I woke up fairly early this morning (about 4am). I'm not sure why, but waking up early generally leads to a philosophical mood, and I usually end up with some idea that I never get around to fleshing out. Hopefully, this is one of them that ends up fully baked.
There are two kinds of cooking I seem to do. The first is more casual, like making chili. Nothing really has to hurry, since I'm going to be simmering and reducing the sauce over the course of a couple hours. I can think of an ingredient I'm going to put in, find it in the fridge or cupboard, chop it up, grind it up, or do whatever prep-work is necessary, and toss it into the pot. Slow, casual, and with little need for forethought.
The second kind of cooking is more challenging. A great example is making omelettes. If you're making them right, omelettes take about thirty seconds from the time the eggs hit the pan until the finished omelette hits the plate. If you've got your mise in order, it's not hard to do, but if you've left anything out of your preparations, you're either going to have to leave it out or end up with a burned omelette.
The first kind of cooking is something that can be great fun as a cooperative venture. You can noodle around in the kitchen, and having someone else there means you can teach each other things as you cook. Or you can chat. Or flirt and play a little grab-ass.
The second kind is a solo pursuit for me. Aside from things like
Hand me the fire-extinguisher now, please! there's not a lot someone else can do in the kitchen to help me. Things have to be organized and prepared enough that once the action starts, there's not really time to explain the details.
And here's where the philosophical mood kicks in. Just looking at my kitchen table, you'd think I'd be incapable of actually making an omelette, either in real life, or metaphorically. I'm living the chili lifestyle here with all sorts of things thrown into the pot that's my life, right?
Well, I'm not so sure about that. The things that are important to me tend to be pretty well planned out, leaving little room for flexibility. If I haven't planned for something, it usually gets left out of the mix. Or if I find a way to mix it in, something else falls by the wayside. I've organized my life so that I usually find a way to fit the important things in. If some friends call up in the evening and want to go out, I can usually do so (unless I'm already out). But the price is that the following day will usually be tossed into turmoil because I didn't get something done during the evening that I'd planned on. Ingredients get left out, or omelettes get burned. The good part is that I work as a contractor, and work mostly from home. If I need to, I can put work off until later. It means I'll probably end up with fewer hours worked that week than normal, but that's a tradeoff I'm usually willing to make.
The important thing in my mind is what I've decided are priorities. I've got time figured into most days for noodling around on the web and getting Dave's Picks done. Most weekdays I plan to get in at least 4-6 hours of work. Weekends, I've got time blocked out for just laying around and being a couch-potato. But when plans have to change, there are a number of things that get left undone. Cleaning up around the house is one. Paying work seems to be another. Last year, going for rides on my trike was something I budgeted time for (it helped that I didn't have much work, and the weather was really nice). This summer, it's been prioritized below a lot of other things, and I haven't even gotten in 200 miles yet.
What's the point of this morning's navel-gazing? I think I need to stop for a while and make sure my priorities are in order. I need to start planning for more time going out for rides, as well as getting paying work done. It would be nice to make more progress on non-paying work for Better Nerds, but I'm not sure what I'm willing to sacrifice to get that done. I probably won't get things turned around instantly (there are, after all just two more weekends of Saints baseball left, and I don't want to miss many games), but I'd like to have a better set of priorities by the time next summer rolls around. Given the way life works around here, that means I'd better start rearranging things now.