one hundred and sixty-eight hours.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Somewhere between the social media fast of January, the insanity we Westmont students call "Spring Sing," picking my graduate school program, turn 22, designing, researching and writing a 28 page research paper on the rhetoric of social media, and the mundane day-to-day routines of a college senior, this beloved space of the internet slipped from my mind.

I call it beloved, because it is. This tiny space of the internet, found at it's self-explanatory address, is my corner of the world wide web I've called "home" for over five years. Half of my high school experience, all of my undergrad years, this little estate on the internet carries of a lot of me. It's time I give it the dedication it deserves. This is an apology for not posting more regularly this semester, now that I'm at the three week mark before summer, and before graduation.

The last time I wrote, it was February. The winter olympics had just begun, and my workload for the academic semester was just getting into full swing. And here we are now, at the finish line. Three weeks out before I stand on the baseball fields in a crisp black graduation gown, nervously playing with the tassel on my cap, before my name is called out and I walk across that stage to receive a piece of paper that somehow encompasses the past four years of my life - the past four years of sleepless nights, miracle exams, textbooks that drained my bank account, a desk covered in notebook paper scribbled with information seeping it's way into my brain.

Four years of friendships and trips to McConnells, four years of sitting in a chair/desk contraption that was uncomfortable no matter how many times you shifted your weight or crossed your legs, four years of trekking from the mailstops to Armington, back up to Kerrwood and then to Emerson, only to come back down to the dance room for another night of practice. Four years of God teaching me more than I thought I could ever know, four years of the Holy Spirit moving in my life, molding me, shaping me, leading me towards what the next four, ten, and twenty years will hold.

The next three weeks will not pass by any slower than the last. Hours are constant, even if we feel as though they fly by, like when we take a trip to an amusement park, or slowly tick by, like when we sit in a class we wish we wouldn't have signed up for. Reminding myself that our conception of time measurement is a constant have helped me cope a lot with this semester. This semester has been packed with absolutely everything I could have imagined. My academics have not been as stressful as in the past, but I've joined various committees, been working with the Provost, dancing with NSTEP, and trying to stay intentionally present with all of my friends that may not be around with me next year.

When I sit at my desk on a Sunday night, after dance practice, before I head off to bed, I take a fine-tipped black pen and open my planner to the upcoming week. Marking in ink all that I have to do, all that needs to get done, all the meetings that must be attended, all the assignments that must be turned in, and pretty soon a blank week is filled with black scribbles. Even neatly and organized as it looks on the surface, it never ceases to slightly overwhelm me. "How will I get everything done?" The thought will linger in my mind for longer than I would like. I try to plan out my days down to the minute, in order to get all that needs to get done, done in a timely manner.

But the fact remains, that time is constant. Hours do not stretch themselves out in the midst of an extremely busy week, nor do they skip chunks of minutes during a slow week. Weeks go by in 168 hours, this week, last week, next week, and the weeks after that. Never will a week consist of more than 168 hours, never will one have less than that.

The biggest revelation I have come to understand, accept, and practice over the course of this last semester at Westmont, was that even though every single week has 168 hours – there is no requirement to fill all of them. 168 hours should not equal 168 hours of work. It should be a combination of work, and play, and reading and walking, and chatting with friends in the DC, maybe sitting on the rock outside of the library for an hour and just watching the sky. 168 hours is a week, but what you do with those hours determines how you will remember that week. How you will feel about that week. A week full of work does not always make me feel great. A week of work, and spontaneous play, a week where I went to McConnells for half-off Wednesdays instead of studying for an exam, or a week spent rehearsing for Spring Sing till the wee hours of the morning makes for a memorable week. And weeks worth remembering are the best kind of weeks.

I want to have a good last three weeks of college.

Yes, there is still work to do. There will always be work to do. But learning how to weave the work within your play, creates a balance that is so desperately needed in our world today. Even the conscious decision to go to Starbucks on a Saturday morning, when I'm usually in the library with a stack of books and assignments for the weekend, is a way to "play." No homework, just my computer, my journal, and a tall vanilla macchiato. Well needed space to just write. Something that has been given the backseat during a work-filled semester.

So perhaps a good goal for the upcoming new season of my life is to dedicate part of my 168 hour weeks to writing. To "playing" with words that seamlessly come in and out of my mind. I didn't know prior to starting this post that I would be writing on the concept of time and the 168 hour weeks we have.

That's what I love about this blog, my beloved estate on the interwebs. I never plan out what I'm going to write. To those of you who have been reading my work for a while, this might come as a surprise. But it's true. Planning out what I'm going to write seems to defeat the purpose of why I love writing on this blog. It's my little act of spontaneity, and it's been a constant in my life for so long.

It deserves a place in at least a few of the one hundred and sixty-eight hours I'm blessed with per week.

What deserves a place in your one hundred and sixty-eight hours?

Blessings on the final weeks of school, friends.