Scheduled Family Time

Earlier this week I was at a family dinner. The strange thing about it is that while this dinner was at my house and my family was there, so was my mom’s best friend, her two sons + one of their wives, and my boyfriend. This family dinner was also the first I’ve had with my actual nuculear family in a long while. Planning for this evening got me thinking about family time together and why it seems like it is something that must be scheduled in iCal.

I have 9 calendars in my iCal. NINE. I don’t use all of them on the daily, but generally organize the things going on in my life into the following categories; Work (@ the hospital), Work (@ the store), Personal, Health, Family Events, Social Events, Campus events (I guess I need to delete this one), and my mom’s calendar- which I subscribe to, which sucks because she doesn’t use categories. All of these categories of things that I must do in my life really get in the way of me doing things spontaneously. Managing my schedule is something that I have become a master at, but fitting something into my calendar is difficult. This is just hitting me now- “fitting in” my friends and family isn’t really where I wanted to end up with all of this scheduling stuff.

I have always carried an Agenda. I remember my first one from when I had to have been in 5th or 6th grade. It was an American Girl Agenda with a three ring binder style clasp and a bendable plastic case on the outside. I scheduled my playdates and play practice. I didn’t have a lot going on in my life, but somehow found my agenda to be worth my time. As I grew, my agenda grew with me. I used the $5 school planner they sold in middle school and even used one for freshman year of high school but then stared finding out what kind of agenda I liked and got pickier. Now it seems that agendas are the popular thing to have- everyone seems to be returning to the “little black book” style of planning their life. There are planners that cost anywhere from $4-$100 on the market (that I am aware of). And for what?- to spend time planning your life and then hoping to find a little sliver of time in there to spend with the people you actually like and want to spend time with? I don’t think so. I feel challenged to make my planner an opportunity- I’ll still fill in the things that are Must-Do’s, but everything else is simply not as important as the time that I have to spend with the people I want to spend it with. If I skip a yoga class or a wax appointment my world will not crumble- but this life of squeezing people into little 1-2 hour increments of my life isn’t going to work for me.

In retrospect, this dinner has me thinking about the way we feel when we’re in the “groove”- that feeling where time stands still because the moment(s) you’re in are that juicy-good. I didn’t check my phone the entire time we had guests- there was no one I needed or wanted to talk to that wasn’t physically present. When we were eating, there were ten of us around my dad’s massive patio table and conversation was so easy- somehow ten people were in the same conversation together and no one was overpowering or removed. Catching up with old friends is one of the best things about growing up- you find yourself old enough to have old friends. I certainly enjoyed myself.

 

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