At the end of last week, I posted about the WHYs in our lives, the reasons behind what we choose to give our time to and if those relationships should be continued or should be revised.
Alongside the reasons WHY we do certain things, there lies the reasons why we do not do certain things: the WHY NOTs.
What are WHY NOTs? And what do they look like for you? I define WHY NOTs like this: they are the relationships we would like to enter into or spend more time doing.
Why do I not spend more time with this person or that group of people...?
Why do I not take more time to read...?
Why do I not draw, write, paint, create more often...?
Why do I not exercise more often...?
I believe there are two umbrella answers to these questions of WHY NOT:
"I don't have the time to give to ____________."
"I will do that tomorrow/next week/some day."
The important thing to remember with your WHY NOTs: it is not about having the time, but making the time. Actively using the time you already have and giving it to the relationships you desire. And giving the time to one thing requires either 1) taking your spare time and using it more efficiently or 2) taking time away from something else.
Utilizing spare time comes down to will. I curse myself, for knowing full well I have the time but not using it efficiently. Instead, I watch TV or play video games or waste it endlessly browsing social media for no good reason. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all have spare time, and it can be used differently than what we currently use it for.
Instead of watching TV for an hour at night, maybe you read that book you've wanted to read.
Instead of watching endless YouTube videos in the morning, maybe you can use that time to exercise.
Instead of coming up with an excuse to stay home, maybe you call that friend you would like to see more often and go out for breakfast or lunch.
I found myself asking, "Why do I not write more often? It is something of a passion of mine and I enjoy doing it. So WHY NOT write?" Despite what I thought was a busy schedule, I decided to do something about it. I carved out an hour a morning to dedicate to writing. I write three pages, nothing but my steam of consciousness. Whatever comes to my mind, I put on the page. This can be, "Well, I slept in this morning" to "I scaled the mountain until I reached its peak. Looking down on the small town of Breckenridge from the snow-packed oasis in the sky, I let out a deep breath and hopped off the edge, my snowboard edge carving into and propelling me down the icy mountain face." Just the act of putting pen to paper is writing, and these three pages were much more than what I had been writing which was zero pages.
Other times, in order to make time for one thing, you must take time away from something else.
You could move around your work schedule in order to attend MTL. In order to reconnect with an old friend, you might have to take away from spending time at home with your significant other or your family.
Over three years, I have consistently made the trip over to Keystone on Wednesday nights to spend time with a group of people fighting dragons and scouring dungeons--yes, playing Dungeons and Dragons. This year, with a schedule shift for a job change, I found myself not attending these sessions anymore because I would find myself so exhausted on Wednesdays from substitute teaching all day and coaching basketball after school. After two months, I found myself asking, "I enjoyed those nights. WHY NOT go more often? WHY do I substitute teach on Wednesdays and leave myself drained to not attend or enjoy Dungeons and Dragons?" I missed this connection with this group of people and the time spent together laughing and role-playing around the game table. So, I stopped substitute teaching on Wednesdays to create the time and space to once again attend these sessions and have that interaction with those people. Those personal connections are important to me and I needed to make my schedule work to continue those relationships.
In my example above, I found myself taking time out of the WHYs of my life (teaching and basketball) and giving them to a WHY NOT (Dungeons and Dragons). You may find that the reason you aren't doing something you want to do is because you are currently doing something you don't want to do. In going through this process of asking yourself WHY and WHY NOT, you may find the clarity and the courage to take time away from something in order to make time for something else.
In these two experiences, I found myself living a surface life where there was no passion but always a tomorrow. And I wanted to live more within my passions like there is no tomorrow.
These posts offer further reflection on topics we tackle during MTL nights.