You know that country song, the one titled, “Live like you were dying”? I don’t know who it is by because I am no country music buff, but that singer is really on to something. There have been many times in my journey as a Master’s student where we have been asked to look at our “pie of life.” This is basically a pie where you map how how you spend your time in a typical week and then you make another pie of where you would like your time to be. This is a technique that you can use in session for people that may be neglecting one area of their wellness so that they can make adjustments if they would like to.
I think that it is safe to say, though, that we may not always spend our time they way we want to ideally. If you were told that you had only a few months or even just a few weeks to live, how would you spend your time? I’ve said many times that I want to live my life to the fullest, but if I were told that I was going to die shortly, I for sure would not be spending 3 hours a day in a classroom living in State College, no no. I would be traveling, I would be seeing the world. I would be surrounding myself with the people I love and care about, with family and friends and tying up any loose ends that may be out there. I would want to be at peace if I were dying. The thing is, though, that most of us are not going to be given an estimate on our life span, but then again, do we really want an estimate?
We are beings that plan for the future, it’s what we do. We save money, we save items that we may need in the future, we educate ourselves to get that job to pay for things that we need and want. We worry about what the future might hold, especially if things aren’t going well in the present time. Every moment of every day is precious, it truly is a gift. And just because we can’t spend our time the way we would ideally like to all the time, we can for sure have moments that fulfill these desires.
All work and no play is no way to live. There has to be a balance somewhere. If we choose to work all the time whether it be school or our jobs themselves, we have done ourselves a real disservice. Even if we are the busiest person on the planet, we need to make time for activities that help us to unwind after a stressful day or period of time in our lives. We can listen to our favorite tunes, we can fish, we can exercise, we can visit with family, we can play a board game, we can blog, etc. Whatever we choose, it should be a healthy habit. We cannot come home every night and get blitzed, nor can we eat a half gallon of ice cream every night.
I have come to appreciate my down time, when I have it, lol. So many people day to me, “You’re so busy!” I guess I am, but I still find time to be bored and to get all my important school work done in a reasonable amount of time. To me, the side activities that I do aren’t work at all because I enjoy them so much. Zumba allows me to dance like no one is watching, photography allows me to have a creative outlet, and auctioneering allows me to get all the extra energy out that I have. If there’s one thing in this self-examination it’s that I’m not sure if I’m an introvert or an extrovert.
When you think about someone that is an introvert, you think about someone that is shy, doesn’t talk a lot and keeps to themselves. They are known to be people that enjoy reading, writing, etc., in solitary. At the end of the day they like to unwind by themselves for the most part. Introverts aren’t necessarily shy though, they just enjoy being alone more than they do with people. Extroverts on the other hand enjoy people around people, going to parties, etc. They seemed to be enthusiastic, and energized by being around people. They like to do activities with others more than by themselves.
When looking at these characteristics, I truly cannot put myself in one category as being lower in one and higher in the other. Some people think that these are polar opposites, when they really aren’t. I would like to think about them more on a double continuum in which both elements have their own levels. This way a person can more accurately describe themselves because if there is anyone that waffles between these two characteristics, it is myself. I don’t think that being one or the other is a bad thing, though, because that is what makes us unique.
We must find balance in our lives. If there is anything that I’ve learned over the past 22 years of life, it is that having a balance is a good thing in more than just your time. Time is an amazing thing, we always want more, it goes by too quickly when we don’t want it to and it’s something that we can never get back. Remember that, it’s something we can never get back. The “pie of life” exercise seems very mundane, but it can really make you think about how you spend your time. Even if there is one hour out of the whole week that you can spare to make “me” time, it can make a big difference. It could be the difference between someone getting burnt out at work and keeping a good healthy self at work.
We can’t always spend our time the way we want to because of the future and the unknown of when our time is up, so must take time in between the chaos that can be our lives to make ourselves happy.