Old Habits Die Hard and How to Spend My Time

30 10 2010

I really enjoy running educational programming with Faces of Israel.  But I have a strong distaste for the publicity, marketing, e-mails and cold calls that go along with being an independent educator.  Lacking the manpower of a big organization is one of the main disadvantages of being a solo agent.

During a conversation with the president of Hillel International earlier this week, he mentioned that the organization would soon be launching a Center for Israel Engagement and is currently looking for a director.  My ears immediately perked up when I heard this.  To have the backing of the organization that I partner with so frequently, to direct my own center and to be the first person in the position and make it my own…  very tempting.  But I admit that I may have been more tempted by the title than anything else and – assuming that I could even land the position – why subject myself to a marathon of daily meetings and conference calls, not to mention waking up to an alarm early each morning?

I feel conflicted.  I realize that this position probably wouldn’t make me happy and I shouldn’t waste my time or theirs by polishing and submitting a resume and cover letter.  But then, how to spend my time?  I am loving dancing, but almost all classes and socials are in the evening – and would I really be content dancing full time anyway?  Yair recently read “The Joy of Not Working” and one of the things he gained from it was an exercise to create a visual layout of different activities that interest him currently, have interested him in the past, and a category of new things that he’d like to try.

But individual activities wouldn’t be enough for me.  I don’t just want to while away my time entertaining myself with hikes, dancing, good food, sound sleeps, interesting reads and TV shows.  I enjoy all of those things, but I need to balance them with something more meaningful.  Yair is able to wake up, take a look on the computer for interesting things to do and be content to plan his day on the spot.  I need to think out my plans and incorporate more structure and social interaction, or I’ll just stay in bed until my first commitment of the day.

People always wish that they had more free time to “get in shape” or “catch up on sleep” or whatever else.  I’m lucky enough to have all of the free time that I want, but now I’m faced with a much more challenging dilemma: how to spend it.

posted by ayo

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5 responses

31 10 2010
Talia

I hear you. I am definitely a person who needs structure and a plan, otherwise I end up wasting a lot of time. When I have two weeks off with no plan (especially, let’s say, if Matt is not also off), I tend to go a bit crazy. I do usually try to fill it up and work it out, but it’s a challenge for me. I’m usually much happier when I have a schedule. Sometimes I end up with too busy of a schedule and I have the opposite problem… but I definitely need some schedule. I don’t think full-time not working would work for me at this stage of life anyway – although I could potentially see being happy with a part-time work schedule to base my life around and in that situation I might be able to better enjoy and make use of the free time…

31 10 2010
Cherie @Technomadia

With your mad skillsets, your ambitions, your freedom, your desire for social time and your need for something more meaningful… I’d be looking for interesting volunteer opportunities. The volunteer work we’ve done as we roam has been some of the most rewarding moments of our travels.

31 10 2010
barbara j. levy

did you ever contact howie to follow up?

1 11 2010
Bill

Finding ways to meaningfully and productively fill my time is dilema numer one since we began our journey two weeks ago. I never thought I would be one who felt like he had to do something, but here I am. There are only so many walks through the woods or on the beach I can do before I feel like I’ve got to get down to “it”, whatever “it” is…

5 11 2010
amybetho

@Talia: I think that most people are ideally suited to part-time work. It gives people the outlet and opportunity to feel ‘productive’ or like they are contributing, but also affords enough luxury or free time to keep people sane. I wonder what positive and negative repercussions there would be to scaling most U.S. jobs back to a part time basis.

@Cherie: Thanks for the encouragement and I think you are spot on in connecting with volunteer opportunities. We’ll probably be heading down south soon and that will be a great time to keep my eyes open for meaningful work. What types of volunteer activities have been the most positive experiences for you both?

@Barb: Yes, Howie is keeping Faces of Israel in mind for an upcoming program. On an unrelated note, I was tempted to put an away message on my inbox as follows “If this message requires an urgent response, please mark it as such in the subject line. Otherwise, I will try to get back to you in the next 7-10 days” or maybe just “Please don’t e-mail me. Just come visit!” because I hate feeling chained to my computer and the e-mail messages that pile up. Yair didn’t think that was such a good idea. 🙂

@Bill: Just starting off, ey? There are incredible experiences awaiting you and I’m excited that you’re just at the start of your journey. I’m feeling less angsty with how to spend my time now that we will be leaving Reno in just a couple of weeks. Instead there are so many things that I’d like to do here and people I’d like to see that I’m relishing in making these choices and planning out my remaining days in town. I’ve found that, however silly, goals are important. Whether it’s volunteering and contributing to others in some way or working on a personal skill, goals will keep lethargy at bay – at least until you learn how to embrace a slower/different pace. And on an unrelated note, happy anniversary! Hope the East Coast is treating you well.

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