Do I really want to do this?

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and it’s surprising what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. Consequently this morning I’ve taken a breather to re-evaluate my life. What do I want to continue, what do I want to ditch and, more importantly, what do I want to introduce or increase?

Yesterday I found my old university essays in the loft. I was impressed – they were good with fantastic comments on a lot of them, which led me to question why I am still studying and producing these formulaic pieces of work some fifteen to twenty years later. Basically, what am I trying to prove and why do I feel the need to do it? I know I enjoy learning and have a curious and open mind, but constant essay-writing deadlines – why do I put myself through this unnecessary chore? A deadline is currently looming and although I don’t like to give up on something, I think it’s time to call a halt to this, enough’s enough! I have other things I would rather do with my time. I can still learn, but on my own terms in the way that I want to.

So, what  things do I want to do? I’ve thought long and hard about this and here are three for starters:

• Creative writing – the kind of writing I  find enjoyable and rewarding.

• Gym and fitness training – not everyone’s idea of fun but I really enjoy it.

• Days out, nights out – recently I’ve been making a real effort to create time for family and friends, saying “Yes, I’ll come” instead of “Sorry, I can’t. I’ve got to…” – and it’s been great.

So these are the things I really want to be doing with my time.  However, at the moment, they’re getting sidelined because of the things I feel I ‘should’ be doing. Once I’ve finished all these things, then I’ll have time for the things that bring me enjoyment, but the chores are never finished so the pleasure becomes just another thing to fit into a hectic schedule – paradoxically, the pleasure becomes a chore.

There are things that cannot be avoided. I’m not naive enough to think that life can be one long carousel ride of fun and indulgence. However, I’ve realised that I set myself all sorts of silly, little rules about things that are worthy and things that are frivolous. Things that bring me pleasure are bad and must wait; things that are tedious are worthwhile.

All-in-all, an adjustment of priorities is required. The process won’t be easy – old habits are difficult to break – but constantly questioning “Do I really want to do this?” should help me to stay on track.

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