Tuesday, March 8, 2022
My relationship with time is changing.
For most of my life I’ve plotted how much I can accomplish in a day. I’ve been determined not to waste time, but instead, making lists for each day, I have carefully planned my time. I have been ever conscious of how to use my time efficiently and thereby, gain more time or so I thought. Often I have treated time like an enemy. “I don’t have enough time.” “Where has the time gone?” I will ________ when I have enough time.
I’ve been a time vigilante. Watching time. Timing my time. Seeking ways to improve my use of time. Congratulating myself when I use my time well–according to my self-imposed standards, of course.
How is my relationship with time changing?
The watch I wore for years died. The watch was a gift from my husband–dressy, but simple. A good watch, and I loved it and wore it every day, all day. After having it repaired once, twice, it was clear the life of the watch was over, and my husband offered to get me a new watch. I picked one out, brought it home, but didn’t wear it and finally returned it. I no longer felt a need for time to be wrapped around my wrist.
True, my iPhone is a constant companion, and the current time is visible on my laptop, but somehow that feels different to me. I like seeing my naked wrist, free from the constant reminder of time.
Not only do I not wear a watch, but I also don’t set an alarm when I go to bed. I wake up when the sun’s brightness alerts me to the day or the rumbling of the garbage truck in the alley can’t be ignored. I wake up when I wake up. This winter I have slept later in the morning than I used to and in the past I would have chastised myself for the “loss” of a half hour when I could have been writing in my journal or going on a walk. Now I am more open to saying to myself, “Well, you must have needed the extra rest.”
I still make a list for the day, but my lists are shorter. I am more gentle with myself, more realistic, perhaps, about what I can accomplish in a day. Even what I want to accomplish in a day. And I am more open to disregarding the agenda I’ve created for myself, in favor of whatever appears or opens. Instead of restricting myself to an hour of meditation/devotion time in the morning, I sit in the Girlfriend Chair as long as my heart tells me that’s where I need to be.
I pay more attention to my energy. I know I need some time between working at my desk and fixing our evening meal. I know I need more open and unscheduled time, more time for refreshment. In the recent past the ratio of work days to play days was 6:1 and then it became 5:2, but more and more the rhythm seems to be 4:3. Not that long ago I spent part of Sunday writing my Tuesday posts and also preparing the material for the Thursday writing group I facilitate. Even before going to 8:15 a.m. Sunday church I looked ahead to the coming week, noting my appointments and making my To Do lists. Lately, however, I delay the planning till later in the day. I may answer some emails, as well, but leave everything else till Monday.
Some of the change, no doubt, is due to the pandemic and the necessity to be home, but much of the change is because of my age. Joan Chittister in The Gift of Years, Growing Older Gracefully points out both the blessings and the burdens of time in this stage of life. “Time ages things…Time deepens things…Time ripens things…Time is a wondrous thing.” (120-121)
I realize more and more what a privilege it is to have this time of my life; to have the kinds of choices I have; to still feel a sense of purpose. I am in ongoing discernment about how to live with purpose and do that in a way that “opens to the divine timing which best serves my soul,” as Julia Cameron says. (Blessings, Prayers and Declarations for a Heartfelt Life, 59) And when I am aware of how to best serve my soul, I am more aware of how to serve.
It is my choice to use time festively and expansively. I have plenty of time, more than enough time. I fill my time with love, expansion, enthusiasm, exuberance, and commitment. I both act and rest at perfect intervals. Proper use of time comes easily to me. I set the rhythm of my days and years, alert to inner and outer cues which keep me in gentle harmony. Time is my friend and my partner. I let it work for me. I breathe out anxiety and breathe in renewal. I neither fight time nor surrender to time. We are allies as I move through life.Heart Steps, Prayers and Declarations for a Creative LIfe by Julia Cameron, pp. 70-71
I love the steady, strong sound of the clock in the garret. Like a steady, strong heartbeat, a reminder to live my time.
What is your relationship to time? I would love to know.