I started journaling again recently. Having finished one journal, I decided to use the pages of my unfinished journals before starting a completely new one. The one I picked up had only four entries in it during 2012. Each day (Feb 28, Mar 4, Oct 21 and Dec 30) I journaled about the same question: What do I want from life? My answer, although slightly different each time, was about the same theme: more time. Time to do the things I didn’t feel I was getting to do. Time to read. Time to visit with family and friends. Time to write. Time to travel. Time to enjoy the simpler things in life. Time to sew. Time to meditate and reflect on life. Time to volunteer and help others. Time to watch good movies. Time for fitness. Time to organize my photos. Time to have a really clean house. And, the list went on.
As I continued to read what I had written, it appeared that I felt I didn’t have time of my own. I felt I was always at someone’s mercy. I was committed to work, to my husband’s schedule, to my to-dos and have-tos. I wondered when I’d ever have plenty of time to do all that I wanted to without any constraints from anyone or anything else. I realized that I’ve been questioning and thinking about time ever since I can remember. I even have a book, Take Time by Vera Holding, that I’ve had since my teens. The book is based on the English poem, Take Time, of whom the author is unknown. It’s worn around the edges from much reading over the years. Some of my favorite songs are about time: Time Marches On (Tracy Lawrence), Time in A Bottle (Jim Croce), Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper), If I Could Turn Back Time (Cher), Killin’ Time (Clint Black), I’ve Had the Time of My Life (Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes), and Time of Your Life (Green Day). I’m sure there are many other books and songs out there about time, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.
Much can be said about time, and time is and has been many things for me at different points in my life. Whether I march along with it, impassioned to follow a dream, or stay put, suspended in a sea of thoughts that keep me immobilized, time just keeps flowing. Sometimes it is long and drawn out; the ticking of the clock, heard and felt like that of a drip from a water faucet that needs shut off. At other times, it blazes by me, like a locomotive hurrying to get to the next town. And, other times, it is fleeting; I am unable to see it or feel it or grab onto it. It passes me by; or, maybe it is I who passes it by as I hurry on to my next errand.
It took me awhile to figure out that time is all a matter of perspective. Everyone gets 24 hours. No one else gets any more than I do or any less. How I spend my 24 hours is all up to me. Broken out, I sleep approximately 7 to 7.5 hours each night and I work away from home on most days nine hours, counting drive-time. So, add in the weekend, and this gives me about 75 hours each week to do with whatever I want. That’s a lot of hours. Okay, maybe not so much after paying bills, doing chores, and running errands, but still a lot more than I first thought five years ago.
Wow, with 72 hours, I could write a book! Yes, perspective makes a big difference. When I was spending all of my time focusing on the lack of it, I felt I didn’t have very much. Now, that I’m focusing on all that I can get done with the time I do have, I seem to have more than enough to get all of my want-tos and have-tos done. I sleep adequately. When I get up, I have my morning coffee, read and journal, reflect on my coming day and goals. I work out. I shower, get ready for work and eat breakfast. When I get home, I usually take my puppy for a walk, eat supper and do some chore, either dishes or laundry, and sew or read. On some evenings, I pay bills, spend it sewing or visiting with my husband, or even just sit doing Pinterest.
Yes, time is all a matter of attitude. If I think I have none, then I don’t. If I think I have plenty, then I do. It’s how I spend my time that matters. If I choose to waste it by thinking about things I cannot control, then I only become unhappy with myself, for the things I wanted to do are still there unfinished. If I choose to be in the moment, my mind as well as my body, without thoughts someplace else, then I enjoy myself in what I am doing rather than feeling disconnected. If I pace myself, allowing room for the things that are important to me, then I feel satisfied, for time is then in my favor.
So, what do I want from life? I want to use my time wisely. I want my time on this earth to be quality time. I want my time to be meaningful, like helping someone out. I want it to be fun, like sewing or going to the movies or hiking with a friend. I want my time to be heart-warming, like spending it with my husband, grandchildren and puppy. And, I want my time to be restorative, like taking a nap. Yes, I want to have the time of my life…living, laughing and loving. And, I want that for you, too. Let’s not just think about time, let’s live it.