Personal Update 201611 | 6 November 2016 | Sunday
I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update. As you’ll notice, this month’s newsletter is going out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.
I recently changed the theme of my website from Twenty Fourteen to Karuna which is a more modern yet simplistic theme.
On the home page, I now have three big buttons for the primary reasons people are contacting me: tech support, website design, and tiny houses. That way, when people land on my site they can quickly get to what they are wanting.
I really like the Karuna theme because it allows for full-width pages without a right column or left column with widgets. The entire page can be filled with the content of an article, photos, or embedded videos. With the Twenty Fourteen theme, and others, the content of a page is typically limited to a relatively narrow column of text, even when the right and left columns are removed. I like the clean presentation that allows a reader to focus on the writing without distractions.
No More Weekends, Just ‘Weekly Beginnings’
The idea of the weekend is embedded in our culture and is particularly significant for those working a normal Monday through Friday work week. The rationale is that we put in our work efforts during the week, and get a brief respite on Saturday and Sunday to unwind. Although for many people, the weekends are a time to catch up on everything at home you didn’t get done during the week.
Years ago, I embraced the idea of Saturday being the first day of the week rather than the last. That may seem like an inconsequential shift, but given the day’s significance in many religions and cultures, it can actually be a big change. According to some traditions, Saturday is a very significant day of rest. The world is said to have been created in 6 days, “and on the seventh day G-d rested.” There’s a lesson in that. Get your work done, and then rest.
So, in contrast to what popular culture would tell us, I began to think of the weekend as a day of restful preparation for the week ahead. Instead of collapsing on the weekend, and trying to decompress from a busy week, I began to think of Saturday morning as a brand new beginning of a new week.
The calendar on my computer shows the week beginning with Saturday and Sunday. My iPhone, iPad, and other devices also have the week beginning with Saturday as the first day.
This change in thinking is important to me because I like the idea of being forward thinking and beginning from a place of peace and rest before working. This isn’t a matter of putting rest before work, but of putting thought and reflection before work — creating a time of renewal and planning. It’s like starting the day with meditation and exercise, before trying to take on any big projects.
What happens when you make this mind shift is that you plan your weekend as a time of preparation for the week to come, rather than cleanup from the week that just was. You begin to think of things you can do, preventative and proactive things, for the week ahead. This is part of the reason for me wanting to send my newsletter out at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month.
This mindset is part of a broader philosophy of living for one’s ‘future self.’
Don’t Live in the Past, Don’t Live in the Present, Live in the Future
A popular theme in self realization books is to emphasize the importance of living in the present. People regret the past, yet there’s nothing they can do to change it. They fear for the future, yet it’s a fear of things that haven’t happened. So, if we live in the present moment, which is all we really have, then, presumably we can be at peace and not miss the good things in our life.
Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking. Taken too far, it causes people not to give sufficient planning to the future. It causes people not to reflect on the past, and think about what they could do differently to improve the future.
In reality, we really should live simultaneously in the past, present, and future. Yet, the most important of these is the future.
Think about it. If you focus most of your thoughts and actions around what you can do right now, to make your life better in the future, then you will perpetually be walking into a tomorrow that is better than it might otherwise have been because you prepared for it today.
Here are some examples:
- Exercise. Some exercise is enjoyable in the moment, but sometimes we’re just doing it because we know we should. During those times when it’s uninteresting, it’s an example of choosing to sacrifice in the moment so your future self can be more healthy.
- Food. Have you even denied yourself some culinary treat because of the calories? That’s a decision to forgo some delicious experience in the moment, so your future self isn’t growing in size at an alarming rate.
- Savings. Have you ever decided not to buy something you wanted, so you could save up for a rainy day? That’s telling your present self to give up something for your future self.
- Time. There are a lot of ways we can spend time that serves no purpose in the present, but serves a future need. Setting out clothes at night for the next day is an example. If you take vitamins, consider having those ready to go the night before.
Imagine going through a day with a full-time assistant helping you out. Someone who would have everything prepared for you ahead of time before you need it. You can be your own assistant by doing things ahead of time that are helpful when you need them. That’s the principle behind living in the future.
Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.
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Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.