some kind of white soft tower in the sky started to get into me. I was amazed by how grand the sky is, how beautiful the clouds are, and how little yet so blessed I am to be sitting witnessing this miracle of the universe. I felt so happy and grateful, so much that I keep smiling even when I had to walk under the rain that suddenly pouring. 

It was one of my blissful quiet moments and actually, it's not that difficult to find. If only I let myself to be mindful, emptying my mind from all the thoughts of the next time, let quietness takes over, fully absorbing all the sights and the sounds around me in precious silence, wholeheartedly experiencing the now.

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