Off and on I’ve talked on here about the importance of consistency in building and maintaining habits. It’s why I write everyday, even if it’s just a sentence or two, because it helps me stay focused on my goal to become a better writer. If you want to become anything, it all really comes down to programming the habits needed to achieve that thing into your daily life. Not waiting for something move you to action. Inspiration is simply a matter of breathing in: inspiring. Mnemosyne will be waiting at the end of exhalation.
As I built the consistency of my writing habit over the past year and a half, I got used to the rhythm of things going on in the rest of my life. Since I woke up at the same time everyday, my morning routine was something I could do with my eyes closed (which sometimes happened after late nights). Lunch was already decided for me, since I ate school lunch with the students. That surprisingly prevented decision fatigue as the day went on, since I knew I would be getting a healthy meal no matter what each day, I didn’t spend time beating myself up if I chose to eat a slightly less healthy dinner. And throughout each day, I knew I would have a break time during which I could focus solely on writing, as long as I got my classes prepped. Once I heard that 5:00pm citywide chime, I knew it was about time for me to head home. When I got there, I’d type up whatever I had written that day and prepare for dinner.
That was my flow. It was by no means dull and repetitive; I taught over 500 students a week, each with their own eccentric personalities. But with everything sort of in the same place, school starting and ending at the same time, lunch, breaks, etc.; I knew when I could write. So I always made sure I got something done during those times.
I didn’t realize how important having repetition in certain parts of life was in staying consistent with habits. So since this move to Tokyo, I’ve been going through what seems like a month-long phase of adjustment.
Some days are filled with classes that come close to exhausting all my energy. I hurry in between lessons to scarf down a conbini bento for lunch just to keep alert. Other days have less classes and a longer break time for lunch. Yet even then I sometimes still feel beat because of the long travel times between the studio and home. My earliest class is at 10:00am. Yet with time needed to prep and get to the studio I find myself waking up around the same time I woke when I was back in Ibaraki, but getting home sooooo much later. What did I sign myself up for?!
Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. I just don’t think I was as ready as I thought I was. I value time so much. I see it as the only tool I have to build the life I want to live. And with no significant breathing space between my last job and the start of this one, I felt that my time was extremely violated.
Now I do my important reading on the way to work instead of at home. On busy days I hope to get a seat on the train at night so I can write on the way home. These adjustments have taught me how to value my time even more, and to be more decisive, because simply I don’t have the luxury to wander through the supermarket without knowing what I need to get.
T I M E
It is really everything, and the only thing we got while we’re here. I’m not at the point where I can do what I’m passionate about 24/7 and not have to worry about money. But until I get there, I damn sure won’t let my source of income get in the way of the future. And if you’re in the same boat, I want you to feel the same way. The Time for YOU is there. Don’t waste it.