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time

Life Is Short

By life

So I went out to a meeting of the Henrico County Historical Society yesterday. I’m one of the youngest members. Most, but not all, are over the age of 60. I really love local history, though, and am trying to recruit some younger members. Either way, I realized something big at yesterday’s meeting.

I was talking for a few minutes to two of the most elderly members, both of whom happen to be 84 years old. They’re two of the most interesting people I’ve met, mainly because they’ve been through and seen so much. I can’t even begin to imagine all the experiences they’ve had. They have lots of wisdom to share.

Anyway, the one thing I heard over and over yesterday was how they don’t feel like they’re as old as they are. They said it feels like they were just my age a short time ago. How scary is that? The common theme seems to be that life is really short. That notion inspired me to make the summer goals list that I posted last night. I’m gonna live it up to the best of my ability while I’m young. It already somewhat panics me that I’ll be 20 in less than a month. Seems like I just became a teenager, and I can only imagine that time goes by faster and faster the older you get.

This next span of years I’m about to head into, the twenties, seems to be the prime years of life, and I’m going to milk them for all they’re worth. Watch out, I’ve got some living to do and a plan to accomplish all I want to. Don’t stand in my way. I’m out to achieve my dreams.

Spontenaity: Outer Banks Day Trip

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Life is short. It’s the little things, the random things, the crazy things, and the fun things you remember the most. I had planned on going to Virginia Beach for the day with Allie, but we decided to veer off Interstate 64 and go down Highway 168 all the way to the Outer Banks. I know, we thought this was crazy at first just to go for the day, but let me tell you, it was well worth the drive (by the way, I clocked 526 miles total in my car today!).First we stopped in one of my all-time favorite restaurants for lunch in Kitty Hawk, The Black Pelican, a few mileposts south of the junction on Route 12 (the beach road). The food was excellent as usual. Afterwards, we headed south on 168 and stopped in Kill Devil Hills to climb Jockey’s Ridge. It’s the largest set of sand dunes anywhere on the eastern seaboard, and I’ve climbed them dozens of times, but I never get tired of it. Next, we grabbed a few things to take home from Kitty Hawk Kites across the street, then made our way north on 12 all the way to Duck. After finding no ice cream places open because it’s the off-season, we settled for donuts and bagels from Harris Teeter and took them with us and walked down to the beach for a few minutes, but it was a bit nippy out, especially with a brisk wind coming off the Atlantic. So we decided to head back down south to Barefoot Bernie’s for dinner. We both love this place and had to go back. They have the best seared ahi (sushi-like) tuna I’ve had anywhere. It was absolutely delicious. After that we drove over the bridge to Roanoke Island and through the quaint town of Manteo. It’s so peaceful and serene, yet so close to the busyness and action of the Outer Banks. I’d love to live there.

So by this time it was 7:00 (we’d been there since 12:30 and packed a whole of stuff in!). It was time to head back home, but it was cool that we were able to go all the way to the Outer Banks and do so many fun (even though somewhat random) things in one day.

I’m so glad we went here on a whim instead of just Virginia Beach. I know we had so much more fun than we would have in the first location. It also felt good to do all of this without any kind of plan whatsoever. I’m sick and tired of planning and scheduling things all the time lately, so it was nice just to not worry about anything and go where ever we felt like going, do whatever we felt like doing, and not even worry about what time it was all day long.

I think life is way too short to live inside the constraints and boundaries other people set up for you, especially when they’re driving you a little nutty. I think I’m going to start being more spontaneous and doing whatever more often. It’s just part of who I am and I’ve suppressed it for way too long.

More pictures from the trip will be uploaded to Flickr soon!

Time Management

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Pastor Rick gave what I thought to be one of his most inspiring messages ever today. It was all about time management. He’s done some great messages in the past and is probably the most impacting and inspirational speaker I’ve ever heard, but today his message really hit home.

In the service today, Pastor Rick gave a lot of great advice and wisdom about how to manage your time:

Evaluate your time priorities. This can be done (as I’m going to do) by keeping track of how you spend your time over the course of two weeks.

Busyness does not equal productivity. I am always busy with something or another. The whole week it seems I’m never free. But I’m finding that a lot of the time I’m not doing much of anything of any real worth or significance.

