We voted!

Okay, I mean, obviously only I voted. But still — Will got to be a part of it all. The next time we have a presidential election he’ll be old enough to understand some of it! (That being said, ugh. I do not look forward to 2016. I find presidential elections exhausting in their pervasive negativity, and I look forward to waking up one day soon and not being told that my political opinions make me a terrible person.)

Getting out to vote is the first time we’ve left the house since church on Sunday! Yesterday Will came down with some sort of stomach bug that kept us away from our usual Monday afternoon routine of hanging out at Auntie Leah’s house with Sophie. He seems to be on the mend, thankfully, but it was pretty pitiful.

He loves that basket more than any of his toys.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I spend my time, particularly in the evening. Usually this comes up because I look at the clock after dinner and suddenly it’s 9:30 p.m. and I have just whiled away two hours playing around on my iPad, half-watching whatever’s on the Discovery channel and eating ice cream. Here is how I want to spend my evenings:

  • working on knitting projects
  • ridding the house of unneeded clutter
  • reading
  • writing
  • baking, cooking, canning, etc.
  • Bible study (instead of reading it on my iPad at 11:00 p.m.)
  • actually paying attention to what’s going on around me
  • maybe even practicing yoga!

… so obviously, I need to get myself into gear a bit. During the day I feel like I keep up with things pretty well, especially now that Will is starting to settle himself into a somewhat predictable two-naps-a-day routine. But the evenings? It’s funny that I have a hard time doing things that I find productive in the evening, because the above list (except for maybe the purging clutter part) is comprised entirely of things I enjoy doing! — I think I am just kind of stuck in a rut in this area. I’m stuck in the habit of not using my time wisely, and I want to break that.

I’ve been thinking lately about two quotes. The first is from Aristotle:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

and the other is the phrase how you do anything is how you do everything. — This may not be strictly true but I like to keep it in mind when I’m tempted to cut corners on things that matter to me, or when I look up to find that the day is over and I not only have accomplished exactly nothing, but I haven’t done any of the things that will make me the person that I want to be.

Being who I want to be has turned in part into a works-based endeavor for me, based on that quote from Aristotle above. I won’t wake up one day and suddenly be different, so if I want to effect change in my life — more mindfulness, more patience, more wisdom, more productivity around the things that matter to me — I need to do this little by little, day by day, yes, even today, yes, even now. I have been taking those moments of lapsed patience and remembering that I am being refined. I am using those moments of idleness to remember that I have a choice in this.

So obviously this is about more than just wanting to be a little more productive after Will goes to bed. It’s about how I can use those choices to become more of the person I want to be — and less of a person who just sits back and lets life, as Paul Simon said, slip-slide away.

I’m writing about it here in part because I want some sort of accountability! I don’t have much to say these days because I haven’t really been doing much, and that causes my mind to just kind of idle like a car left running in neutral. So over the next few weeks I am going to share a bit about how I’m managing my time, how I am setting (and meeting!) my goals, and — in keeping with this year’s theme — how it impacts my overall happiness levels*.

So with that being said … I’ve got some laundry to fold, a kitchen to tidy, and the remains of the somewhat triumphant 2012 container garden to uproot — all during naptime. Onward!

* Happiness levels are pretty good, but they could be better. A stagnant heart and spirit do nothing to improve them, either.

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