Time: How I spend it, How I cherish it
I believe very strongly that everyone develops their own unique perspective on the concept of “time” once they are incarcerated. Prior to coming to Lewisberg time was a noun that didn’t receive much consideration or respect from me. Once time is defined by an institution such as the B.O.P. then respect for it is thrust upon you. Or at least it was for me. For this entry I will do my best to outline and expand on how I choose to spend my hours while serving my time In Lewisberg. Once again everyone will choose to populate their calender differently but I feel strongly that how you spend your time while away will dictate how you come home and restart your life.
Prior to coming to Lewisberg reading consisted of reading for work, scrolling the internet and occasionally flipping through a magazine to kill 10 minutes. Reading while being a guest of the government has taken on an entire new importance. Since I arrived here earlier this year I have read 28 books. I am not sure if this pace will continue but I will say that it has gotten me through some difficult days and nights. The style of books I am reading span several categories from self-help, biographies, technical (industry based) and some occasional fiction. I seem to tend to read two books on a parrallel course at the same time one fictional and one more serious or growth oriented. The growth books include biographies of people I admire or wish to learn more about, self-help books that will allow me to grow in deficient areas and finally books to learn a new skill or outlook. A big takeaway for me has been that through reading even if the subject matter might allow me to drift in thought it could simultaneously ignite or spur a new idea. This has happened several times to me since being here and it would never would have come about without reading something new.
Once againg prior to arriving here my writing consisted of emails and some occasional work drafts. Writing has taken multiple forms for me here. I keep a notebook to write down my daily thoughts and actions for lack of a better term I would call this journaling. I do this to keep myself accountable for how I spend my days in addition to capture how I am feeling on a particular day. This time in prison will be single event not to be repeated so I want to record the things I experience and the feelings I am feeling on any given day and this journal will allow me to look back for better or worse. This type of look back happens all ready as I will flip through ealier entries from the summer and see what I was doing.
Another type of writing that I participate in is free form business writing. I practice some brain storming on future ideas in addition to working on the business I was doing prior to entering prison. Of all of my activities this probably brings me the most joy and satisfaction. This might come off as obtuse but I find it very beneficial and a healthy exercise to maintain a positive attitude while here. In addition to working on my future business plans I assist other inmates with their post-incarceration employment opportunities. Looking forward and planning for the future is better then dwelling on the past and licking your wounds in my opinion.
This category usually takes up most inmates’ interest and priority. I definately have increased my time dedicated to exercise and physical well being. Exercise for me takes the form of walking the track and lifting weights in the gym. As the weather turns colder I will imagine a migration to more gym time for both my cardio and strength training. Other inmates will totally re-invent themselves via exercise. I have lost 50 lbs and feel better. Additionally, the exercise allows me to clear my head daily and sleep better at night which is very critical.
Classes & Programming:
As I have mentioned previously I am enrolled within the RDAP program. Between RDAP programming, book work and additional classes offered by the BOP (parenting, health, personal training) usually 5 hours daily spent during the week.
Most inmates work 15-20 hours a week at their job on the compound. This can can take many forms but as I have mentioned earlier they will attempt to match you up with work that compliments your experience.
Balance of the day:
The goal while you are away is to keep productive with work and activities that will help you grow and re-engage with society. The balance of my day is usually occupied with email and letter correspondence. Maintaining connection with your support network is critical to a successful term away. As a rule of thumb I try to stay away from the television with the exception of an occasional sporting event.
This is how I spend the bulk of my time and so far it has proven to be a successful strategy. If you must be away from your friends and family you might as well come away with something at the end. As I have written earlier if you have any questions feel free to send me a letter. Stay positive and stay productive.