I rose from my bed on Friday morning at 7:30 am but didn’t get started with the day until an hour later. Instead, I fished around on my nightstand for my phone, and after locating it, I dove back under the covers. Going on social media in the morning is a habit that I really want to ditch. I’ve been thinking a lot about habits and goals, because in one of my classes, the professor brought up a “death day” monthly evaluation. Sounds morbid, but the advice is good.
“At the end of every month,” she suggested, looking squarely into her zoom camera, “you should think about the weeks that passed as though tomorrow is your death day. Did you spend the month the way you wanted?” That statement, coupled with the memoir that I read today by Dave Eggers, got me thinking about how I spend my time. Or, rather, how I’m not spending my time. Which is to say that I am wasting at least 2-3 hours a day on my phone. During my commute to college, I used to wake up at 6:30 am, immediately get dressed, pack gym clothes, eat breakfast, and either write or work on the bus. I did the same with my internship.
When I finished the book that I was writing on the bus, titled Half and Half (it took ~2 years), I sent query letters to at least 30 literary agents. All of them rejected it. One of them asked for the full manuscript, which is considered a huge step toward publication, and then rejected it. Because the rejections stung so much, I dropped the whole endeavor. But now, I’m wondering: what if I continued writing in the mornings and continued sending queries? Why am I spending so much time distracting myself when I could be filling my mornings with activities I love? Things like morning prayers, which was my form of meditation, and evening Thank Yous were also habits that I dropped.
And, you know… I miss those habits. I want them back. I’m thinking of doing a fake morning commute so I can get back as much of my pre-covid routine as possible. Anyway, let’s get back to the present day: Friday. On Friday, I spent the entire day working on my Psychometrics paper. I don’t usually take that long, but the example paper that our professor provided was 70+ pages long. I started my section weeks ago, and collectively, my 5 page literature review took around 5 hours.
Saturday marks the start of my winter break from my doctoral program!
This morning, when I came downstairs (I was determined to ditch that awful phone habit), I saw that my mom was all decked out in her gym clothes. “Want to walk the dog with me?” she asked. I love my mom and rarely get to spend time with her one on one, so I jumped at the chance. The two of us set out to brave the morning cold, dog leash in hand. It became apparent very quickly that what we considered a walk, the dog considered a sprint. “Axel, wait!” I yelled after him, panting. I am a runner, but this dog’s mile time was putting mine to shame.
Fortunately, he stopped at every tree to have a stand off with the squirrels, which were the only breaks that we got. “How–” huff puff huff “–do you do this every morning?” I managed. When we got to the park, we bumped into Axel’s former owners! They immediately recognized us. This was more than I could say for my mom– she was confused about why a random man seemed to be inviting us to his house to “show his wife our dog”. “Seems sketchy,” she whispered in russian. “We should make a break for it”.
We remembered what he looked like when he took off his glasses and lifted his mask. Our dogs met up to sniff each other enthusiastically in their yard. Afterwards, I drove us to my grandparents’ house, where we celebrated my grandma’s 72nd (but really 27th, shh) birthday. Although highways would’ve been faster, I decided to give my brother and his worried dog a smoother driving experience (ok… and highways still freak me out a little).
Clearly, he loved it 😂 My mom was in the front, giving directions and helping me relax when a family of bikers took themselves and their small child across the street during My! Green! Light! (Don’t worry, no pedestrians were harmed).
I am currently writing this post from my bed at my grandma’s house, thinking about how the day went. I didn’t do work on this Saturday; all I did was read and relax. But sometimes, that’s just what you need.