Living Deliberately

I have a couple of very dear friends who don’t engage in small talk. Of course they’ll ask you how you are, but they aren’t content when you say, “Oh, I’m just fine.” No, they want to know exactly what makes you “fine.” They’ll follow up their question with things like “How’s your marriage?” or “What has God been teaching you lately?” or “Are you happy with your life right now?”

This is not a couple that you go for casual drinks with or chat about weekend plans with. You’d better find a comfy couch because this conversation is going to go deep.

And it’s wonderful. And exhausting.

I’ve often asked my husband how they live with themselves (in the most good-natured way, I swear!) during one of our very casual chats as we feed the kids or make dinner or watch television. It must be so tiring to be so focused all the time, to live so deliberately.

Now that Eggs has been born, I’ve been wanting to get into a routine. I need some consistency in my life. And not just that, but I want to get back into some of my old habits like writing more frequently, reading more books, and playing the piano. And, as I’m reminded every time I see a mirror, I have a desperate need to lose some (read: a lot of) weight. But how do people have time for that? If I added all those activities I wanted to do, when would I sleep? Or eat? There’s just so little time during the day and I have two kids to raise.

So I took a day to see where my time went. Almost like looking over your monthly bank statement to see where you spend your money. And I didn’t like what I found.

I slept for an average of about 7 hours a day, which is pretty amazing considering I have a new baby and a toddler.

I spent about two hours a day feeding Eggs a bottle. Monkey was a little less time since he eats three meals a day with Brian and I. Plus he can feed himself snacks that I provide.

I take a bath every night that lasts about 45 minutes.

Monkey and Eggs’ bedtime routines take about an hour.

And obviously there is play time with the boys.

But what about between all of that stuff? Clearly there are more hours in the day than what I am accounting for. Oh. My phone. Social media eats up all the time in between my activities. I have a couple of minutes so I scroll through my Facebook feed. Once I’ve seen everything there is to see there, I head over to Twitter. Then Tumblr. Then Instagram. By that point, there’s gotta be something new on Facebook so I start the cycle again. Suddenly, an hour has passed by and I’ve accomplished nothing.

So I decided to take a page from my friends’ book: to live more deliberately. This doesn’t mean that I won’t touch social media. Our world is too interconnected and I’d miss out on too much if I avoided it at all, but I vowed to not make it the default action if I have a quiet moment. I’ve only been at it for about two weeks. And what has changed?

I’ve spent a couple of hours on the piano trying to remember how to play again. This has led me to commit to playing at church every couple of months, which is a bit nerve wracking since I haven’t done any performing in about 7 years.

I’ve been reading the Liveship Traders Series by Robin Hobb. I’ve finished the first two books and am working on the third. Doesn’t sound like much until you see that each book is about 900 pages. You can get a lot of reading done if you choose to pick up a book instead of your phone.

I’ve started working out. 20-30 minutes of yoga or 15 hard minutes on my recumbent bike a day. I know that’s not much, but seriously, I haven’t gotten off my butt in years. In my last weigh in (on Monday), I lost 4 pounds.

And I’ve spent some time baking, something that I’ve found a new love for since I had kids.

It’s been wonderful. There is more time in the day than I ever thought. I’m embarrassed that I spent an entire year just wasting time. I knew I was wasting that time, but I was waiting until Brian got home from work so he could help me with the overwhelming job of parenting. Or I was waiting until the weekend when I was sure to have some company. I wasted time to make it pass more quickly and I didn’t think that I could use that time to do something useful. Shame on me.

Do you fall into this same trap as I do? Does social media steal your days away? What do you do to stop yourself from living passively?

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