Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gotta Have It

What is it about us as human beings that have to have the best parking spot? I mean honestly. I was walking in to work today after just having parked the car (thank you Bradford for being a peach and letting me use Blackie!) and I noticed that a spot had just opened up that was much closer to the building than the spot I had and I was seriously considering going back out and moving the car before the spot got snatched. I pushed the button for the elevator and as I waited for it I went back to the window and pondered all the advantages of the closer spot and how it would take me just two minutes to move it. Then I realized the irony of the situation. I was waiting indefinitely for the elevator (with the stairs two feet away) because I wanted to get to work ASAP. Yet I was very intensely thinking about going back out side, walking to the car, moving it, and then walking back into the building to save me time later? How does that make sense?

I started up the stairs after that realization.

As I was walking up to my floor I asked myself that question: What is it that makes me want to have that spot so fervently (and I really did)? Will it make me earlier to work? Not if I go back out to the car and move it and then continue to wait for the elevator. Was I so cold now that I didn't want to be as cold after work when walking back to my car? Walking 10 seconds longer in my long winter coat isn't going to kill me. Then maybe it was because I knew I wasn't going to get out of work before 6 tonight and I didn't want to have to walk to my car alone in the dark? Nope. The street (where the "amazing" spot is) isn't lit while the parking lot (where I parked) has a light about every ten feet. Then what?! I couldn't think of anything logical.

One could argue that a closer spot saves time if you're late or in a hurry or something. But I don't want to be the type of person that is rushing around from one place to another at hyper speed all day long. Plus, it is easily arguable that circling the lot like a hawk wastes more time than just taking the available spot and walking the difference. Same goes with the stairs vs. elevator situation. People (yes, I'm generalizing here) take the elevator because its convenient, "faster" even. But I know from experience that waiting for the elevator and then slowly ascending may be less work than taking the stairs but it is definitely not quicker.

Now, back to not wanting to live life at supersonic speeds rushing around all the time. If the stairs are faster and walking from a farther spot takes less time than waiting for a closer spot to free up, then isn't that living life in a time conscious crunch? I thought about that and decided that yes it may be more time efficient but I'm not really worried about how much time I'm taking (ideally). I'm just doing it because it makes more sense than waiting who knows how long for an elevator or a prime parking spot to become available and not because of any pressing feelings of urgency. If, for example, I were hovering behind an old man who was shuffling to his car in the coveted spot the emotions I can clearly see in that situation are impatience, annoyance, maybe selfishness because I don't want someone else to have the spot, and a sense of being rushed because work is waiting. I'm also probably not feeling too fondly toward grandpa at that moment. I don't want to start my day like that! Especially since work can get stressful enough without preceding it with those high strung emotions (essentially dooming my day before its even begun). I don't even want to experience those stresses at all if I can help it. Especially if they could easily be avoided. Walking from a far spot might make me a tad colder, walking up the stairs might make me a little more winded, but if nothing else I'm getting a teeny bit more exercise then I would have. More importantly though, I side step those frazzling emotions.

So, as an addendum to a previous statement in a previous post, I will continue to take the stairs and also walk a few extra feet from the parking lot. My soul needs the exercise.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Playing Ball

The start of this year has been a little different for me than most. Usually the ball drops, a new calendar goes up, I feel sick from all the holiday goodies snarfed... but then the days go on just like they did the year before. Its not a big deal. New Years is fun and all if you want it to be but for me it doesn't spark any of the, "OK, this year things will be different!" motivation that seems to consume the nation. Don't get me wrong, resolutions are great and admirable, especially when they are stuck to, but for me, I need more than a New Year to have a fresh start and be better. I need new weeks, new days... new minutes even. Maybe that's why New Year's isn't a huge deal for me because I am constantly needing to review and recommit to my goals over and over and over, not just at the beginning of the year. Thus, I have oodles of mini "New Years" scattered throughout the 365 days so it isn't anything significantly unusual come the night of December 31st. That's how New Years have kind of always been for me: just an excuse to celebrate and not particularly a soul searching realignment of life. This year, however, was a little bit more like the conventional New Years in that I did feel differently, and I did have a different, more conscious, motivation than I've had on previous New Years to have a more fulfilling 12 months. I don't think that it was necessarily because its a new year so that's why I was feeling that way, it was more coincidence than anything that this realization and sense of eagerness to up the gears in my life happened to fall on the beginning days of a new year. However, it is easier to see the upcoming year at the top of it than at the end or middle of the one before it.

The past few weeks I have been reading different talks and quotes and scriptures as well as having conversations and experiences that were all generally unrelated to each other. Little did I know, until later reflection, that they had all been accumulating into a divinely linked together idea that provided me a special insight into myself, and life in general, that hit me all of a sudden a few days ago. I saw things that I have wanted to happen in my life. I actually saw them happening and realized that there wasn't anything but me keeping me back from doing them. I have known I wanted to do things like get out of debt, start school again (and be able to pay for it up front), and get a dental hygiene degree, etc. but they always seemed more like far of aspirations that were still in the stars and not actually plannable yet. Then I saw 2009 and I knew that those balls could start rolling. I eagerly pulled out my planner and my budget and I planned! I roughly paved the way for those things that I now realize I REALLY wanted to do. I can be out of debt entirely by June, May even, and for those of you who know, that was a very far off idea when I ended August of 2007. I was in over my head at $11,000+ in debt with no job, no job prospects, and finance charges steadily accruing. I will be able to pay for at least one course of online school with BYU in May as well. And another by the end of the summer. I may not be able to apply for the dental hygiene program at UVU until 2011 because I have some pre-requisites I have to knock out of the way before then, but I MIGHT be able to squeeze everything into this year and apply for the 2010 program if I'm lucky. But then I have to decide if I can really afford to quit working full-time to do school, and the program is really competitive anyway so I may not make the 14 students that are admitted each year after all... Ok, sorry, you all don't need to be inside my head for the actual planning process and all it entails... But long story short, I am actually doing this. Not just talking about it anymore. Its something that I am extremely excited about and the excitement just increases the more I think about it and read about it. So many things that I feel like I have only been able to peek at over the fence are now on my front porch!

Life is wonderful. I realize, too, that everyday I can resubmit myself to be changed and renewed. Things like New Years are great opportunities to remind us of that, but its more important for me to remember that new "beginnings" are a barrel a penny, available each and every time I need some shaping. All it takes is a choice made.