Finding the Time

I envy myself. The high school version of myself. Looking back, there were so many more hours in a day. School from 7:20 until 2:45 (at least, I think it was 2:45). Then rehearsals for whatever play I was involved in, work, and yet I still had time to watch television, hang out with my friends, read and/or write, and do my homework (when I decided to do it) because life in Waukesha, Wisconsin stops at 9pm. Restaurants and stores close, and people settle in for the night. I’d go to bed around midnight and the cycle would repeat.

In college, it became more apparent that I needed to actually manage my time because, on occasion, I ran out of it. I’d run from class to work, then back to class, then back to work, maybe make dinner, and then run out for a meeting of some sort. I was busy, but I still had time to write, read for fun (or maybe that was me just ignoring assignments like reading HEART OF DARKNESS for the sixth time), bake, and spend time with my roommates.

As an adult with a real job, I often find myself wondering when I’ll be able to fit certain things into my new life. I live in New York City, arguably the most exciting place in the world, and yet there is still so much of it I haven’t seen. I work two blocks south of Central Park and I haven’t even set foot inside it. I haven’t been to any of the museums, haven’t seen the new World Trade Center site, haven’t been to the top of the Empire State Building, or seen a Broadway musical. I haven’t been writing much, and up until recently, I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t just a fledgling manuscript. Life in New York is fast, and the day is over before you know it. There have been plenty of times where I’ve come home, ate dinner, then looked at the clock and wondered where the hell my day went.

But you know what I’m learning? I’m learning to find the time. I’ve started to set aside a half an hour every night where all I do is write. Right now I’m not really sure what I’m writing, as I recently realized it might be time to put a hold on my dystopians and pull out one of my other projects, but at the very least I’ve been spending a half hour dealing with my own writing. I try to do one new thing a weekend, be it visiting a new part of the city, or trying a restaurant someone suggested.

Most importantly, I’ve found the time to read for fun. When I lived in DC, I could not, for the life of me, read on the train. Every time I attempted it I’d get motion sickness, and then would feel crappy for the rest of the day. Somehow, I don’t have that problem in New York. And since my commute is the better part of an hour, that’s nearly 120 minutes a day that I can spend knocking out my TBR pile. Sure, there are some days where the train is so crowded I can’t move, let alone get out my book, but the satisfaction of finishing something — especially a book — never goes away.

So maybe my life’s a little busy. Maybe I’m still working on my time management. But I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely, I’m working my way through edits, through books, and through the city. Yeah, I wish there were 30 hours in a New York day (oh my god, imagine the amount of things I could get done in six extra hours!), but I’m getting better at fitting everything into 24.

Although I have to admit I now have the sleeping habits of a 90 year old. I guess there’s a downside to everything.

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5 thoughts on “Finding the Time

  1. I so know what you mean. It doesn’t seem to get better. It’s actually up to us to get better at time management, but sometimes I feel like it’s moving faster than I’m learning… :\ Which is why I’m quite happy I made the decision to quit my job, so I can finally dedicate all my time to school. And writing. And reading. And family. And friends. And activism. And… oh my, it never stops, does it?

    Sometimes it’s time to have a plan. I’m going to make myself a planner and stick to it.

    Anyways, good luck with your new life! And let us know if you have any more tricks that help you make time. πŸ˜‰

    1. Honestly, I would die without my planner. I keep one for work, and one for me, and it’s the only way I can keep my life straight. But it works!

  2. You basically just described my life above. In high school I would get home at 6:30 from swim practice and every single night I was in bed by 9–by NINE!!–and managed to get everything done and some writing squeezed in (usually during study hall). I totally envy high school me.

    With my new life as a real person with a job in publishing, I have no time. Part of this is due to the 1.5 hour driving commute, similar to your trek though I totally wish I could take the train, but I’ve made it pleasant, at least. I listen to audiobooks and finish at least one a week, so I’ve been feeling well-read lately. And I’m making my hour lunch break a power hour of writing. I actually finished a story this week and submitted it somewhere, so I’m feeling super proud. Though, super exhausted at the same time.

    Hope things are going well and that we don’t both burn out!

    1. Commute time really is invaluable! I’d never get any personal reading done if I didn’t have to sit on a train for ten hours a week. But I’m thinking I may start getting audiobooks too. Excellent idea!

      Good luck not burning out! I think we’ll be just fine πŸ™‚

      1. I have found that audiobooks are extremely expensive and are incredibly less expensive when borrowed electronically from the local library. Not sure if NYC public library has a similar program, but perhaps worth the investigation.

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