I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.
Strapping on my watch always helps me get into a working-world frame of mind. I don’t wear a watch at home; watches are for keeping track of time during a training and making sure we stay on schedule. During trainings, I usually preface our breaks by saying, “Okay, we’ll do a 15-minute break. It’s 10:25 right now, so be back by 10:40.” Then, at 10:40, I make sure we’re really going again. If people are off answering emails on their smartphones, we start anyway, because I’m a firm believer in sticking to the schedule. We start on time, and we almost always finish early. During the training, I keep an eye on my watch while the other trainer is talking, too, and I’ll help her keep on time (solicited help that we agreed upon ahead of time).
Some participants have commented that they find this overly controlling, seeing me as a time Nazi, with no flexibility in the schedule. But other participants have given me positive feedback for the very same behavior; these people are probably on-time type people themselves, and they appreciate adherence to advertised times. Personally, I believe in adhering closely to the schedule as a way of respecting the participants’ time. Most of them are teachers with 10,000 responsibilities, of which my training is just one — often one they don’t even want. By finishing on time or early, I feel like I’m able to help acknowledge that shared reality.
When I’m not working, though, I leave the watch on my desk. My phone — the watch replacement for many people — stays on the counter. I don’t keep an eye on the time at all, unless I have an appointment. Even then, sometimes I’ll set a timer rather than always watching the clock.
We have this societal agreement to divide time into all these discrete units: Years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, and even smaller if you want to go there. That’s a handy convention, sure, but I want to just live, and let time take care of itself. This moment won’t ever come again. If I don’t live in it because I’m anticipating another moment, I’ve sacrificed something irreplaceable.
I get to practice this philosophy from here on out, because I had to cancel the training schedule for this week due to a forecast of “wintry mix” for tonight and Thursday in the Tri-Cities. Mixed snow and rain, followed by freezing fog: Not safe conditions for doing a bike class.
So my week, which looked busy, suddenly emptied out. I’m feeling let down and bummed out, because I looked forward to and was all prepared for this last training. I packed up the car and everything. We canceled 15 minutes before I had to leave the house. This was the last training until March, when a few school districts need last-minute training; then the grant ends after March, leaving me once again unsure about my future.
The big question is: What next? The big answer: It’s a mystery. I’m going to let future Katie worry about it, while present Katie lives in this moment.