Going out on a weeknight on a last second whim with friends, spending money on $35 haircuts, going out for burritos twice a week, and sleeping in on the weekends seemed like the dream when I was in my 20s. Wasn’t that what I’d waited my whole life for? I can remember my 7th-grade battle cry saying that I was going to do what I wanted when I wanted when I was older. Well, fast forward to my twenties and I was doing just that.
As I was nearing my 30s, I was enjoying this lifestyle but wanted to get married and start a family. I meet my now wife a month before I turned 30. It was a long distance relationship (we were 3.5 hours apart) for 2 years. During those two years, I traded a lot of my free time for travel time, and I’m so glad I did.
We got married when I was 32. The transition from single-life to married-life was an adjustment for both of us. All of a sudden I had another person to be mindful of. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was just so used to doing things when I wanted (and how I have always done them). To add to the transition, we were blessed with our first child, Jude, within the first year of marriage.
Once our son was born, I could throw my 7th grade battle cry out the window. I was not doing what I wanted when I wanted. Instead, I was doing what my son wanted when he wanted it. It felt like my entire day consisted of reacting to what was thrown my way.
It was around this time that I first remember saying to myself “what did I do with all my free time”. If you are married and have one or more kids, you know what I am talking about. You wonder what you did before you got married and had kids and think about all the free time that you wasted back when you were single. Case in point, I have a jetski that I bought when I was single, I would take it out on the water on a whim.
Since I have been married, we have had it out once, right after we were married. Since then, we have made two other attempts. On our first attempt, we got to the lake to discover it was closed due to flooding. On the second attempt, we found out that the battery was dead. People always ask me if I am going to sell it since I don’t use it and it has low hours. My response is always the same, someday I’ll use it again. But doesn’t it look great sitting my garage?
So, you’re probably saying to yourself right now, when you have a spouse and kids, your free time is gone. That’s just life. Or, you’re saying to yourself that if you could make the time for “me time,” you would have by now. While I don’t know your specific situation, I can tell you that while looking at my current schedule, I still find areas of wasted time. I find myself watching TV shows that I could care less about, mindlessly surfing my social media accounts, and feeling restless at times. This restlessness stems from knowing there are things I should be doing but am avoiding because it seems overwhelming, I’m unsure how to get started, I’m unsure how to finish, or just simply don’t want to put in the effort and discipline it would take to accomplish these goals. I wanted to lose 50 pounds, read a book a month, and start a blog, to name a few. My restlessness subsided when I began tackling each of these goals. As the saying goes, “plan your work, and work your plan.”
In order to help me “plan my work, and work my plan”, my wife and I created a shared calendar on our phones. This doesn’t mean that my goal is to just add events to my calendar haphazardly. For example, I am writing this on a Tuesday night at a local coffee shop. Every Tuesday from 7 pm until 10 pm I have blocked off to work on the blog. The repeated day and time makes it easier for me to plan my work and then work my plan during that time. While Tuesday is not the only day that I work on the blog, it is one weeknight that I have now designated, and I don’t plan something else in its place.
Since I have been married, I have learned that my 7th-grade battle cry was just that, a 7th-grade mentality. While I am far from perfect and still find myself every now and then sitting on the couch after a long day staring at the TV, I have noticed that I have been able to check off more of my personal to-do items as I learn to plan my work and work my plan.