Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unemployment, Priorities, and the Habits I've Formed

It's 2 months that I've been unemployed.  It's weird, I think this may be the longest I've ever gone without any specific responsibilities.  I've always either been in school or working, but for the past 2 months I've kinda been floating in a sense.  It seems like I've done nothing but at the same time like I've been non-stop busy.  Looking back over the past 2 months there's actually quite an array of things I've accomplished, but there's also been a lot of wasted time.
What struck me today, though, is the habits that I've formed.
In such a short period of time I've developed certain ways I go to bed, certain ways I wake up, certain ways I eat, certain ways I communicate with my family.  And they are unique, different from when I was working full-time.  Somewhat because time constraints are different and life goals are different and even my energy level and activity level are different.
What's even more interesting than the habits that I've formed (and how quickly I've formed them without even being consciously aware of them) is how hard it is to change them now.  I've come to realize some of them in the past week that are probably not the best habits to have (such as staying up til midnight every night on my computer instead of just going to sleep at 11 when I get tired...)

I've noticed that habits tend to form quickly around major life-style changes, so I typically set out with very specific habits that I want to form and very specific ways that I want to mold myself.
Part of the problem this time around was:
1) I did not know how long the state of unemployment would last, so it was hard to know what type of long-term habits to set up
2) My activities were very different from week to week (even day to day...) so habits I did try to start rarely lasted more than a week
3) I really had no long-term goals for this period of unemployment other than getting married, getting a job, and getting an apartment (not necessarily in that order...) so it led to a lot of unplanned time (which tends to lead to poor habits).  A note on this: I did have a lot of short-term things that I wanted to accomplish but I burned through most of that list in the first month.

So, why do I bore you with this long recounting of the past 2 months of my life as well as an assessment of my current state?
For one reason alone: Hopefully reading this has made you think a little about your life, about your goals, about your time management.  What types of habits do you have?  Are you living with habits from a previous "segment" of your life that are currently just bogging you down?  Do you know why you do those things you do?  Like that candy bar you're eating, or that hour you spent this morning trying to wake up, or the nap this afternoon, or the hour on facebook.  Do you do these things because of an accumulation of poor choices along the way?  Perhaps its time to get rid of some of the baggage, perhaps its time to reevaluate, perhaps its time to consider whether you've made habits for the things that are important in life.  Your children, your spouse, your spiritual development, sharing God's work in your life with others.

Sometimes we have to shake ourselves up a bit when life has settled in too much.  Sometimes we have to reevaluate and reassess why it is that we do the things we do.  And sometimes we have to make hard, real, and drastic choices to simply be different, to just not do the things that we've done and rather do something else.  To take off the old self and put on the new.  To conform our image not to our impulses and desires but rather to the image of Christ.

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