Mario Villalobos

A rainbow beginning at a ranch house and rising toward a dying raincloud, the mountains peeking through behind them, the signs of early fall in the foreground

The Urgencies of Life

  • Journal

Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh, as Al Swearengen once said. I had every intention to update my blog more often, but life took over and had other plans. Life, for lack of a better word, has been busy. From work to relationships to my own personal projects, I simply haven’t had the time to sit down and write posts for my digital notebook. However, I’m forcing myself to sit down every night and at least look at my text editor and see if anything happens. A finished essay doesn’t just happen—I have to make it happen, and I’ve forgotten that.

Recently, I re-read Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s not my favorite book (in fact, I would say, now that I’ve read it for a second time, that it’s a book I actively dislike), but I had noticed myself falling back to bad habits, and I wanted something that would snap me out of my bad routine. I was spending most of my free time on leisure activities and not enough time on the things that matter the most to me, from writing to reading to working out and photography. I wasn’t doing any of it, and I needed a change.

As I read the book, I came across a passage that has stuck with me since reading it a few weeks ago:

Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way. Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose; amateurs get pulled off course by the urgencies of life.

Disregarding this dichotomy (one I disagree with completely), I want to highlight that last phrase: the urgencies of life. I love that phrase because of how accurate it fits the last few months for me. The urgencies of life had overwhelmed me to a point where all I sought was leisure, and I used that leisure to distract me from simply living my life, the life I wanted to live, the life I know I’m capable of living. I think to assume that anyone is capable of not being swept up by the urgencies of life is either delusional or has never lived. They happen, we all get swept up by it, and I believe, at some point or another and in some way or another, we all deal with it our own way. Aren’t we all amateurs? Does anyone really know what they’re doing? Anyhow…

Not too long ago, as I looked at how I was living my days and thought of ways to improve it, I came to this rather simple realization, one that I don’t know if it’s naive or brilliant: if I fill my days with the things I want and love to do, from writing and reading to working out and photography, then I really don’t have time for much else. If I’m reading, I don’t really have time to check social media. If I’m writing, I really don’t have time to watch TV. If I’m working out, I really don’t have time to overeat or play video games. This seems so simple that I’m honestly embarrassed to even write and admit this. It’s like, d’uh, Mario! Of course that’s how it works. If you make time for the things you love, then you don’t have time for the things you don’t. Maybe it’s more complicated than that (self-control and discipline do seem to be needed, I think), or it could really be that simple. I’m not sure, but that’s where I’m at right now.

A few weeks ago, a massive rainstorm hit my area, lowering temperatures and drenching everything. Roads were slick, the sky was dark, and there didn’t seem to be any time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. On my way home from work one day, the rain had stopped, the sky began to clear, and I saw this rainbow appear off toward the horizon. All I had was my iPhone, so I pulled it out and took this photo. I feel like the rainclouds are clearing from my life, and I can maybe make out a rainbow off in the distance, toward a horizon I’m beginning to see with greater clarity and focus. I really don’t know where I’m going or what I even want from my journey, but I like the road I’m walking, especially if it includes more rainbows.