Ever find yourself needing extra hours in the day? Begin the week already behind? Constantly feel overwhelmed? Then like me, you probably suffer from poor time-management skills and overachiever tendencies.
As Founding Father Benjamin Franklin stressed, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Every moment in life is precious, so rushing through it is de-valuing the worth of the moment.
At the beginning of my college career, I wanted to tackle this issue. I felt that I was constantly rushing through life, checking off boxes and so worried about the future that I missed the importance of the little things in life. Nonetheless, the harder I tried to focus on the moment, the more out of control my schedule seemed.
Recently, I read Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s book, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To take Control of Your Life.” The book explains how to set boundaries with other people and create a healthy schedule.
Even Jesus had boundaries, so Christians especially should embrace this concept. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book. Whether or not you relate to having a crazy schedule, I think the book is still beneficial for everyone. The book describes how to focus on ourselves so we can better assist others.
As Christians, it is okay to say no to others/events and save time for ourselves. Last spring, I had the amazing opportunity of studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain. I absolutely loved my experience. The beautiful culture was filled with life and energy, the people were very welcoming, I had a wonderful church family and the bread was incredible (I ate way too much; like Oprah, I love my bread).
The part I enjoyed most about Spain was the community-focused culture. A common greeting consisted of huge warm smiles, besos (kisses), and an “¡Hola guapa!” (hello beautiful). The local Spaniard women at my school were very motherly (one time I forgot my umbrella and got completely soaked from the rain. Two of the staff members gave me a hair dryer to dry my hair and even a change of clothes and shoes).
As I walked the streets every day, I got to experience the lively people gathering together and just having fun. No one really rushed through life.
In fact, Sevilla even prioritized siesta time. Every day from 2 – 6 p.m., all shops and schools closed for lunch and a time of rest.
Families often ate a huge lunch around the kitchen table, wrapped themselves up in their table blankets to be cozy and stayed and chatted for a while. The rest time enabled families to grow closer together and allowed individuals to refresh. I actually felt more productive having this break; siesta time is a necessity.
When COVID hit last March, I was torn away from my Spanish family. I was frustrated with the circumstances and devastated that my time had been stolen from me. Despite my anger, I am thankful for different aspects of the pandemic. I learned to value relationships with others and to focus on the moment.
When we become consumed with future plans and checking off lists in life, we are overlooking the worth of our experiences today. As father of economics Adam Smith preached, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
For other enneagram type threes like me, I encourage you to not spread yourself out too thin. With COVID, I think we all have some fear of missing out.
A year ago I was torn away from my Spanish family. A year ago I could not see any friends. I took so many things for granted and was always stressed about how to plan for the future or build up my resume. So stressed that I did not focus on living in the moment.
So, I encourage readers of this column to heed the moment. Try to avoid rushing to class; Enjoy the walk and weather. No matter how busy you get, never forget to call family members and friends.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so maybe it is time to heal that tension with your mom or sibling. Make the most of today, and never forget that it is your life; We all need time for ourselves. Trust me. Why rush through life and miss out on enjoying it?