Take Today

For the past four months, I've been operating in hyperdrive. I assure you - this has been out of necessity rather than natural inclination. I like to be busy, but I like my busyness to include time for baking and leisurely makeup application and long night walks and dedicating a whole day to finishing a book and discovering TV gems hidden in the bowels of Netflix. This semester didn't really let me do that.

I like being busy because I get a lot done. I am infinitely more productive when I have deadlines to meet than when I have an endless amount of time to dawdle around the internet at will. However, this semester seemed like a never-ending cascade of deadlines, and as soon as I completed something I had to do, there were three other tasks queued up in front of me. I stopped opening my day planner in mid-February, because there was no space left to write anything, and all the red pen and different coloured highlighted due dates gave me a stress headache.

It was early March when I called my parents, lying in the fetal position in bed, still wearing my winter coat, and crying like only an MA student on the brink of completion with no solid plans after graduation can. I was applying for jobs; I had a pile of 100 undergraduates essays waiting for me to grade; a Major Research Project with a slaughtered theory section that needed to be completely rewritten, which required reading the entirety of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality - all three volumes; and a presentation about human trafficking and nationalism to research and write. And it all had to be done in a week.

As I wished aloud for the TARDIS to come and take me so I could pause time, my dad and mom advised me to take some time for myself. "Go get groceries, take a walk, watch a movie," they said. "Just take a day to breathe. Take today."

The advice to just "take today" is some of the best I have ever been given. I think one thing busyness has taught me is that you can do a lot more in a stretch of time than you often first think you can. But because deadlines are overwhelming, we panic and try and do everything all at once. But there is always space for a time out.

There have been several days over these past four months where I have just told myself, "I'm taking today." I needed these days to not feel guilty for not working on paper, or for not responding to emails immediately, or for not going to campus. I needed these days to feel like life could be about more than just school.

And these days of abandon were some of the best of the term. No, I hadn't finished my research proposal, but I did wander around my neighbourhood on an uncharacteristically warm winter day, in search of a mug to swap for this incredible pink one, which once belonged to a cafe but now lives in my cupboard. (This story is actually really great, and I will dedicate a whole post to it someday.)

No, I hadn't finished my cover letter for a job application due the next day, and I hadn't yet logged all my hours for TA training, but I went on a long late-night walk with a friend on a crisp night, hashed out some feelings, and took this really cool picture.

No, I hadn't sent my review of the interviewed candidates to our CGC president, and I hadn't finished editing my theory section of my MRP, but I did watch the entire TV series Shakespeare Uncovered, ate popcorn, and Snap Chatted selfies to my friends for hours.

And even though I took days to "do nothing," everything still got finished - on time, and well done. So I think that sometimes just acknowledging that you need a break, and taking a day to do something other than what you have to is, in the end, what helps you get it done.

Current book: I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak
Current TV show: Miranda series 3
Current nail colour: Dior's "Plaza"


Jenn said…
You finally found your mug? Hooray!!!

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