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January 2010
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A Running Start on the New Year

I made a list of the things I want to get done this month. It was enough stuff for two months. I looked at the list and felt a deep desire to get some of it done quickly, to knock it out in the first week of the month so that the rest of the month is more relaxed. The desire is familiar. Each week I bury Monday under a list of things that I want to have out of the way for the rest of the week. I looked at my list again and realized that I’ve kind of done the same thing for the year. January is full of things that I want out of the way. I want this year to be a calmer one. I want there to be space for quiet contemplation and family trips.

This front loading of my schedule is partially driven by fear. I don’t know what is going to come along and rearrange the calendar. Last year it was the XDM project. The year before that it was a health issue. Earlier than those were financial reverses, learning new skills, and conventions which could not be missed. Our schedule has not been predictable for a long time. I combat the fear by tracking upcoming events farther out in the future. I’m endlessly grateful when other people give me lengthy advance notice about events for which we’ll need to plan. I also try to get as much done as fast as I can because it theoretically makes more space.

Only it doesn’t really. Small businesses and families both provide an endless stream of time filling tasks. It is not possible for me to get it all done. I will never be done. I run myself ragged trying to create spaces and often as not the spaces are filled up before I get there. If I want this year to be calmer and more peaceful, I have to start now. Now is part of this year too. I need to begin as I intend to continue. I need to carve out spaces of time to feel peaceful and joyful. If I can do that in each individual day, then this year will be what I want it to be.

I still have my list. I still intend to get most of it done by the end of the month. But I will not treat this month like a mad dash toward completion. It will be a quick paced run with time to look up and around at the scenery.

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