Friday, March 22, 2013

Is this how life is supposed to be?

Or, I'm crabby because I don't get enough sleep because I like to do so many other things.

Someone once commented that "I don't have the time to x" is really just an excuse, and what you actually mean is that you're not willing to make the time. I don't disagree, but it always seemed to me to be a half-thought. It implies that you're doing a bad job of managing your time, and you would completely be able to fit in a new activity if you had your priorities in order. What this further implies is that someone else's priorities should be yours. This drives me crazy!

Example: studies indicate that people who volunteer are happier and have more fulfilling relationships than those who don't volunteer. This suggests that we should all spend some time volunteering. Except, I don't like volunteering. It always feels like one more thing on my to-do list, one more obligation, and I don't come home feeling fulfilled or better about humanity or anything like that. I come home tired and crabby and feeling like I now have to squeeze whatever else I need to get done that day into even less remaining time. And I have pretty incredible time management skills.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what's a time priority for me, because for me, and probably for a lot of other people, time is the biggest limit in their life. Like most people I know, I work hard, so when I'm not at work, I don't want what I do with my precious free time to be hard. For me, volunteering is hard. It's unpleasant and unrewarding, and I always wish it didn't take up so much time. Of course, we all have to do unpleasant stuff in our free time sometimes, and we have to spend time doing emotion-neutral things like laundry and grocery shopping, but I don't want to spend what's left of my now decreased free time doing things I don't enjoy.

Here's what I enjoy doing: reading, spending time with family and friends, writing, baking, exercising, and watching movies.

I'd love to do more of all of these things, but then it would be at the expense of, well, some other of these things (I could read more and exercise less or vice versa), or at the expense of sleep, which I already don't get enough of. I suppose I could work less, but that would likely mean a lower-paying job, and that's something I'm even less willing to compromise.

So this has all been slogging around my head when a friend of mine invites me to a Landmark Education open house thing she's hosting. I originally thought Landmark was like Bridgepoint, or National University, or any other for-profit school. Then I read more about it an thought it sounded suspiciously like a cult. Then I did a Google search to see what I could find out about it from any other source than it's website. Mostly, people  have been saying it only appears cult-like, and it's really a program for figuring out how to get the most out of life. It sounds self-help-y/inspirational speaker-y, but it's apparently all about you.

But I still don't get it. I don't understand specifically what it does. There's no clear cut definition of what the program means by "living an extraordinary life," and the syllabus doesn't outline specific steps or actions. So while it sounds like the kind of thing where everyone would say, of course I want an extraordinary life, of course I want more fulfilling and deeper relationships, it still feels a little bit like a scam to me.

So, on the one hand, if this is helping my friend be happier and have a better life, I want to support her, but on the other hand, I don't want to go to her open house and be the one who's all, but I don't get it. I feel like that would make me even more of a target for all of the Landmarkians, because clearly I'm in even greater need of this program, since I don't understand it at all.

But what it really comes down to is, I don't want to go. I like my friend, but I don't really feel the need to meet a bunch of her other friends, and I'd rather spend my time reading, or sleeping.

I feel like my life is already very full, and at the same time, I'd enjoy it a lot more and be less crabby if I got more sleep, but then I'd have to cut down on something I enjoy doing. Who came up with this system?

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