One of the big beefs I keep hearing has to do with time. Finding time, losing time, not enough time to do the things we want or need to do. They’re both interesting concepts I think. Things that I “ought to do” “should be doing” but neglect, and the “time”.
Take for example those of us who have some disease like diabetes (me!), heart disease or high blood pressure. We can complain that we never have time to cook properly, so instead eat out a lot, but where is the payoff? If we “save” fifteen minutes in our day by scooting into a drive through and indulge in something that we know is going to accelerated that disease, how much time did we really save? And how many calories were in that??
Did you know that you can prepare a meal in thirty minutes? A healthy, sit down tuck yourself up to the table meal? Now if getting in and out of the drive through takes you ten minutes plus it is five minutes out of your way on the journey home, how much time did you save from that thirty minute meal? Fifteen minutes. Are you saying that your life is not worth fifteen minutes a day?
Alright, maybe I am being mean. Let’s find some time for other things. This time of year people start cleaning up; they clean up their yards, their decks, clean the drapes and the chimney. We call it Spring cleaning because it’s like getting a fresh start on your house is a reflection of having a fresh new season of growth get underway. But people grumble anyway. No time to clean my yard, no time to get at the mess in my cupboards and basement, no time to soak in the bath, no time for myself.
Are you sure? If a friend called you in dire need of something – a shoulder to cry on, a trip to the doctor, or better still an emergency run downtown for that exquisite pair of shoes, you’d drop everything and be there in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you? Why are we so hard on ourselves that we refuse to allow ourselves the time to do things for ourselves. Think of things that you could actually do more efficiently in a day and savour that time for yourself. Ten minutes of not hitting the snooze button on your alarm means that you do have time to shave your legs in the morning. Twenty minutes away from the television means that you do have time to walk the dog. Do you have to watch two hours of news at night, followed by three hours of crummy prime time viewing? What about planning your grocery shopping so that you can have food on hand at home and not be tempted to stop on the way past the fast food place?
How many forums, chat rooms or blogs do you read in a day? How about just skimming the best ones (and here’s hoping this is one of them – what a shameless plug!) and then freeing up some time there too?
You see, I think that in designing our “ideals” around “taking time for myself” we decide that it needs to come in great chunks of time; a two hour nap; an hour long soak in the tub; a full day out gabbing and shopping with buddies. But that sets up a very high expectation with a very small chance of happening. Instead, think about the relaxation that can come in short time outs. Drinking your morning coffee on the deck while you savour the fresh air and your neighbourhood instead of getting wrapped up in the morning news. A twenty minute stroll with the dog in the morning that makes him as happy as can be, and is also good for you. A fifteen minute phone conference type of call on Skype with your girlfriends or with an aging grandparent while you give yourself a pedicure. A thirty minute fix-it job in your yard once a week instead of dreading having to devote an entire day to the whole mess.
We can and do find the time. It’s here with us, in this very present moment.