One of my ministers once said she could tell what people really valued by looking at their checkbook and their calendar. Of course, that was almost thirty years ago when most of us still felt some sense of control over either one.
Is it still true now? I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel like the clock has sped up way beyond my control. I know it takes more of a conscious effort to slow down and take the time (ironically) to decide what I want to do with my time. Do I want to pet the cat or look at one more Facebook post? Write enough words to reach my daily goal, or read a friend’s really good suspense novel? What can I give up to do both? And if someone else knew what my choices were, how would they think of me?
Kids, Work, and Finding Time
While my kids were living at home, I know there was little time for anything beyond getting up, taking an hour (or more) commute to work, do my high-paying, high-stress job that required me to fly to different corners of the globe, manage the kids and their caregivers by long-distance while I tried to pretend my marriage wasn’t falling apart. Read a book? Sometimes on a plane because it was during a time when it was still possible to escape the internet online. When I was home, I was always making up for lost time or planning how to manage the foreseeable future.
Which is why I have understanding for my children who are in the same boat. I keep my expectations of them contacting me to a minimum and we all maintain a relatively happy relationship. (Circumstances have led us to live far apart, so dropping in for a cup of coffee just isn’t reasonable.)
The pressure has eased up, but I can still be frivolous with time, especially on days like today when I’ve spent the day in kindergarten. (“No, George, just because Tim breathed on you doesn’t me you can spit on him.”) I see the stressed out parents coming to get their kids and talk to teachers trying to balance work and kids, both of which are important.
The Real Time Crisis
It all makes me wonder. When can we ever find the time for the things that aren’t in crisis mode? How do Thoreau possibly find a year to spend at Walden Pond? And, like Virginia Woolf, I long for a room of my own.
These are just the wonderings of my own mind, but I sense some truth in this crazy, hectic, sound-bite world. The only ones who can slow it down enough for reflection is us.
And that may be the greatest crisis of all.