I’ve had an epiphany: I live under the misconception that if I organize every moment of my life on my handy-dandy computer calendar, I’ll find enough time to be a good partner, be a good friend, be a good teacher, and of course, find enough time to write.
As of late, this hasn’t been happening. If anything, my teaching has received the bulk of my time and energy. It simply demands it. Since students and colleagues depend on me on a daily basis, I can’t just ignore them. I don’t want to ignore them. The time I spend in the classroom with students is truly a pleasure (I teach a great bunch of kids), but I have little time to pay attention to other aspects of my life.
Of course, many people feel this way—it’s not just a teacher-writer syndrome—but in those few moments that I’m in the car driving to and from work, I’ve started thinking about why I can’t seem to find a balance between work and home, and work and writing, which brings me happiness instead of compulsive list-making.
Perhaps, it’s just a personality flaw. I refuse let go of the notion that I can do it all. Perhaps, it’s my approach. I just need to be be less organized and take each day as it comes. But even as I write that, I find myself reeling at the tendency for chaos in the world around me. I desire to bang order into things, which I believe is one of the chief impulses that drives me as a writer. That is, to capture expressive moments, but give them order and meaning . . . which I hope will lead to understanding and empathy in my future readers. As nice as it sounds, I’ll never be able to live totally in the present.
There is something that brings me comfort, though. One time, years ago, when I was grumbling about something or other, my mother told me: “Who ever said we were suppose to be happy.” Of course, that sounds pessimistic, but it does take the pressure off. I still want greater balance in my life, but I don’t have to feel like a failure because I haven’t achieved it yet. It’s okay. You’re supposed to be a little frustrated, a little grumpy, a little tired—maybe, at times, it’s even a good thing.