Establish time systems. This could mean many things. One example Pastor Rick gave was his own schedule. Every day, he gets up early in the morning and spends time in solitude praying and having study/research time to plan his messages. He’s also at home every night at 6:00 PM for dinner with his family. These two recurring events are set in stone in his weekly schedule, and are obviously very important to him. I need to figure out which things are the most important for me to do, and plan everything else around them on a recurring basis like he has done. Having set things to do at set times and days also makes it easier to say no to people when they ask you to do something, and that’s a big thing for me. I find it hard to tell people no when they ask me to help with or commit to doing something.

Eliminate time wasters. As you’ll read below, I’ve already gotten rid of a lot of my time wasters, but this is something I really need to work on more. Pastor Rick spoke about how you should delegate what’s important and find new ways to use wasted time, such as reading or catching up on something that needs completing when you’re waiting (for example at a doctor’s office).

I have some of the worst skills when it comes to time management out of anyone I know. I always have really good intentions of getting lots done, being productive, and accomplishing everything I need to do. In fact, despite my lack of priority-based planning, I have one of the most immaculately-organized iCal calendars ever (that picture is a screenshot of how my iCal looks on a weekly basis). It’s broken up into sub-calendars, the main ones being home, school, and church. I have everything from my classes at VCU to my weekly breakfast with Tori and dinner with Jen. From the looks of it, you’d think I was one of the most organized people ever, right? Not so much.

So why doesn’t it all work out in the nice, structured way it seems to by looking at my iCal? There are a couple of reasons. First off, I don’t seem to be able to stick to what should be my top priorities. It’s sometimes out of stress, lack of will power, tiredness, or sheer laziness. Other times it’s because something fun comes up and I end up going out with friends. All I know is I need to increase the amount of time I spend doing some things, reduce others, and maybe even completely eliminate a few. Most things are fine in moderation, I just need to find the right balance.

Sometimes the time I allot to certain tasks ends up getting wasted because I’m multitasking while I should be focused on a singular goal. I also get distracted (and spend too much time on) my Mac and iPhone. The biggest distraction involving both devices? Facebook. Up until today, I had a ridiculous connection to Facebook. On my computer, there’s a desktop program that flashes a little box in the upper right hand corner of my screen notifying me when someone writes on my wall or does some other action on my profile, I get an email with the same information, and then a text on my phone. Sometimes the Facebook email also goes to my phone. Now before you send out the “whitecoats” to haul me off to the nut farm, please understand that some of these notifications were in place from the time I first registered my Facebook account (almost two years ago), for example the emails. I just added one thing at a time and now I’m at this ludicrous level. I’m happy to say that as of today, I’ve completely eliminated all of my Facebook notifications on both my Mac and iPhone, turned off incoming email to my phone, and turned off the new mail notification sound on my computer so I don’t automatically open my email client and read it as it comes in.

In summary, here’s what I plan on changing with my schedule starting this week:

  • Allot more time to studying, working productively at church, and exercising
  • Spend less time on the computer, doing less-than-productive things, eating out, and not necessarily hang out with friends every night
  • Come up with the best balance of school, work, volunteering, and fun

I’m excited about finally getting a handle on my life and make time for the things I need to do and be able to accomplish so much more.

90s Night With Jen

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So Jen and I ended up having what turned out to be 90s Night. After dinner we came back to my house because she wanted to burn some CDs. Well, we ended up making three 90s music CDs (and one country and rap, too). There’s just something about the 90s that I’ll never forget. I guess it was just the time span of my life when there wasn’t a care in the world and the world just seemed like this big, expansive, wondrous place, and time just stood still. The music brings all of these memories back very vividly. So we wrote some of our favorite 90s catchphrases on the CD (well Jen did, and I just laughed at how great they were). Among our very favorites were “all that and a bag of chips, “eat my shorts,” and “I got the pasties.” Now that last one sounds like some kinda nasty disease or something doesn’t it? It’s really not. All it means is your mouth is dry or you’re thirsty. Just awesome.

It was awesome getting to hang out with Jen, because it seems like we never get to that much lately, and if we do, it’s at Shafer and, well, as Jen puts it, “That’s always a real treat!” Shafer food, although decent at times, is never anything to rave about. Anyway, we both had a lot of fun and I’m really excited for summer because this is the kind of fun we get to have all the time.

