I love calendars! I have 4 monthly calendars on my walls at home, 2 at each of my office desks, plus I have 2 Google calendars. Then, I have 11 schedules (that obviously include dates) for the 11 youth programs I run throughout the week. Some say I’m obsessed, others say I’m really organized… but I know the truth.
I am so overwhelmed by life.
I work 2 jobs, 6 days a week. And being a Youth Worker means that my work rarely stays at work. It follows me home as text messages from my teens, as an activity that requires more research, or as a problem that I need to keep thinking about until it’s resolved.
But besides being a workaholic, I’m also a wife, daughter, sister and friend. And that’s how I’ve prioritized it.
Most of my free time goes to my husband; we watch TV, go grocery shopping and try to give each other our undivided attention. Oh, and we try to go out for dinner when we remember to leave the house. Being a wife also means I should probably clean my house every once in a while. Thankfully, my husband is in the running’s for the title “Best Husband in the World” so he takes on all the cooking, all of the dish washing, most of the tidying, and helps me clean the house. I could probably spend all my free time with this guy, because he’s that great, but then I get a text message from my mom.
Right, I’m also a daughter. And not just any daughter, I’m the only daughter! This is a very special title. Because of this, my mom and I are best friends (mom, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now). I need to talk to my mom quite regularly to make sure that we’re both okay. And though my mom and I rarely see eye to eye, we are still a constant in each other’s lives. And I know that a big part of our sanity is owed to our relationship. So I try to have weekly phone conversations with her and see her at least once a month. That sounds terrible, but this is my reality.
My brothers and I grew up very close and I consider them my very best friends too. But their schedules are more hectic than mine. So instead of actually talking to them, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I wish I was talking to them… or being vexed that we’re not talking. When we finally do talk, it’s never enough time because we’re only squeezing in a call while driving or on the bus or as we’re about to run out of the house.
And finally, as my eyelids begin to close and I slowly surrender to my bed, my phone lights up. Because I am someone’s friend! And everyone is still awake because it’s not even 10:00pm.
I don’t have a lot of friends. And this is definitely on purpose. There was a point in my life when I actually told people that our friendship was over. They were unhealthy relationships where I felt unappreciated, used and belittled. I still mourn most of the relationships, but I know I made the best decision. Because now the handful of friends I have are wonderful. Unfortunately, I don’t make any time for them.
I spend a lot of time thinking about them. But that doesn’t seem to be the best way to maintain friendships. Especially when it doesn’t come with a lot of action. It takes me quite a long time to answer text messages and I pretty much NEVER answer my phone or return calls. It’s actually a joke that I even have a phone.
A couple weeks ago, one of my friends called me Tuesday at 10pm, Wednesday at 9am and then Wednesday at 8pm. I was so embarrassed. This is definitely not how you let people know that you value their friendship.
I am thankful that these girls are very understanding and patient. But I am worried that one day they’ll give up on me. And the reality is that I do need them. I need their listening ear, advice, support, encouragement and silliness. And I want them to be a part of my life and I a part of theirs.
But how can I do this in my very hectic life? How do other people juggle all their relationships in their life?
This year, I’ve decided to schedule in my friends. I feel like a TV character. With one of my girls, we’ve scheduled a date every 4th Sunday of the month. We’ve added the date to the calendar in our iPhones and promised that come rain or shine, we will see each other.
Today will be our first planned date and I am so excited.
As a Trinidadian who has only been in Canada for 2 years, my husband does not understand schedules. He didn’t know that people actually used calendar apps until he came to Canada. He finds it very abnormal to have to schedule a date with your friends. He comes from a place where you live in community with people in your life; where time is not their master.
I don’t believe that following so many schedules is the way to live. And I look forward to the day when I don’t need to write down every minute of my life.
But I know that if I don’t plan my life, I’ll miss out on it.