Saturday, January 11, 2014

Schmiorities: Where My Priorities Lie

Much of it has to do with my line of work, but I've struggled lately with the feeling of simply treading water with my life.

She's a pretty big priority, and she knows it.
At my job, there's always another paper to produce. It's not monotony that I struggle with, it's that I always seem to be behind. Wednesdays, the day before the newspaper goes to press, are always hectic, and though I enjoy it, the stress can weigh on me at times.

At home, the apartment gets steadily messier. The smell of cigarette smoke continues to waft in through the walls from my neighbor, and dishes pile ever higher in the sink. I clean (honestly, I do), but before long, things start to get out of hand.

The days at work are often too long for me to exercise before or afterward, and the weight has started to creep back in. The overwhelming, crushing thought is that my life is out of control. If only I could "____" then I would feel better, right?

Well. Sure, I'll feel better when my apartment is clean. Things won't be as stressful if I have everything done before Wednesday, and I can just focus on design. If I get home at a decent time and my day wasn't so difficult, I could work out before sleeping.

How to do that, though? Surely there are enough hours in the day. I spend 10 hours a week on the road. 40 hours are spent at work, two hours at church, and another three hours in rehearsal. That still leaves PLENTY.

I suppose, then, it's about how efficiently I use that time, and the way I prioritize things. There's obviously a discrepancy between what SHOULD and what IS the most important. That's evidenced by things like spending two hours playing Whale Trail on my bed and eating pop tarts this morning. I could've had the whole place clean (including myself) in that time.

At this point, it'd be really easy for me to just get down on myself. Oh, you're just lazy and crave comfort and entertainment more than anything else. You can't be counted to keep your life in order, just look at the mess in your kitchen. You can't stay in shape, just give up.

No. No no no. None of those things are true. As easy as the trap is to fall in, I have to take the messes I allow to build up in my life (note to self: get more cat litter) and use them as motivation to make better habits.

The first step, which I'll do tonight on my handy yellow pad (thanks, journalism) is to list out the things I do each week (work, cleaning, wash, home-time, rehearsal, church, family-time, etc.) and figure out how I actually value each thing. Then, I'll take that list and re-arrange it the way I WANT it to be, and refer to the list any time I feel out of sorts.

There'll be more thoughts on how this works out in the near future. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Psalm 32:7: God's my island hideaway

I'll be moving into the leftmost apartment in February, and I don't know how to feel.

I really don't like change. Even though I despise monotony, I don't do well transitioning from one thing to the next, at least as far as the buildup is concerned.

At the end of this month, I'll be moving to (relatively) far-away Scappoose. For the first time in my life, I'll live west of the Willamette river, and outside of the immediate Oregon City-Beavercreek area. I'll be further from my nearest friend's house than I've ever been, and more than 10 minutes away from my home church.

But it's not the distance that has me feeling... what ever this is. It's simply the fact that I have to leave a place that I've grown comfortable. My current apartment in the McLoughlin district of Oregon City was a gift and a blessing, and I've become attached, and though I don't move for a month, I've already become melancholy.

It's a frustrating emotion, honestly. By definition, melancholy doesn't really have a cause, at least one you can pin down - and I can identify with that. My sadness, though there is somewhat of a legitimate reason for it, is a little out of place. My excitement should be the right thing to feel, and yet the only thing in my heart is a gripping fear of the unknown.

Where does that come from? and more to the point, what causes my troubles with moving on?

Part of all that has to do with a yearn for comfort. One of the coaches I work with on a regular basis always tells me that a major part of his job is reconditioning the athletes to do what is right when they're pressured, not what's comfortable. It's human nature to chase comfort and security, and when we get into a difficult position, that is what we revert back to.

My apartment, as my personal space, became a safe place. It's somewhere I can relax and be myself. I can lay on the floor (as I did while working at Starbucks) after a long day at work, and I can dress how I like without fear of "judgement".

It took some time for it to really feel like home, but I was excited to move in to the new place. It represented freedom. It represented independence, and while this new move to Scappoose represents many of the same things, there is also loss involved.

As silly as it sounds, I can tie it to the feelings I remember from when I left my parent's house at the end of last summer. Oh, that I would have been writing back then. It was a sad - and slightly traumatic - experience for me, to leave the only home I had ever known and step out into the world. While I have a move or two under my belt, it's not all that much easier to pick up everything, uproot myself, and move across the metro area.

Maybe it's that I'm not looking forward to the hard work it is to pack things and move. I know I'm afraid to leave things behind, though I'll be back in town at least weekly. There's also some fear in there. Will I end up spending all my time home alone with my cat? Maybe. But more than anything else though this experience today, I've learned that I need to reexamine where I find my security.

Things change in life, that's a given. Jobs come and go, people drift in and out of life. The journey in this world has ups and downs, it's just the way things are. And because of that, we can't base our happiness, security or safe-place on something in this world.

I love The Message version of this, one of my favorite verses:

"God's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck." -- Psalm 32:7

Friday, January 3, 2014

In which, I finally break the ice

I actively asked God for both of these things.
This won't be long, just a note to help me remember a victory I had earlier  this afternoon.

As I've mentioned before, I tend to do my best thinking in the shower. Today, I was detoxing from a grueling basketball game with a friend, and somewhere in the midst of washing my hair, I realized exactly how often I ask for prayer... and forget to pray myself.

It came up because I was deep in thought over a few potential meetings I have next week - namely Steve Brandon the Sports Editor of the Tribune, and Chad Doing, a popular sports talk radio host in Portland. It's a topic I'll discuss further - something that came from my JesusBux experience - but I'd reached out to both individuals with the intent of sitting down and gleaning a wealth of knowledge and advice.

In my excitement in planning the pair of ordeals, I had entirely forgotten to ask God's blessing. Usually, I would have allowed myself to tailspin and end up staying silent, but this was different. That ice broke, finally.

It's not a habit, yet, but I plan on making it one. An easy concept: SPEAK. Things will work themselves out from there. Silence doesn't to anyone any good.

In other news: I'm going to view a perfect little apartment on Sunday in Scappoose. I'll begin praying for  that... nnnnnnow.