I have talents. I do. Everyone does, really-- some are brilliant at math, some are musical or athletic or artistic.
I have always felt like my giftings were less tangible than most peoples'-- things like being a good listener or asking great questions (not the kind of things that get you college scholarships). I have always been a dismal failure at sports-- in fact, I am fairly certain that I have never, in my life, run an entire mile (and probably won't, unless chased by some hyper-determined killer). My math skills are down right humiliating, and even the thought of spending money in another country, calculating an exchange rate in my head (all that multiplying & dividing and subtracting! Kill me now.) puts me into a cold sweat. I persevered years of orchestra classes only to be hidden at the back of the viola section, and although I appreciate art, I've never really been able to create it on my own.
Now, I am content with the fact that I will never be a winning track athlete, or a rock star (or even a karaoke participant), but there is one area of weakness-- something that has plagued me my entire life-- that I have high hopes of changing. If you are related to me in any way, you should sit down before reading on... My goal, my bright & shining star out on the horizon, is Time Management.
Tardiness is a chronic illness in my life. That feeling of anxiety, guilt, shame & frustration while rushing off to some appointment 15 minutes late is an old friend of mine. My poor husband is well versed in the routine of pulling the car out of the garage and patiently waiting in the driveway while I frantically throw together everything I need for the day. He's even been known to make my lunch for me, on a particularly bad morning. And, I confess that I don't know how our church service begins, because in our 4+ years of living in San Francisco, I'm pretty sure we've never made it on time. Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest.
One reason I believe that Change is possible is that, because of some strange alignment of the stars, I spent an entire summer arriving early. Gasp. I honestly don't know what happened, but during our 4 weeks of training in Colorado this summer, Chris & I woke up every morning, hopped on our bikes (okay, some mornings I made us drive), rode to campus, and arrived a full 10-15 minutes early for class-- saving a table for our friends, preparing tea/coffee, and getting out our notes. There was no incentive-- no roll being called, or public humiliation for tardiness, but for some reason, it happened once and so I know it can happen again.
The key, I believe, to recreating that miracle (permanently) is to set up a morning routine. I know, it sounds simple, but it's so much more complicated that it seems. If I could, I would wake up early every morning, take the dog for a walk, work out, make & eat breakfast, read & pray, shower, make my lunch, and be ready to go by 9am. I think I would have to wake up at 4 to make that happen. The other problem is that Chris & I share the tiniest of space in our apartment, and it always seems like I want to do kick boxing at the exact same time (and place) that he wants to pray & quietly reflect. On top of that, the parks near our house are literally locked before 8am, meaning that my dog-walking time is limited.
Since coming back from my miraculously time-efficient summer, I've tried a few methods of starting my mornings, all to no avail. But I am determined. I have never been big on New Year's Resolutions-- they always seemed so arbitrary. But I have tasted the sweetness of a life well-organized (granted, I had no dog, apartment, responsibilities, or the clutter of everyday life to bog me down, but that's beside the point), and I am convinced of its reality. As we start off a new school year (our lives revolve around the Semester schedule), I have high hopes for a fresh start.
Tonight, Chris & I sat down and made a little refrigerator chart of our weekly activities & goals. We have post-it notes with priorities like Date Nights, Having Dinner with Friends, Praying Together, etc. written on each post-it, and we plug in our priorities according to our weekly schedule. We even came up with incentives, giving ourselves little perks as we achieve our goals.
Our hope is as we organize our evenings, prioritize rest, order and connection over vegging in front of the TV or leaving the dirty dishes until morning, other things (like morning routines) can fall into place a little easier. Of course, we actually have to stick to our little plan to make all of this the smashing success that I am anticipating.
But maybe a smashing success is too much to ask for. I would settle for getting out the door on time, with clothes that fit, a non-neurotic dog, a soul that's centered, and cell phone in hand. Wish me luck-- I'll need it.; because even though timeliness may not be one of my talents, it's something I can at least practice. Hopefully it won't be as painful as practicing the viola.