It’s not ideal
It never is. The calendar is basically full (whoever had the idea of inventing video meetings is both the hero of the pandemic and the enemy of basically everything else). Back to back. Moment-to-moment. This screen. This desk. This room. Day-in. Day-out.
Now, this can feel like a complaint. In all honesty, it is in some ways, but it’s more about wanting to point to the reality that our lives are not going to hand us the perfect moment. The perfect moment to meditate. The perfect moment to write. The perfect moment to reflect. The perfect moment to take a few minutes staring out the window. If we are waiting for the perfect moment, we’re going to wait for a long time.
We all know the phrase, “I’ll make time.” Like somehow, we can pry open the gates of a day and create some time out of the space. The truth is that we have to take time. We have to carve it out ourselves. We have to stand up and take a stand for our well being.
And, yes, even during the work day. If you work in a place where you have no control over your calendar — where folks can just put an hour long meeting on your day and you have no say about it — you work in an unhealthy environment. I’d say that’s true, full stop.
At my last full time job, I started to create meetings on my calendar, some for thirty minutes some for up to ninety. They were meetings with myself. Some of them were about doing — knocking things off of my to do list. But some of them were about resting, reconnecting, rejuvenating. Hell, every now and then I’d book a conference room.
It’s easy to come up with excuses (and some of those excuses are really valid), but I do think it’s worth interrogating what’s behind them. What is it that allows us to give away part of our birthright — to have space for our thoughts, unencumbered by the thoughts of others? What are we committed to when we don’t make a commitment to our own well being?
The answers to the questions that we ask ourselves might very well point to the environment that we are in, to larger systemic issues (I’m not going to pretend that my positionality as a white, cis, man had nothing to do with my ability to carve out time for myself, surely it did), to other factors that are beyond our control. It’s true. But I’d be willing to bet that there are things that float under the surface — that only reveal themselves when we really dig in and ask the question — that, once revealed, could help us make some different choices.
This isn’t an easy thing, of course. If it was, we’d all be doing it (hell, I’d be doing it a lot more). Like mindfulness meditation, it’s a practice that we return to — again, and again, and again–
The perfect moment isn’t going to come find us. That shouldn’t stop us from reveling in the intentional, if imperfect, one.