An example of a realistically ideal weekday –

midnight – Sleep. Dream happy dreams.
6am – Wake up, get dressed and ready for the day, make/eat breakfast, pack lunch, drink tea.
7am – Catch the bus and commute to work. Catch up on the news.
7:30am – Get into the office, get organized, get started…
noon – Have a nice, hour long lunch break. Go outside, breathe in fresh air, walk/frolic around the streets of downtown Chicago. Or maybe hit the office gym for a quick run, shower, then lunch. Be active. Be happy.
1pm – Back to work, hurray for productivity.
4:30pm – Leave, catch up on any errands/life maintenance things (grocery shopping, cleaning, picking up things, work out, cook, etc).
7pm - Eat a super delicious home-cooked dinner. Or maybe super delicious leftovers. Because life is busy.
8pm – Do something fun. From working on personal projects to figuring out new ways to make Hunter happy to getting together with friends to seeing a show or getting a good beer at a local pub to reading a book to making more progress on my afghan… Just doing SOMETHING so that my day isn’t solely centered around the work day.
11pm- Skype.
midnight – Sleep.

An example of my current weekdays –

midnight – Sleep. Dream about clients and paperwork and deadlines, sigh.
6am - Wake up, get dressed and ready for the day, make/eat breakfast, pack “lunch”.
7am – Catch the bus and commute to work. Flashcards on my phone, study study study.
7:30am – Get into the office, get to work. Work and work, constant activity. Work through lunch. Eat handful of nuts, piece of fruit, baggie of veggies (aka small, non-messy, bite-sized pieces that I can put in my mouth while still working).
4:30pm(ish) – Leave, catch the bus, more flashcards on my phone.
5:30pm(ish) - Skype? Eat something for dinner.
7pm - STUDY. Reading class notes, doing problems, take practice exams, reading chapters of the book.
midnight – Sleep.

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My observation – Work and studying for this exam (that I need to pass for work) have basically taken over my life at this point, and it’s making my days go by really, really quickly. I never have enough time at work to accomplish everything I want to do in the day (there’s just SO much to get done, do not even get me started) and then I never have enough time out of work to do all the studying I want to do in the day, and so the hours are just flying by. And so the days are just flying by. And so the weeks are just flying by…

I’m learning that this kind of lifestyle can only be temporary for me. I know that for many people, their career is their priority, and that’s what makes them happy. And why shouldn’t it? We spend so many hours in the day doing our jobs; it can be a great feeling to work towards something and see results and grow and create and make some kind of difference. But for me, and I always knew this, I don’t want my job to be my life. I want it to be a decently big part of my life, of course, but I don’t want it to define me. That’s so limiting! I also want my life and who I am and how people see me to be about everything else that I do with myself, and what I can accomplish and add to this world outside of the office. I want to be a good friend, neighbor. Appreciate nature, experiences, other people. Always find joy in the little things, always want to create joy in little ways.

The point – Days are the units that make up weeks and weeks make up months and months make up years, so each one is important. This is a reminder to myself to make sure all my days count because I don’t want to wake up one day when I’m 30 and think to myself – how did so much time just pass me by so unnoticed? Living thoughtfully, actively, consciously, that’s the goal. Here’s to being in my twenties. Realistically, ideally.

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