The other day, I did something that for some unfathomed reason, I
should have done much earlier. I started to reflect on why I am so bad
at my own time management. I guess there are several reasons that
yield this tragic result, because just a brief moment of reflection
clearly indicated that my problem with time management is complex.
The most urgent objective, of course, is to to find better solutions
to the dire consequences that come from having less than ideal time
management skills in difficult situations.

I am not sure how much I intend to blog about it, since many of the
reasons seem to be complicated emotional stuff, rather than any lack
of awareness of time management tactics. It just struck me though, as
I wrote the last sentence, that I should check out a few of those
best-selling self-help books to see if they suggest any time
management tactic that could be useful, but which I have not employed due simply to lack of awareness.

Take today. I went to the library to look up certain topics for my
research work, which is terribly late at this point. Every time I
remember just how late my research work is, this profoundly
uncomfortable feeling of dreadful anxiety just settles in and ruins
whatever good mood I was in, making me pose the question once again,
“What on heaven am I going to do to pull this research project off
before the end of the semester?” Yesterday I spent a good amount of
time thinking about how I could change my original research plan so
that I could actually finish it reasonably in time, plus do the other
courses and job work that I have to do. Monstrous overload.

So today I had the whole afternoon to stay at the library and
research. So, what thought immediately comes into my mind? “I bet they
have books to learn Latin here!”

You see, as I may have blogged before, I love Latin. It is the most
beautiful language I know of and I fell in love with it some time
ago. I have never learned more than a tiny introduction to Latin a
couple years back, because this is like a total luxury for my “usually
lacking in time and money to do all kinds of leisure things” life.

So here I was, all upset and anxious that I am late, again, not mildly
late, not “it won’t be so hard to catch up late,” but “what in the
world am I going to do” late. I need time to just sit down and work on
my research project. Day after day after day. And what do I
immediately think about? “Where is the shelf with the Latin books, I
wonder?”

How is it possible to live this life? Immediately after my Latin thought pops up, an internal struggle ensues.
“Just one quick look.”
“No,” says the other side, “I am late, I need to work, to concentrate, to focus.”
“I have the whole afternoon to look at the other books.”
“I am getting so anxious with my lateness, that it is affecting my productivity, this is irresponsible.”
“I’ve wanted to learn Latin for some time and never had the chance.”
A child’s joy that comes from lovely expectation spreads through me thinking about getting the beginner’s Latin book. This is immediately followed by the dread of being so late and the sadness of spending the entire afternoon wading through dry, dismal stuff. Both sides battle, different emotions combatting each other, until I make my way to the Latin book shelf, a delighted smile barely showing on my lips.

Non ego jam cum Dyonissi tyranni vita – qua tetrius, miserius,
detestabilius excogitare nihil possum – is the result. This is the
beginning of some Cicero oration. Isn’t this gorgeous: “qua tetrius,
miserius, detestabilius excogitare nihil possum”? Ah, the power of
Latin to articulate those words. Gorgeous.

(French translation: Pour moi, je ne vais pas comparer avec la vie du
tyran Denys, par rapport à laquelle je ne pourrais imaginer rien de
plus affreux, de plus misérable, de plus abominable)

Back to the horrors of real life. I am late. Ugh.

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