What is important?

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I often worry about priorities and what is important in life.  I make to-do lists; I get frustrated with myself when I don’t accomplish what I have deemed to be reasonable (and usually isn’t); I worry about little, minute details of life; I stress about almost everything.  What does all that worry and stress and driven perfectionism accomplish?  Do I actually think that I am always doing what is important?

No.

In fact, I often feel like I have wasted my days.  For instance, I spent almost three hours in Target this morning agonizing over the purchase of some baby clothes.  Three hours!  Are those clothes that important?  Definitely not.  But I certainly acted like they were.  I spent 1/8 of my day worrying about them.  I made them that important rather than focusing on things that are truly important (not the fifty-six cents I saved by using my 10% off coupon and carefully selecting the ideal baby dress).

However, rather than beat myself up about it any more than I already have, I found this quote.

This helped me realize that while I consciously have decided that I waste time stressing and worrying and being a perfectionist, I unconsciously have decided that those activities are important because I spend my life doing them.  However, this is something that I want to change.  I want to relax and be more flexible and spontaneous.  And I want to enjoy my life more, after all, I am exchanging part of my life for everything that I do, so I should make it worthwhile.

Writing

I haven’t been particularly faithful to writing recently.  Part of it has to do with not having internet access at home.  Part of it has to do with laziness and insecurity – sometimes I just don’t feel like I’m a writer at all, let alone a good writer.  And part of it has to do with writer’s block.  I simply don’t know what to say.

Or do I?

Over dinner, John, a friend, and I discussed writer’s block… yes, we are all nerds.  My friend made an interesting point… if we are discussing something we are interested in, we never ever have talker’s block.  So why do we have writer’s block?  Why not just write the thoughts we have?

Honestly, I don’t just write my thoughts because I want to be a perfect writer.  I’m such a perfectionist that I inhibit myself.  I really should try to get over that.  And this blog will be the space in which I try to do so.  Hence this post actually.

So while I’m still not committing to writing daily, I will try to write more frequently.  I do have a few good rants/thoughts/subjects that I’m contemplating on life, work, and people.  That pretty much encompasses just about everything now, doesn’t it?  I’ll leave you to speculate for now…

On Rough Drafts

I am a senior in college studying English Literature, which means that my major consists of reading, extreme analysis, and then writing about it.  I don’t take too many tests, but I do write quite a few papers.  And, like a typical English major, I usually procrastinate on writing my papers until late the night before they are due.  Or even the days before they are due.  At my worst moments, hours before I am to hand in a paper analyzing some text through a theoretical lens, printing it off just in time to head to class.  The blessing and curse of the situation is that I can get away with it.  I have never had to put more effort into a paper, so I don’t.  My work is quality and earns me decent grades.  Why fix something that works?

Recently, I had a week away from my ‘normal’ life because I didn’t get to see my best friend.  Needless to say, I was quite bored.  And for the first time ever, I decided to give the concept of the rough draft a try.  I had the time; the concept seriously intrigued me.  I was fascinated by the idea.  So, I outlined a paper over a week and a half before it was due.  A detailed outline, complete with page numbers for quotes supporting my argument.  Then I left it alone.  Now old habits die hard, so yesterday morning, I returned to my outline and decided to freewrite a rough draft – to let my thoughts and words just spew all over the page without any organization whatsoever.  I had planned to return to my rough draft last night to write the final draft in typical late night before English major fashion.  However, I found myself exhausted and slightly sick, so I decided sleep was in order and procrastinated on my final draft until this morning at 7 am – 4.5 hours before it was due.  It was very much less stressful to complete my final draft because I had put so much work into it already.  And I found that my thoughts were much more clearly organized.  Spewing words yesterday helped me identify themes, as well as pointless detail that I could eliminate – essential given the fact that I had a strict page limit and list of topics I was to cover within the narrow 4-5 page limit.  I actually finished the paper, within the narrow confines of the page limit, approximately an hour and a half before it was due without stressing out about it at all.  I have decided that the rough draft is a very beneficial idea; I regret being so doggedly stubborn in my insistence to avoid it in the past.  My work could potentially be better – something I would greatly delight in.  My curiosity has led to quite the discovery and further intrigue.  How will my work in the future improve if I choose to write rough drafts?  I suppose only time will tell…