My life is a rather simple zero-sum equation with four variables.
I play with my family.
I ride or fix my bicycles.
I sleep about seven hours.
That's it. Family, work, bicycles, sleep; repeat. If I do anything else I have to triangulate: what's gonna get shorted? Family, work, bicycles or sleep?
I'm hopelessly out of the pop culture universe. I catch a few minutes of American Idol before the "sleep" dimension. There's no time for "Mad Men" or "30 Rock" or "Dr. Who" or "[insert cool TV show here]." Those things take a serious time commitment which would cut into family, work, bicycles, or sleep. But 20 minutes of American Idol twice a week is just enough to know exactly what's happening on American Idol. For example: the kid with the awesome country voice and good attitude is still in. The girl with the deep pipes and surprising stylistic range is out.
I see about two movies a year. That includes DVDs. A movie is two whole hours away from family, work, bicycles, or sleep.
Music, I can catch a little while I work. Which means lots of instrumental post-rock, lots of bebop, lots of Bach. Anything catchy is death to productvity.
Live music, ha! Are you kidding? They don't even START playing until like 10pm. That means shorting family, sleep AND work the next day.
I started feeling pretty bad for the dog (he was part of this equation until last summer), so I'm stealing an hour from "sleep" every morning to take him for walks. There was a time when he got THREE walks a day. Can you imagine? I can't, any more.
The beautiful thing about "bicycles" is that I can squeeze them in around the other stuff, so they feel like a variable that ADDS time. Instead of a boring old commute I have "fun bike time." Jenny and Orion love Sundays at the Cross Crusade, that's a twofer (family+bicycles) right there. Kids are napping? Time to fix the bikes!
I hit the gym, so to speak, about once a week. That's a calculation against "work" because on those days I leave at 4:30.
My diet is somehow, improbably, nothing but leftovers. Usually pasta. Where do these leftovers come from? At some point there must have been some original source of food. Jenny does the cooking -- funny how Ozzy and Harriet you get in a one-paycheck household -- but it seems like dinner is usually leftovers too. Every time I sit down to eat it feels a little like the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
Gardening, home improvement, spiritual betterment, skiing, yardwork, arts-and-crafts, videogames, homebrewing, gastronomy...my God how do people with kids do these things? (well, with ONE kid, maybe...)
Please don't think I'm complaining here. Well, I am, but not too much. I love how beautifullly focused my life is now.