Priorities and Time

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, organic chemistry lab book open on top of my biochemistry lab book, which is (as of yet) unopen. I have work to do – midterms to study for, lab reports to write up (as evidenced), a room to clean. My dishes from breakfast are undone in the sink. I need to do groceries. I’d like to go for a run. At least the laundry’s done.

A few more minutes tick away, and I’m no further along. I’m bored – the mechanism of a heartbeat is too wordy, information on organocopper synthesis from alkynes too scant, and for some reason I’m still stalling on the research I need to do on G75, a gel-filtration chromatography matrix – and being bored is one of the worst things in the world. I feel like I have the entire day to work (a rare happening courtesy of a day off my schedules part-time job), and that much unstructured time has me sitting unproductively, to say the least.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who stares down into the abyss of a seemingly endless amount of time and feels that there’s both entirely too much of it and, paradoxically, not enough of it at all. In a morning, ideally, I’d wake up, meditate, have breakfast, get dressed, wash my face, do my makeup, make my bed, make a plan for the day, and head out. I’ve done two of those things thus far.

These are little things – trivial, but they make me feel grounded. Right now, I don’t feel too grounded. In my attempt to get to the pressing matters, I let those little things go for a time. I think it’s time to re-prioritize them, because I can guarantee that I could have taken that half hour to do all those things and be just as – if not more – far along in the work I need to do. 

It’s finding – or making – the time. Accepting that maybe, just maybe, there isn’t time. Not for everything. I can’t always be a sister-friend-girlfriend-athlete-student-employee-volunteer. Not all of those things all at once, anyways. I could study everything I’m interested in, get degrees in kinesiology and biochemistry and modern languages and concert piano, but then I’d never develop a career – and that’s something I want more than just about anything right now. The building of a career is what gets me up at six in the morning to rush off to school and study; it’s what keeps me reading my textbooks on the long bus rides home and working on my assignments until the small hours of the morning, only to finally crawl exhausted into bed to another night of too little sleep. Rinse, repeat.

I love it, I really do – this mayhem and madness and the building of stress and the inevitable relief of the coming down, the rare mornings such as this one where I can sleep in to my leisure (7:45!) and enjoy a quiet breakfast alone over my (mostly untouched) lab assignments before my family wakes up and the day begins in earnest.

I don’t have time to do everything. I’m still trying to find the right balance of work-play-quiet – at the moment, the whole thing is heavily skewed toward the “work” aspect, but that’s student life de facto. Today, I’ll finish my two lab reports and hopefully have a much better understanding of the cardiovascular system – and tomorrow, a new day begins.

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