Countdowns.

Nearly one year ago, my friends and colleagues from HGSE were graduating. A big part of me was thankful that I had a second year to continue immersing myself in my grad studies. Yet another piece of me was feeling sad that I wasn't with them, graduating together along with the SSP 2014 cohort. As I watched the live-stream of the 2014 graduation online, I started a countdown on my office white-board ... 365 days until HGSE graduation. Then is was 299 days. Then 199. Then 99. And now? It's only 6 days away. 

I've always been one that keeps track of things, especially countdowns. Those who know me and/or work with me might say I'm a bit obsessive about it. Sure, it's fun (or perhaps annoying to some) and can be a light-hearted topic of discussion. But in reality, keeping a countdown is one way that I keep myself motivated and engaged with the goals that I've set. For example, when I was leading the planning of the ASO's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, I didn't think people were taking me seriously about the work and looming timelines, so I drew an oversized 90-day countdown calendar and posted it on my centrally-located office door. The next morning as my colleagues slowed a bit when passing by my door, yet from that point forward, planning for the grand opening festivities began in earnest.  

As time seemingly passes with an ever-increasing speed, I think we can all get overwhelmed with the amount of work that's in front of us. Yet it's in these moments that I think we should try to remind ourselves that we have likely made a choice to do all of these "things". We could have said no. Or we could have set another timeline. I actually crafted a speech for my communications class earlier this year about the disease of "being busy". Thought of another way, being busy can often be a crutch for avoiding our own thoughts - or rather, a dis-ease (or uncomfortableness) with having time that isn't filled. This is a topic that I've continued thinking and reading about since that speech. Frankly, I haven't yet met one person that isn't busy. But isn't that a good thing? We all have incredibly interesting lives filled with our own share of happiness, challenge, and inspiration. Shouldn't we consider it a luxury to have a choice for how we spend our time and energy?

So here I sit ... a list of seemingly growing "to-do's" are in front of me with only 12 hours until my family arrives in Boston, 6 days until graduation, 7 days until my recital / graduation reception, and 12 days until I leave for Asia. Sure, there's a lot to finish up and prepare for. But just the simple act of writing this blog has given me 10+ minutes to reflect, think, and slow down, if only for a moment. It's an important reminder that taking time for our own individual mental clarity (or sanity?) is critical to our wellbeing in every-day life.