Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Smell the Roses

It’s 5:28 a.m., Tuesday morning. This is a little early for me, especially considering that I’ve been awake for about 45 minutes and just now decided that I am “up;” my day has begun. It’s time to put on some coffee (no cigarette – it’s been over three weeks without one now!) and get down to the business of the day. It’ll top 70 degrees today and there is no rain forecasted for a few days at least – I have a feature story due in a week, two research papers due in two weeks and finals coming up directly after that. Life is good! Oh yea, I’ve got to get the Harley tuned up too.

Life, my life at least, has this ebb and flow to it. It always has. It certainly isn’t the rollercoaster it once was. It used to be more like a cycle of boom and bust. That things are about to get somewhat hectic for me is better viewed through the filter of the past – my past. Everything is relative and compared to the way things were once upon a time, this is a far more manageable “busy season” than I am accustomed to. And although putting this all into perspective helps immeasurably, that is only part of the story.

Despite the fact that I’ll be extremely busy for the next month or so, it is not haphazardly so. This is all planned; it has been, in detail, since January and generally well before that. I signed up for this, there are no major surprises. Sure, the unexpected has occurred in the recent past and I suspect it will rear its head again, but I have the major stuff squared away. Although there is much in front of me, I have positioned myself to be successful. This is not rocket science – it is really quite simple.

All the same, in a way this “seasonal rush” if you will, caught me a little by surprise. Not off-guard, but in a strange way it kind of snuck up on me. A key change in my everyday life is that I live it as an “everyday” life. That is, I take one day at a time, deal with what is directly in front of me and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. The obvious question is “how is it that I am so ready, so prepared for this next month if I haven’t been worrying about it?” That’s an excellent question and one that deserves an excellent answer. Here goes…

As I stated, the upcoming 30 days or so will be busy. In fact, if I had to do it all today, or tomorrow or even within the next week, it would be overwhelming. I would throw up my hands and say “f*** it!” So how is it that I can live a day at a time and be in sync with a busy month? Easy. Although I have made plans and I obviously have goals, the path to attaining them is just that – a path. I’ll not realize them in one giant step or leap. Indeed, instant gratification only lasts an instant and if I want lasting satisfaction, time is among the primary ingredients to a successful recipe.

Therefore, today I will not do all those things that I have to do in the next four weeks. I can’t. I can, however, call contacts, do research, write… and go to class. In other words, I have a list of things to do today that will bring me to tomorrow. In addition, the things I have on my “to do” list are not just a means to an end – graduation and a degree – but an end in and of themselves. That way I get to have my cake and eat it too. My tasks today are not merely a chore to get the brass ring; they pay dividends all day long. Perhaps this is not instant gratification, but it surely must be at least incremental gratification!

In the final analysis, it is not only possible, but preferable (and for me, required) to have long-term goals and a view of life that revolves around 24 hour segments. If I have my sights set on the end, I tend to be so single minded that I’ll miss all there is along the way. I will not take time to “stop and smell the roses.” Taking life a day at a time gives me the short-term payoff while working toward a long-term goal and a perspective that allows me get excited about every step of the journey. And isn’t that what makes it all worthwhile?


Bar L. said...

This is really inspiring. I used to live like this and I think now is the time for me to re-implement a lot of these things. Very timely reminder, thanks.


Helene said...

ok w2g with giving up the smoking! I really really mean it! My Mom died of lung cancer this year, so anytime someone ik (ok almost know lol)smokes it tugs so hard at my heart strings that it hurts!...

I think that you definitely found a plan that works for you in the one day at a time thing. I wish i could embrace it more than i do. I am a planner and often lose site of the day for the benefit of planning the future. With this recent depression thing I am having I have been much more focused on taking each day (and frankly sometimes just getting through it! lol) I think that I will try to keep this bit of what I am learning as part of my daily agenda long after the depression is gone. I think you are right we miss so much of the journey if we dont.

Nice blog and ty for the kind words! It was nice to see that you didnt delete me from your link too... (no need to tell me you just didnt have time... heheheh I will go on thinking it was cuz you couldnt bare to think I was gone for good! hehe jk...) cheers! K

Saur♥Kraut said...

You know, I am really glad you're staying off the cigs. I know that we barely know each other, but there are so few "gems" out there, and you're one of them. It's nice to know you've done something to prolong your life, because it touches mine, so I guess my happiness about your quitting is purely selfish.

I was delighted to see you pop by my blog first thing this morning! You were up early! I didn't have time to respond, cuz I was out the door to get to a biz appt.

X said...

I actually prefer busy days....just because when I'm not busy, I'm bored out of my mind!

Congrats on making it to 3 weeks...may there be many more to come ;)

Dawner said...

The one thing I love about reading your blogs is that they always make me wanna get up and doing something in my life to start a new change of pace. I just wish I could figure out what it should be, when it should be and how the hell to do it. (HA HA) Missed your blog.

Ellen said...

As a gardener, I take every opportunity to stop and smell the roses, literally! Without those little stops in the hecticness of life, I'd surely go mad without them. In all the planning and organizing that I do, I still take the time to sit back for a minute to relish the things that don't make me so rushed.

Glad to see you are still on the road to a smoke-free life. I know how hard it is.

Jenn said...

Wow, you are an early riser! Congratulations on over three weeks without a cigarette. I'd imagine blogging about that must be an extra motivation to get through each day without one.

Lee Ann said...

Congratulations on the no smoking! That is awesome.
Hope you have many more beautiful smelling days.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Indeed, Indeed! I do agree wholeheartedly..I cannot always do that, but I try. Take each day as it comes. Yes, have some plans for the future, but, do enjoy 'the moment'. Great Post as always Mike.

UltimateWriter said...

Good luck with the sans tobacco campaign, your health will thank you for it later.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Planning is good, it gives us purpose and structure.

Where I get in trouble, is when I try to control the outcome, or want something to go a specific way.

As an early riser myself, I think waking up at 5am is awesome. It allows me to be centered, and connect with the day while the sun begins to shine.

Have a good day.

blair said...

I'm right there with you Mike. At our last quarterly meeting I was put in charge of "Incentives"
My idea was to get everyone to come up with three goals every week and three strategies for each goal. I used the game of poker as my tool to get everyone interested and then through in some cold hard cash on Friday to really get everyone going. Basically, everyone was dealt 5 cards and for each goal they completed they would be able to trade one of their cards for a new won. On Friday the best hand won $100.00!

It was great! I got a lot of compliments on the game and people were thankful that they were creating goals and finding ways to acheive them.

I have some long term goals but I live mostly in the here and now. Thanks for reminding me about the long term. In the end, that's what's important!


Michael K. Althouse said...

Thank you all for the encouragement on the non-smoking. Your ssupport has been a tremendous help and i deeply appreciate it. My post today celebrates one month smoke-free. I couldn't have done it alone and all of you were part of the support that helped make it possible.

As far as smelling the roses, that is working even betteer now!