Trusting in others’ judgment about the unknown or the unfamiliar usually saves us a lot of time from having to investigate them ourselves, especially when we are demanded of making numerous decisions everyday, big and small. Its repeated practice, however, atrophies our faculty to perceive new information truthfully, free of contamination from previously processed data. Like a student who readily gets upset at the sight of a brand new chemistry book because he failed in chemistry class. Or, a shy teenage boy who doesn’t dare to talk to a girl he finds attractive because of his assumption that all girls like guys in sports team or a band, none of which he is a part of. We often paint inaccurate pictures of the subjects we get in touch with and kill the hopes of relating to them by solidifying our beliefs prematurely without giving them the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, all relationships initiate, flourish, suffer or terminate as an honest reaction to the amount and frequency of the devoted Time and Attention (T&A).

Relationship (REL) is the connection built between the self and what is tangible and conceivable within the given environment through reciprocation of reception and response. Some RELs advance careers, providing needs, wants and space to materialize ideas. Some present with wisdom and knowledge, evolving the self’s ability to observe and answer to different circumstances. Some deliver physical health, enhancing the capacity to use T&A optimally and lastingly. Some reward with support and companionship, multiplying joy in triumphs and endurance in hardships. And because T&A are limited resources, some RELs ought to be prioritized over others if they are to generate significant outcomes.

My biggest challenges mostly come from failing to correctly measure and allocate the amount of T&A required for each of my targeted RELs, biting off more than I can chew. Correspondingly, not only do I cause them anguish and undernourishment, I collect stupendous amount of unrelated information, provoking an exponential increase of mental entropy. This whole reflection came due to a flunked semester I am bitterly experiencing, a consequence of underestimating the T&A needed to establish a healthy relationship with my veterinary course. It asked me for a divorce because I didn’t show the respect it deserves, so I am reducing the number of my priorities and re-configuring my daily schemes to habitually “date my study subjects”, withdrawing some of the T&A I had designated for work.

Life has a funny way of knocking me off my high horse saying: “You know nothing, Yoon Jo.” I am thankful for these reminders because they force me to re-inspect myself in terms of integrity, destination and application of my T&A. I know T&A to be the most valuable assets we possess and without control, they’re easily wasted or misguided, depriving us of learning what is being gained and lost in exchange. Failures are usually the moments I re-establish direction and control over them. Though if I could be wiser, I would minimize errors by identifying and eliminating risk factors ahead of time. I’m starting to think I ought to make a habit of training this process.