I started this blog to provide stories about how I navigate my higher education. I think that it is important to have some level of transparency because we all experience things differently. I hope that some of these stories give peace to those who follow or words to what others might be feeling.
I literally have not written in two months. At one point, I would have blamed it on my schedule, studies, and work; however, the honest truth is that I have not protected my time for making or creating. I am a creator and an artist who has gotten so lost in the noise of my environment that I deserted my inner creative.
Scheduling and planning things has become a top priority for me. It is a skill that I have been developing for years and is unique to the individual. I value scheduling the personal and informal just as I do the professional and formal. I do this because it is important to create, maintain, and sustain boundaries.
As we age, our lives get more complicated; therefore, maintaining space for yourself is key to your well being. We naturally prioritize things that are important to or urgent for us. For me, I value art making, singing, dancing, cooking, and baking. These might come in the form of me getting lost in painting, creating a PowerPoint, writing a paper, or headlining my own karaoke performance in my apartment (sorry, not sorry neighbors). For others, it is important for you to identify what you enjoy most, what recenters you, what helps you breathe a little better, and stand a little taller. These priorities will look different for everyone and appear differently in different seasons of your life. However, since these things are super important to me, I schedule them to ensure that no one or no thing else can interfere with my joy.
For example, when making plans with friends in undergrad, I would pull out my calendar on my phone to confirm whether or not I was truly open. There have been times where I would say, “I actually have Zumba from 5-6 on that night, so we can meet before then or I can find you all afterwards.” Even now, as I teach, I often have students who want to make up assignments outside of the time allotted for them. Recently, I discussed trying to find time for a student who needed a make up and having limited options for them with coworkers. As my coworkers inquired about my schedule, I realized that they were trying to gauge my work or study obligations (which were definitely present); however, I was more concerned that this make up would interfere with my joys that I prioritized and scheduled in advance. These things are so important to me that I will not move them, but I will carve out time around them if needed.
As I write this, I sense that some of you might think this is selfish. Which I would answer yes, I am concerned with my own personal pleasure and I would hope that you are too. For me, in the words of Drake, I’m here for a good time, not a long time. I do my best to eat, sleep, and move well but I also want to be having fun while I do it. In a sense, the students who ask to rearrange plans are also being selfish, because they have prioritized something else that is more important to them than the work for my class which they committed to. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with protecting my time and space necessary for me to be happy…necessary for my inner creative.
As we near the end of this academic semester, I imagine that I will be more aware of protecting my creativity and writing to you all more frequently. I have fallen out of my habit to protect my art making space and will be sure to schedule more consistent time for it in the future. I hope that you do as well!