As an interesting side note to 90s music, when we look back at this decade, what will we call it? It seems everyone is so reluctant to call it the 2000s. For example, you hear radio stations like Mix 103-7 saying they play “the best mix of the 80s, 90s, and today.” So does that mean if they kept that format, a few years down the road they’d be saying they play “the best mix of the 80s, 90s, and yesterday?” It’s just funny that nobody seems to refer to this decade as anything. It’s almost as if our decades have lost their distinction. Look at the 60s, 70s, and early 90s. They all had very distinct clothing and hair styles, music, and cultures in general. The mid 90s through today, in my opinion, has seen very little change. For the most part things aren’t drastically different than ten years ago. There were no crazy hair styles that have since been tamed, no disco music that has now been updated, etc. like there would have been in decades past. Things have just kind of mellowed out and follow the status quo. Does anyone agree with this? Also, what do you think this decade will be called once we enter the next one? 2000s? Maybe 00s? Chime in and leave me a comment.

The Value Of Time

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Pastor Rick started a new message series entitled Time a few weeks ago, and I’ve got to say it’s probably the most impacting series he’s done to date (and he’s done a lot). The first week he talked about just how quickly life goes by. He made several analogies comparing your age with the time of day. I don’t remember exactly the ages and times he referenced, but if you take the waking hours (8:00 AM – 11:00 PM), if you’re 15 years old it’s about 10:30 AM. If you’re 30 it’s 12:00 noon. If you’re 50 it’s around 7:00 PM. Scary, huh? Time passes by more quickly than most of us realize. Today, Pastor Rick talked about how you should invest your time in things that have an eternal value and in things that will have a long-lasting impact.

All this got me thinking about just how funny time is. Sometimes I’ll do something and a few days later think that it feels like it’s been a week or two since I did it. Then, some event that comes around only once a year, take Christmas for example, and I feel like it just happened and the year flew by. It’s funny how different people perceive time in different ways.

One of the most interesting things Pastor Rick said is that people get along (or don’t) and associate with one another based on their time style. Some people prioritize their schedule. Others schedule their priorities. I’m definitely the first style (and sometimes I don’t have them in the right order at that) and I’m trying to become the second. It’s difficult, but I know I can do it if I keep at it.

To find out more about the Time series, visit www.highimpactliving.com.

One Semester Down, Changes For The Next

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So my first semester as a college student was officially over last night after I took my history final. I think I did pretty well on my exams, but I know I still could have done better in terms of grades. Not horrible, but I had a lot on my plate between adjusting to college, working at church, and having a part-time job. I’m going to seriously consider the effect working has on school before I decide where I’m going to work next semester. I need to pick a place with flexible hours and good pay (so I can work fewer hours but make the same amount of money as I would in an average-paying job- does that sentence even make sense?).

Anyway, I’ve come to realize several things this semester. Not having much time to do anything besides what I mentioned above, I realized just how much I value free time. I got so burnt out that once I took a week off, such as I did from the church, I not only saw all of the stuff I had neglected to do for months and decided to get it done, but I also decided to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and just chill out. Moreover, what I really realized was that I just want to live a little and be a college student. I have the rest of my life to slave away at work (well hopefully I’ll be doing something I like), so I want to live it up while I can. I’m going to seriously consider changing a lot of things next semester.

First off, not seeing many of my friends nearly as often as I did before has caused that area of my life to suffer, and I’m not willing to let that happen. Friendships are an integral part of life and with schedule conflicts caused by all that I did last semester, I lost touch with some people that I’ve been friends with for years.Secondly, I don’t even do anything with several hobbies I had before. I have run a local history website (that I haven’t updated in a year) since 2001. This is the first time I’ve let that slip in seven years. I also have a history exhibition out at Field Day of the Past that I’ve done since 2002. This was the first year I didn’t set up my display because it’s a huge undertaking (the displays take up the whole tailgate area of my Xterra from floor to ceiling) and I just didn’t have the energy after the week I had.

There are plenty more things I haven’t had the time or extra energy to do, like writing, doing some graphic design and video projects I’ve wanted to, and on top of everything else I’m not going to let my school work suffer anymore either. To quote the lyrics of a song by Bruce Hornsby, next semester “there’s gonna be some changes made.” I’ve got to balance things out more. I’m amazed I’ve even kept my blog updated on an (almost) daily basis.