We live in a world obsessed with time.
Everything has been streamlined and automated. Everything has been made easier, faster, simpler… but for what? On the ads it would seem that the aim is to give us more time to put our feet up, more time to go shopping perhaps, or go on a fancy holiday. But really for most of us this obsession with time is making us do more, with less time. I’m terrible for it. I’ve always got a thousand things going on, I’m juggling a masters, a child, two jobs, a busy wholefood kitchen, a rental home that is for sale (cue rediculous agents and a constant stream of viewings and home opens) and an utterly rediculous attempt at a social life… I’ve got so many balls in the air at any given moment on any given day it’s pretty much guaranteed I’m feeling totally out of control. I always feel busy. I always have a deadline. I always have something I’ve forgotten to do, something that has fallen by the wayside… something that no doubt I haven’t done to my best ability.
I’ve always got a washing machine with wet clothes in it ready to be hung out and a sink full of dirty dishes I really ought to wash… and let’s not talk about the state of my floors. Ever.
It’s so easy to get caught up in things that seem so important, but really, are meaningless. Like decorating and tidying and even working. Some days I get completely distracted by things that I feel I “have” to do, that I don’t spend enough time doing the most important thing of all… being present. There is always a never ending to do list, washing that never gets folded, dishes that pile up in the sink, floors that are always sandy, books that are never finished being read, blog ideas that never make it to a page… Life’s busy.
Sometimes people call and offer coffee and kids and friendship and my response is, ‘I wish I had time.‘ Which is crazy. It’s rediculous. There is always time. There is always, always time for the finest things in life. For love, for friendship, for laughter. There is always time for a cup of coffee and a chat.There is always time. When my toddler comes up to me when I’m washign the dishes and tugs on my skirt, sometimes I answer in frustration, ‘soon mate, soon. I’ve just got to finish these jobs… I promise I’ll be there soon.’ She looks deflated and she walks out of the kitchen with her head a little lower than it was when she came in. Sometimes I ask her to do something, like have a bath or read a story or get changed and she holds her little hand up to me and says, ‘soon mama, but I got work-a-to-do.’ I watch as my own voice comes out of her mouth.
There is always time. When my little girl comes and and grabs my hand and pleads, ‘play with me, mama?’ There is always time to say yes. Dishes can sit in a sink full of cold water. They can sit for a day or two and it will make no difference at all. My house can be filthy, my beds are unmade… Sometimes emails sit unanswered for days and blog ideas disappear as quickly as they came when distraction strikes… but none of it matters. It doesn’t matter at all. For none of it is as important as her. There is always time to play. One day she will be grown and she will have her own life with her own friends and my floors will be washed and my beds will be made and my garden will always be watered… and I’ll miss her. No doubt. I’ll miss those little hands tugging on my shirt, I’ll miss those big black eyes pleading with me to come and play, I’ll miss being loved that much by someone… even if some days it drives me crazy, I’ll have forgotten that by then. I’ll have forgotten the tears and the late nights. I’ll have forgotten the missed deadlines and the lost opportunities… I’ll only remember her. Her breath on my neck as she sleeps on top of me, her feet in my face, taking up the whole bed. Her little voice in the morning asking for just one more hug before getting out of bed.
Work comes and goes and there will always be more time for success and more time for greatness and if there is not… then it wont matter one bit. If this were my last week I’d spend it with my family and friends, laughing and loving and holding hands. I’d spend it in my happiest place in the world, in other peoples hearts… and not in front of the sink doing dishes or in front of the computer writing emails or pouring over text books into the early hours of the morning.
Having no time is a myth. We all have plenty of time.
It’s up to us how we use it.