Investing Time

I spent time with my grandchildren yesterday afternoon and it was a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours on a comfortable summer afternoon. I am thinking now about accepting that invitation from Paul to watch the kids while he ran an errand. He asked Debbie first, as he typically does. She had her book club that afternoon so she was not available. He then asked me and I was glad to say yes, and did not hesitate to say yes. I believe I made the right choice and I enjoyed my time at their home with the children, and they with me. Their friend Selah was there and the three of them were quite busy with all kinds of play and therefore I could sit with Panda, the dog and do a little reading and occasionally ask a question of the kids or answer their questions.

Now, as I sit and reflect, I have no regrets about choosing not to work on a couple of sabbatical-related goals that I intended to accomplish. I was struck with a quote from Seneca, the Roman philosopher that relates a little to this situation.

“But how can a man learn, in the struggle against his vices, an amount that is enough, if the time which he gives to learning is only the amount left over from his vices? … We skim the top only, and we regard the smattering of time spent in the search for wisdom as enough and to spare for a busy man.”

Massimo Pigliucci quoting Seneca

I am not in any way implying that spending time with my grand kids is a vice. Though, I consider the challenge to me of how I choose to spend my time and that time is precious and that I can spend it working on learning to be a better me or I can squander the moments in other pursuits. Saying yes to helping my son and enjoying the company of grand kids for sure falls on the side of learning to be a better me. However, what else did I do on that day that did not advance that purpose? And I also ask myself why I chose to waste those moments.

The answer about how to invest my time in regards to my thinking about my sabbatical and my next steps at Fox is this.

  1. I will celebrate the freedom and refreshment and renewal that comes with my sabbatical.
  2. I will be diligent in defining my scholarly agenda and moving it forward.
  3. I will enjoy the non-sabbatical related projects and activities that I get to do.
  4. I will not be concerned about decisions that Fox is making or will make in my absence.
  5. I will accept the assignment that is given me upon my return.

This is a simple and straightforward approach. And I can see spending time with grandchildren fitting in nicely here. However, I need to also remember the overarching goal I have to better myself and others and that all of my sub-goals are to be related to that. Therefore, I am not going to be so goal-focused that I miss the forest for the trees. That is, at this point in my life, I can get all of my reading and writing done and still have time to converse with Debbie, to enjoy my kids and grand kids, to do something just for fun, and to listen to the breeze and the passing cars. It is all about where I am, in this moment.

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