Revised Resolutions: Being Kinder to Yourself

January’s end is already in sight and everywhere people are either succeeding in their resolutions, have already failed, or are trying their best to resurrect them after having a third slice of cake for the day. My January started off a bit unexpectedly, but in a good way, as I have been able to spend more time with my family as I thought I would be able to. However, I have also not done everything I had set my mind to doing. At about the same time I then read this post on hustling and wasting time by Jon Acuff and I once again came upon this quote while listening to the audiobook of The Screwtape Letters* – one of my favourite books – by C.S. Lewis:

“You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to him employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.”

How often when it comes to hustling on our goals do we fall into the trap of thinking of all time as something we own and need to split up into distinct slices that we must guard jealously? And by this I don’t mean a normal routine, but not being able to let go of a routine if and when it is necessary.

This happened to me during a previous weekend. While I had planned a weekend filled with family and studies, it turned out to be a weekend of family… and sleeping. And not feeling too great the whole of Sunday (hence all the sleeping). I enjoyed immensely the time I spent with my family, but felt bad that I did not get to all of the studying I was supposed to had planned to do after the visit. Not to mention the writing I also wanted to do. And I kept on beating myself up for it even while lying on the couch with a massive headache and not being able to concentrate on anything. And when I went to work and, you know, had to work, and then afterwards catch up on everything I missed the weekend, I felt even worse.

And then I realised how silly I was being for putting so much pressure on myself and berating myself when what I had been doing had not been wasting time. I had spent some lovely time with my family even though a 3-hour nap became part of the visit (apparently I needed it) and I did as much studying as I could in my state afterwards. I had done what I could and if anyone else had told me that they had failed I probably would have told them that they were being silly.

So maybe one of my not-so-New-Year-resolutions should be to not be so hard on myself. To hustle as much as I can when I am able to, but not to think that the 24 hours I have in a day must necessarily be spent working and hustling and going according to some grand plan I have in my head when something else is telling me to slow down or take a day off.

That said, I still have to remember that binge-watching a TV show just because I am feeling lazy instead of doing something more productive with my time is quite another thing altogether!

* The Screwtape Letters is one of his Christian books, but I do not think that you need to be a Christian to enjoy it or even learn anything from it. I can really highly recommend it.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.