Today’s prompt is brought to you by Krissie from Questions for Dessert and @krissieb and is a part of Resound 2011, a wonderful initiative to explore ways to strengthen your mind, body and spirit. I’m a little late arriving to the game, but better late than never.
What was the best gift you gave yourself this year?
Recently I have been thinking about the time when I started, and stopped, and again started wearing a watch. Between my cell phone and my computer, I don’t really need to wear a watch anymore, but I do. It’s an old Timex, nothing fancy, but its black and lavender face is pretty and I like its functional Velcro band. It’s something I reach for early in the morning and shed just before going to sleep. I have a hard time running without it.
I also sleep with my cell phone (I know. Ugh.) My excuse: it’s my alarm clock and my flashlight and my white noise machine.
I don’t remember wearing a watch when I lived in the Dominican Republic many years ago. My community meetings never started on time, and I really did rise with the sun and sleep when the light gave out, and I paid attention when my neighbors talked about the phases of the moon as a way to measure time. What a lovely way in which to identify change, and confirm a need to do something, like sow, and watch plants grow, and harvest.
While living and working in our nation’s capital, I always wore a watch. Everyone is always rushing, rushing, rushing in Washington. Out west, the pace is more relaxed, though there are always deadlines and time constraints and critical needs to be met, and often my thoughts turn to if only I had more time!
I started wearing a watch again when my awareness of the limited time in each day and indeed, of the human life span, grew ever greater and demanded a starring role.
If only I had more time, I could get so much more done. My house would be cleaner. I’d have finalized that query I’ve been drafting and re-drafting for months. I’d have scheduled those 40 (!) interviews with endurance athletes to include as part of the research I’m doing for a nonfiction book proposal. My dog would enjoy more runs. I’d have organized the basement storage area, the boys’ playroom would be filled with color-coded and clearly marked bookshelves and cubbies, and all of my Christmas cards would be written, envelopes stamped and ready to contribute to the economic viability of the U.S. Postal Service.
If only I had more time, I could spend less time rushing through the days, from the moment I get up on a weekday, till the sweet bedtime moments at the end of the day.
Having more time would give me less time to worry about having not enough time.
Clear as mud, right?
And so the best gift I gave myself this year was the opportunity to consider time differently.
I am beginning to consider Time as a Friend.
I haven’t thrown away my watch or my phone or done anything radical, mind. But a few months ago, I realized that only so much can be done in a day, and really, so much of what I do accomplish adds value to our family, our home, and our community. My gift to me was to accept the time that I’m privileged to have, and appreciate those hours in which I work, play, and sleep. When I began to let that opportunity sink in, I immediately found I was able to let go of the murky and unsatisfactory feeling that that there is always something I’m not getting done.
A few facts back this up:
Our lovely, if cluttered and smallish, home, is always open and welcoming to friends and family.
Over the past few months, I’ve donated and consigned much for which we no longer have a need.
We recycle and compost and garden.
I’ve made numerous and wonderful contacts in the writing/blogging world since June 2011.
And as of a week or so ago, I am sleeping through the night. That, my friends, is a serious sign of something good going on. And no one needs a watch to tell me that.