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There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

If I have learned one lesson in this my 27th year of life it is that the older I get, the shorter the days become.

I have so much in my head that I’d like to accomplish everyday. I make lists while I’m at work. I run them over and over in my mind. But when I finally have time to get to said lists, the sun has already fallen behind the hills. It’s time to rest and reset. Time to do it all over again tomorrow.

I’m coming up on 28 in a couple weeks. And I can’t help but feel…well, old. I know, I know…I’m still young. I get it. But old is just around the corner. The reality that I’m not going to live forever is finally setting in. You know what I’m talking about, right? The fact that we all know that we’re temporal creatures but we don’t all believe it. That is, until we’re staring at 30 from arm’s length. 30! Geesh, I was supposed to have everything figured out by then.

I’m running out of time.

Which brings us back to where I started this stream-of-consciousness post: time. I’ve never been a very good manager of it. I do a real bang-up job of managing just about everything else. But time? Time has always been elusive. For some reason, my mind has always been able to trick me into thinking I have so much of it available. It’s probably why I push things off like there’s no tomorrow, or–more correctly–like there are many of them. I just haven’t been able to convince myself that there are limits to the length of each day.

About a year ago I began living on a budget. It was a struggle at first, but I feel like I’ve truly gotten to a place where I’ve reigned in my finances. I keep track of every single purchase I make, so thus, I have to think about every purchase I make. And mentally note how much money I could’ve saved rather than spent.

I’m declaring that 28 is the year that I start budgeting my time. Taking note of where I could be investing time instead of wasting it. Using it for constructive and creative things, rather than things I can’t remember at the end of the day.

Example: One activity that wastes a good bit of my time during the week is working out in my parent’s basement. I don’t enjoy it but I do it because I sit on my arse for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 230 some-odd working days a year (that’s about how many there are, if you ever wondered). So running on the elliptical is my equalizer. Recently, I decided I kind of hated being trapped in the basement on beautiful fall & summer days. So I started running outside. My knees, however, decided they did not like running outside. So I decided to turn to a more “knee-friendly” option: cycling.

First I started on a Schwinn I bought at Walmart last year (“you think that’s a Schwinn?!?” sorry, movie quote). Well, that wasn’t so fun. I made it probably 10 miles each time before I realized that the Schwinn wasn’t going to do the trick. So I figured I might as well just dive in head first and I wound up buying a legit all carbon fiber road bike, to the tune of about $1000 (not that much for a good road bike, by the way). It was a purchase that didn’t sit so well with my aforementioned squeaky budget, but did sit well with my aforementioned squeaky knees. So, I deemed it a worthy investment.

Next, I bought a helmet and some gloves. Then some pedals. And then a tire pump. And then, the kicker…bike shorts. Which, I guess, makes it officially official. But I don’t mind since it’s something I’m doing that’s not a complete waste of time. I’m not cooped up in a basement working out. I’m not at home on the weekends watching the Browns implode, or building up a parallel universe Browns team on Xbox, or venting frustration at the epic failures of my weekly fantasy football match-up. No, I’m out in nature, usually with friends, enjoying creation and getting in shape at the same time.

Of course, winter is coming. And with it, not much cycling. But I’ve started making more lists of things that I can do to budget my time wisely. Here are a few:

  • Get back to writing & recording music
  • Learn how to actually play guitar (instead of cleverly guessing every week)
  • Spend more time reading/less time surfing
  • Write thought-provoking things (maybe in a blog post now & again)
  • Spend quality time with quality people
  • Become my niece’s favorite uncle
  • Always find time to help friends (and strangers)
  • Figure out what the heck I’m doing with my life before 30

I suppose if I’ve learned one thing in my 27 years, it’s that I still have a whole lot left to learn.

Maybe I’m not so old after all.

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Ryan Straits



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