A couple months ago, I read a great article on how a super organized person decided to take a break from his “to do” list and enjoy some less structured time. It is really unfortunate that I cannot find the original article to reference here, because it was downright hilarious. The author wrote about how he usually planned his time to the minute. After reading about the potential benefits of relaxation and spontaneity., he decided to spend one day outside of his comfort zone of “to do “lists and try to enjoy some time off. This decision was immediately followed by him frantically thinking about how to best spend his time off. Basically defeating the purpose of the exercise of relaxation and spontaneity.
This week I feel the same way. My husband is attending a Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy retreat, where significant others are welcome to join the conference attendees at the resort. We first attended a Parker retreat this April. It was held at a luxury resort in Napa valley, and while my husband was attending the talks, I got a chance to hike, go to the gym and attend a spa. When he told me a few months ago that he is attending this meeting again this fall, I said – “I’m coming!”. This time we had to go to great lengths to arrange for childcare, but I was determined not to miss this opportunity to take some time off from the grunt work of daily life.
Similarly to the author I referred to earlier, I have put such great hope on these 3 days, that despite having complete freedom for a change, I did not know how to accomplish everything. It was borderline ridiculous in that I almost thought that my spa appointments would interfere with my productivity. To make matters worse (or better), around the same time I came across the concept of bullet journaling. On the one hand, it allowed me to plan my time off better. But on the other, it added more articles to my “to read” list for this mini-vacation. This is why, I decided to truncate my previous post, and break it up into 2 parts, as I still need to read up on bullet journaling and how it relates to other forms of notebook keeping. Stay tuned for Part II of this mini-series.
A few weeks ago, my daughter was invited to a birthday party at the Museum of Mathematics. There was a number of interesting puzzles, one of which I recognized as a puzzle that was given to us in 1st grade back in Russia. It tugged at my heartstrings. I clearly remember how our teacher would walk around the classroom and personally dump out and mix up the pieces on each student’s desk. The very first assignment was to make them all fit back in the box. I still remember the correct solution layout. When I was in high school, I recreated this puzzle from scratch for my favorite biology teacher, who also liked brainteasers. Surprisingly, he was able to come up with a completely different arrangement from the one I was taught. I guess there really is more than one way to skin a cat. Similarly, life can be organized in different ways as well.
Though in a lot of cases, the ever growing to do list feels more like this depiction of my daughter at the museum.