It's funny. I was originally composing a totally different post in my head yesterday and today. A reflection on the weekend...and how much things can change in a few short months, for both the good and bad. That post will have to wait, though. Eventually I'll type it out. It just needs some more fermenting time, I guess.
Something really struck me today. About 20 times, since 8 am this morning, I heard the word "time." It was usually used in phrases like this:
"Where do you find the time to do this?"
"I wish I had more time."
"I don't have time to do x, y, and z."
"I'm running out of time."
"I try to make time."
"I have no time for that."
"I don't seem to have any extra time today."
...and so on and so on. For some reason, the concept of "time" really was on my mind all day. Maybe it's because Baby #1 is learning how to tell time on an "old-fashioned" clock, and I'm the lucky one who gets to teach it to him. Or maybe it's because our family's concept of time and daily schedules has changed so much recently. I don't know - all I know is that by the time I got on the treadmill at 3 pm, I'd heard the word used a ton.
Has "time" always been this commodity that people are always in search of, always consuming, always envying? I've noticed it more in recent months - it seems that people are always on the hunt for this elusive element, known as "time," and there's never enough of it to go around. Add to that the "wonderful" update to Facebook today that everyone and their brother is complaining about (in case you were wondering, I'm not a huge fan, but ehh, I'll get used to it), and it seems that everyone is talking about "time:" their lack of it, the amount of time it will take to figure out the updates, the waste of time online, the need for finding more time, and so on and so on.
It's funny that this should happen just when our lives here at home are changing drastically. My amount of "free time" has increased dramatically in the past month, as we started the homeschooling journey. I literally gained 2 hours of time (a day!!) that I used to spend driving to and from schools. I seem to have so much more of it....and often find myself wondering what to do with it. Maybe that's why it was so noticeable to me today that so many people were mentioning "time."
If "time" is this desirable commodity, how are we going about attaining it? Is this like the willpower concept I blogged about a few weeks back? Is time becoming the new scapegoat? The new excuse to get us out of doing something hard? Do we really not have enough time....or are we not motivated to change our habits/lifestyles? Does this go back to the lack of willpower and our lack of discipline?
Now I realize that I'm probably making people mad out there, so please forgive me. Don't get me wrong - a few short months ago (as in, less than six), I found myself saying the same things. I thought I had no time. I couldn't work out. I couldn't read a book. I couldn't make a phone call or write a letter, even though I wanted to. Watch a movie? Nope, I had no time for that. Work on a craft (only my favourite thing to do)? Not enough time for that either. Increase my prayer time? Definitely not enough time for that.
A lot changed that was out of my hands. We moved. My husband got a new job, with less demanding hours. My children got a little bit older and more self-sufficient (it's amazing the change in 6 short months when the child is only 2!!). Because of the move, I was able to remove myself from countless commitments that I had been unable to discontinue while still living in Maine (things with school and church, for example, that I'd agreed to and didn't feel that I could "back out of"). In a lot of ways, I was blessed to have this opportunity to start fresh.
I know how hard it is to not have something like a move for an excuse. Believe me. That's how I got into the mess to begin with: I kept saying "yes" to things...and my 24 hours a day was eaten up by everyone else, leaving me with no "time." I didn't have that nerve to remove myself from those commitments - my good old guilt complex kept me tied up and donating my "time" to everyone else.
But I ask you.....do you have the nerve? Are you doing things because you want to serve, or are you doing things because you feel obligated to serve? Serving is good - serving is VERY good. But why are you doing it is even more important, if you ask me. Are you volunteering because YOU like the accolades, or are you volunteering because you have a God-given skill or talent that you can use to glorify Him? There's a huge difference between donating your time on a project because you crave seeing your name on the credits....and donating your time because you want to serve Him and those He put into your life. I will be the first to admit that often, I was only saying "yes" because I liked the attention. I liked being "in the know" when it came to different organizations. Sometimes, I was doing it for the right reasons......but more often than not, it was my pride that was fueling my service. This is something that I'm really struggling with right now, as I discern how to volunteer my time in our new church community.
Moving on to another time stealer.......how much time do you spend "wasting" time with things like online websites or TV or video games? Again, I don't think there's anything wrong with these activities (assuming none are immoral, of course)....as long as it's in moderation. I am guilty of this one, too. Often, when I find myself not having enough "time," it's because I've spent too much time on Facebook or other online forums...or in front of the TV. I'm still working on this - some days are much better than others. I'm not perfect, by any means.
But one thing that I've tried to do is combine things that take my time from me. For example...I love watching mindless TV. Honestly...I'll come right out an admit it. Things like The Big Bang Theory crack me up and I thoroughly enjoy watching it. But, sitting down in front of the TV often meant that I'd lose hours upon hours a week. My solution? I pretty much only let myself watch TV if I'm on the treadmill. It's my reward. Not working out? No Law and Order for me. It means I often have to watch them on the iPad, which means reruns, but to be honest, there's not a single TV show that I follow closely enough to care. If you don't have small children wandering in and out of the room, there's no reason you can't workout DURING the new episode. I choose the iPad purely because it's self-contained, directly on my treadmill...and no little eyes will see the screen.
I don't have any huge words of advice about gaining time. I still struggle every day with balancing all that's on my to-do list with the limited amount of time on the clock. I'm improving, day-by-day, though.
How about you? Do you have any tricks for finding that elusive thing known as "time?"