In this current season of life, many of us feel robbed.
Robbed of our work. Robbed of our hobbies. Robbed of our hugs. And robbed of the dream of what our apocalypse outfit would be…..realizing, it’s just pyjamas.
COVID-19 has stolen a great deal from our lives. But one of the things that has been gifted to us, is time.
I know I’m dealing with waaaayyy less go-go-go. And while for some, this void is being filled with an overindulgence in CNN and Netflix (is there a Tums for Tiger King-bloating?)….for others, it is an opportunity to reflect, and grow.
The choice is right there, up for grabs.
And depending on your perspective, this time is either a prison, or a palace.
For me? My relationship with time has always been a bit like…..trying to squeeze juice from a lemon. Determined to get every ounce of liquid gold out of that puppy.
I am efficient. And productive. And I multi-task the fuck out of cooking, podcasting, wine-ing, and homework helping.
Some days, I think my 30 minutes = someone else’s 4 hours.
Over the past few weeks, my death grip on time has loosened.
But something I’ve learned about myself, is that I have a severe hatred…..or maybe it’s an intense fear…..of wasting time.
The fear of wasting time
Sure. No one likes wasting time. Waiting in line anywhere, sucks (especially if you left your phone in the car). As does arriving to the Genius bar, after a 30 minute drive, without the laptop you were supposed to be getting fixed. Cough cough.
But for me, wasting time is excruciating. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have had to come to grips with, when becoming a parent.
“Playing” is challenging for me. And what usually ends up happening, is I force my kiddos into designing an elaborate mini-golf course. Or an obstacle race. A project. A goal.
Do not ask me to play “puppies.” For god’s sake. Do not ask.
And also, don’t expect me to fix the broken trunk on my car, anytime soon. Such a bother, and a huge waste of time. Especially when I’ve rigged up a rope that pulls it open manually. For real.
Mediocre movies make my skin crawl.
And driving 30 KM/hr around Kildonan Park makes me vomit.
But along with this newly allotted gift of time, is an awareness of my relationship to it. And a deliberate willingness to risk “wasting it.”
Why NOW is the perfect time to risk wasting time
You see, what I’ve realized, is that my extreme distaste for squandering time has actually led me to hesitate in starting new things.
There is risk involved in new endeavours. Because I can’t be certain they will pay off.
The potential for wasted time is huge.
But right now? This? It is the perfect moment to risk time, because we have been gifted with more of it than ever before. The supply is rich. So even if I do waste some of it….I’ll still have more than I normally do.
And so, in this Alice-in-Wonderland, upside down world we are living in right now, I have made it my goal to embrace the gift of time I’ve been given, in 3 ways:
1. Try new things
I want to challenge myself not to simply do more of the same. Not to simply invest in what I already know. But rather, to use this time to expand, in new ways.
Learn how to bake an apple pie, with crissy-cross lattice. Play my guitar, and write an original song. Write a hot and steamy romance novel. And learn how to embroider so I can make obscene tea towels.
2. Deliberately do things that aren’t “productive”
There are so many things out there that I cast judgment on, as time sucking wastes of time. And yet, I know deep down, these things would also breathe life into my soul.
Yoga. Slow and twisty. Reading fiction (not Dan Brown….don’t worry….I’m not that crazy). Listening to brainless podcasts, and standup comedy.
Fuel for joy. A worthy pursuit in and of itself.
3. Scratch things off the “to-do” list that don’t belong there
After years of wanting to do a deep clean of my house, but lacking the time, I discovered this week….that wasn’t the reason.
I will not be learning how to garden.
Nor will I be making jewellery.
And something that this gift of time has truly taught me, is that we can absolutely convince ourselves that a lack of time is the reason we aren’t doing things. When in reality, we simply do not want to do them. Period.
Lack of time is one of the biggest excuses people give for not working out. And while some people are drenching their living room carpets in sweat….others are still lying on the couch.
You want it, or you don’t. And right now, those priorities are being put to the test.
It’s time to be honest with myself, and cross things off my to-do list that don’t belong there.
The gambler’s trap
All of us cringe at the idea of “sunk costs” that cannot be recouped. It’s the very reason many people stay in shitty jobs. And shitty marriages. Driving shitty ass cars with broken trunks.
Once we’ve invested time and energy into something, we hesitate to drop it and back out. Because, well, we’ve come this far. Might as well keep going.
But just as the risk of starting new things has its just rewards, so too does the risk of ending things we’ve already begun, that no longer serve us.
When I quite my job as a librarian to become a fitness coach, I could have very easily lingered in guilt over the 6 years of higher-education that went into earning my bun and glasses.
But what I’ve come to learn, is that life has a funny way of bringing the puzzle pieces of your life together.
I wouldn’t be nearly as good of an instructor, without my practice as a storyteller to a group of 3-year olds.
I wouldn’t be nearly as a good of a marketer, without my practice as a wordsmith-ing essay-writing student.
Time is never truly wasted
And so, the zen master in me realizes that time is never truly wasted.
There is meaning in everything, if we allow ourselves to see it.
Risk wasting time.
Lie on the hood of your car, and do some star gazing. Just for the hell of it.
But if I’m with you, and it’s my car, you’re gonna have to be the one to pull the rope, and get the wine from the trunk.