without and within

21 Feb

Months ago, I recall sharing a stress management tip with a friend – when overwhelmed, begin by translating your anxiety into a bullet-pointed list; words give form to abstraction, and lists help us to begin plotting to conquer what can feel like the insurmountable and uncontainable.

Close friends would not be surprised to know that I’ve had a spreadsheet for nearly everything: friends with whom to keep in touch; dates gone on in Boston; activities to embark on with out-of-towners; books to read; movies to watch; quotes I like; soundtracks to various portion of my life; etc. – you name it; I’ve got a list for it.

I’ve never, however, attempted a list that itemizes all areas of life…. But now at 23, getting relatively settled, but perpetually feeling restless internally, I’ve realized that I need to be yet more intentional – not only in settling my affairs, materially speaking, but in examining and reflecting on said affairs, so as to better understand my own situation, and to act, when necessary.

Here’s an attempt, sorted by relationships:

  • To self
  • To roommates
  • To colleagues
  • To family
  • To friends, not categorized in the above
  • To past romantic interests; to current romantic interests
  • To strangers

Here’s another dimension – time spent pursuing both the necessary and enriching:

  • Work and professional development
  • Academic and intellectual learning
  • Practical skill development
  • Political activism
  • Creative pursuits
  • Volunteering
  • Entertainment consumption
  • Personal development, growth, and therapy
  • Site-specific exploration
  • Personal budgeting and finances
  • Eating habits and exercise

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the elements which comprise my daily life – and, I would venture to guess, yours, too. I am both more and less overwhelmed, now that I’ve listed them, and I believe it is time for me to rise to the challenge of journaling about one of these each and every day, so as not to be wandering aimlessly through the moments of my consciousness, but to truly take the reigns of my being – through reflection, education, and action.

Despite my still-young age, I find the obligations of adulthood – of survival, in particular – generally to detract from what used to be my unmovable ability to stay attuned to my core – but I’m determined to stay in sync with myself, and to align my external world with my internal goings-on once again.

How about you, dear reader? How do you manage what goes on both without, and within?

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