Suzanne left this comment on one of my posts a few days ago, and it made me think:
It just struck me that you seem to to need to each end day feeling it was an action-packed day. Not just a day in which you you accomplished something. But a day for which every waking minute involved something meaningful on your part.
It’s true that I do feel pressure to make my time count. Maybe not every hour, and certainly not every minute, but at least every day. I don’t know how much is Judaism, which stresses the idea of having a mission on earth and not wasting time and how much is a bourgeois sense that time is money, or at least that it’s valuable. It also occurred to me that my experience of CBT might play a part, as it has pushed me down the route for years or even decades of recording and monitoring my activity every day, something that I might try to stop for a bit. And I want to move to a position where I can work more for when E and I get married, so that also pushes me down the route of focusing on squeezing out more productivity.
I do feel that most of my peers are working thirty-five hours or more a week and many have families; the frum (religious) ones are balancing prayer, religious study and other communal and religious commitments. I don’t even work full-time. I work two days a week, and those days are still a little short. So I feel that I need to do more. I do manage to do several things a day, but what I manage to do is mostly three or four hours of stuff, not what a full-time worker with three kids and shul (synagogue) roles would do.
I need to find balance in my life, and that, without any sudden changes in my medication and energy levels, that’s going to have to involve cutting back some activities to allow more time for others. And while internet procrastination is something I would like to cut back a lot, other, more productive activities will probably be cut back too, as procrastination has a habit of creeping in when not wanted. I would like to find more time for fiction writing and novel agent-hunting, both of which I have sorely neglected over the last six months or so, but also to ensure that I relax properly each day. Yesterday I did a few things (sorting papers, Torah study, 5K run), but I did not relax much and when I went to bed I could not sleep despite feeling exhausted. I had to watch an episode of The Simpsons before I could sleep.
I also have a focus on constantly monitoring how near I’m getting to the end of books or TV programmes, and worrying about my To Read list which is probably all unhealthy.
One thing I might stop doing is my hitbodedut spontaneous prayer/meditation. Judaism has three obligatory (for men) set prayer services a day, reading prayers and biblical passages in Hebrew, but for years I have also been doing hitbodedut, which is speaking to God spontaneously in the vernacular. It was important for me in the past, but lately I can’t connect at all through it, whereas my kavannah (usually translated as ‘concentration’, but I prefer ‘mindfulness’) in the set prayers has been somewhat better, so I might focus on those.
I feel like I want to try to cut away some of the deadwood in my life and move forward.