self-taught time management and a line from a book I lost.
This week, I rearranged my room and moved my bed next to the window. My desk was next to the window before, but I realized that I never sit at my desk. I’m not sure I have ever sat at my desk. I’m not sure why I even own a desk. I sit on my bed to read, to write, to watch Netflix—even to eat, which happens more often than I’d like to admit. That’t the thing about living alone— there is no one to walk upstairs and see you eating Frosted Flakes at 2:00 in the afternoon and ask in surprise/disgust, “Are you eating breakfast?!” Yes, this has happened before. There is also the sad realization that no one will know you rearranged your room or got up at a decent hour to make yourself a brunch of lemon crepes and caramel coffee unless you post it on Instagram.
I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately, because I had two days off this week. Being a nanny means that sometimes you get two days off because you simply “aren’t needed,” regardless of the fact that you want/need the money for those two days. Because all of my friends work “real” full-time jobs, I found myself doing things like getting my hair cut and changing lightbulbs. And moving furniture. All by myself (!) I also took my car in to get a new battery and an oil change, because my last week had been full of the drama that anyone with an old car battery feels during Michigan January. This drama includes walking out of the grocery store and looking around wondering “Who here would I ask to jump my car for me?” This is followed immediately by a quick prayer at the wheel and (hopefully) the relief of an engine roaring to life. Except for when it doesn’t start, and you call someone to come and help you, because you don’t want to talk to strangers.
I eventually did take my car in to the shop, and laughed when I asked the mechanic if I could pay with a debit card, and he responded by telling me they take “anything but your first born child.” Later, I remembered the car seat in the back of my car (I’m a nanny to a three-year-old) and realized the man thought I actually had a child to sacrifice, if need be. I decided not to correct him in hopes that maybe he would give me a discount for being a single mother. (I was once dating someone who called a car repair shop for me and somehow got my quote lower by saying he was my fiancé.)
It’s been four days, and my rearranged room still feels amazing. I’m not sure why. It could be the bed by the window, or it could just be the change. It makes me feel like I am in a new environment, and sleeping in a new place has been a life-long love of mine. Hence my love of sleepovers and hotels. Isn’t that what is so wonderful about traveling? I know that seeing famous buildings and museums, and eating new foods is very exciting, but what about the thrill of waking up to a smell you don’t recognize, and having to look out the window to remember what is there? I am not a fan of change in the way some people are. I don’t dye my hair blue or dream of having a life where I am in a new country every month. However, I do need a new running route, a new band to follow, a new coffee flavor, a new set of sheets, a new project, even a new friend every so often. My mother always said she could never live anywhere without four seasons, and I completely agree. Nothing makes my heart lighter than the change that comes with those first few warm days of spring, especially after a Michigan winter of frozen car batteries. I can’t wait to feel the first warm freeze from my bed by the window.
It’s a new year, and maybe that is why I am thinking about change. I think that new years divide people into two categories: resolvers and reminiscers. I am not a resolver. I made one of those photo-a-day albums for 2012 and spent hours making sure the photos were captioned and in the correct order. My only resolution is to be more thankful for the here and now, which is the resolution of a reminiscer. I often find myself having conversations such as this:
me: Man, I miss our badminton class!
friend: No you don’t, you hated that class.
me: I did hate it…
In order to stop missing days gone by/worrying myself sick about the future (another hobby of mine), I should probably rearrange my life a little bit. Unfortunately, rearranging my time and my days is not as easy as rearranging my bedroom furniture. If only I could say, “This week I am going to go to church on Thursday and Founders on Saturday!” or “Today I am going to have fried chicken for breakfast and oatmeal for dinner” and it had the same effect as a night away in a hotel. (Wait–can’t you have fried chicken for breakfast at Chic-Fil-A?)
I once had a book on writing by Annie Dillard. I left it in a hotel. This was unfortunate, because I had a lot of it underlined, and it also because it belonged to my Dad (sorry, Dad.) Regardless, it’s gone now and I only remember one sentence:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
What a zinger, right?
When I reminisce about 2013, I don’t want to think of a life of naps or Netflix or even a life of running. Don’t we want our days to combine to form a life of laughter, a life of learning, a life of nature, a life of love? This is not to say anyone should eliminate pleasures such as television and Facebook and sleeping in on Saturdays. My T.V. shows bring me laughter and my social media connects me with the people I love. I just need to do some rearranging. It might be hard to shove a love of sleeping in out of the way to make room for early morning coffee with a friend, but experience tells me I will feel absolutely feel refreshed afterwards, and not missing my bed or 2:00 pm Frosted Flakes at all.