Those words are perhaps among the best to describe my life.
It is full. Amazingly full. I have taken my well-honed Tetris skills and applied to them to all areas of life. My walls are decorated with a number of words, images, and items that hold incredible nostalgia in my heart. My family often just reads my walls for a time when they come visit! Likewise, my room is packed. Every nook has a shelf, a bin, a basket, or a drawer to hold more items. It is full, there is no space for another book or pillow or pair of super fun sneakers. It is full, but not messy. There are no piles of junk! It is organized. Everything has a home. I know exactly where everything is. It is full, but organized.
The same Tetris skills apply to my schedule. I know what must be done and have many of my days mapped out until graduation. I bill by the minute at work and I think this has warped my sense of time. I want to be productive. I have to maximize my time. So I schedule myself mentally for every segment of time to ensure I’m wringing the most out of every day. So, if you want to get coffee with me, we might have to wait until April, but then I’d be happy to carve out six units of time just for you. 🙂
My thoughts are just as full. I am constantly thinking, wondering, pondering, analyzing, solving, and committing to memory. My planner and journal catch the overflow of my thoughts like Dumbledore’s Pensive. I have to concentrate on turning off my brain, going to sleep, and staying in the moment.
I am a maximizer at heart. Maximizing has many benefits. I get more done than the average person. I can keep plates spinning between work, school, exercise, life, and church even in a Cat Five hurricane. The number of people who have said, “I don’t know how you do it” to me is shocking. There is great positive reinforcement to maximize. However, Full, But Organized also has significant drawbacks.
I have no room for spontaneity. I have no space for the unexpected. I have no wiggle. Every block of time or space in the Tetris game of my life is touching another surface, wedged in, unable to move. I long for an empty shelf, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Full, but Organized is also restricting. I miss things that come up last minute. I am often unavailable to others in need because my Tetris blocks in life have no wiggle room, no give. Maximizing can make me selfish. If I only focus on my goals, my tasks, my time, my energy, what do I have to offer others?
I long to give my life more margins. More give. More white space. More room. More stillness. More rest. More Sabbath. In this instance, perhaps the old adage is really true, less is in fact more.
2 comments / Add your comment below
I feel your pain, but try to also remember- this is temporary! You WILL graduate one day soon! My little kids will grow up. You are investing a lot today for a better tomorrow. And one day we will have more time. Make a list of what you want to accomplish later (learn to play guitar, etc)
I am amazed that you can fit marathons in your schedule! Hang in there for a few more months and then we will celebrate your amazing accomplishment of getting your PhD. Hopefully time will be more available for spontaneity and relaxation. .But I do think you are a professional student. I think it’s genetic!