Have you ever felt guilty doing something you enjoy? You know the feeling — I’m doing “X” but I should be doing “Y.” I’m working on my quilt but I really should be working on next month’s budget forecast. I’m reading (or writing) another chapter when I really should be studying for next week’s test. I’m going for a bike ride when I really should be cleaning out the garage.
To one degree or another, we all share in a day to day struggle to manage our time (or more accurately, our actions) in terms of “must-dos,” “should-dos,” “want-to-dos,” and “like-to-dos.” Time management gurus tell us that if we are grounded in what we value most, managing time is simply a matter of dividing our activities into categories like urgent, important, trivial and useless.
As many people likely define their highest values in terms of things like family or duty to God or country, these are expressed in terms of a hierarchy of responsibilities. For example, because one places a high value of providing for their family’s physical needs, they spend a great deal of time working in some career or job. While this is all very natural and I won’t suppose to know what you value most, I do believe we are sometimes prone to under-valuing essential parts of our character that contribute much to our humanity—those parts of us that are emotion, creativity and artistic expression.
Our dramatic cover and the accompanying article about Native American artist, John Balloue reminds us that there is so much more to life than our “should dos.” What are the things that enrich our life experience? What contributes significantly to joy and fulfillment for ourselves and others?
My message this month is simple: regardless of what you consider to be most important, forget about feeling guilty. Find a place in your schedule for joy and artistic expression. In your own way you will be contributing to the richness of life’s experience for yourself and for everyone around you.