Back in the winter, when our first i-pad arrived at the house, My Farmer and I instituted the “time” rule – 30 minutes a day the kids could play games. We downloaded a timer app while simultaneously watching the clock, fearing 30 minutes staring at the screen would turn their brains to mush. So far, no mush.
This morning, the first day of the school year, both kids were up at 5 a.m. The bus doesn’t arrive until 7:30. They had dressed, fixed breakfast, did chores, packed lunches and backpacks before I stumbled down the stairs an hour later. When beds were made, teeth brushed and shoes set out, they asked,”Can we have some time?”
Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . time. Where does it go? So many conversations I’ve shared with fellow parents during the last month started with, “Where did the summer go?” followed by laments of lost time.
This summer, for us, felt like an all-out sprint with no finish line in sight. As much as I tried to keep a task list in order, scheduling time for fun, time for work, time for people . . . that list of things to do overwhelmed.
Now another summer break is in the books and I am a mother to a 2nd grader and a 4th grader, who habitually reminds me he’ll be in 5th grade next year. How did that happen?
Because time does not march, it runs. Even on the days when the clock seems to stand still, it is racing.
The year I served as a section FFA president, the state FFA officer team advised our group on time management. We were about to embark on a year of crazy busy. So many of us were already over-involved in our own high schools, and we were taking on what felt like a full time job with travel, deadlines and reports. The state president sternly said, “I don’t want to hear anyone say you don’t have the time. Time is there to be had. You just have to take it.”
What an interesting take on the concept of a 24-hour day. Time isn’t a bodiless entity that controls our lives. We really do have the power to control it, or at least live in harmony with it. Fitting in what we can, when we can and enjoying the moments, the anticipation of what is to come and the memories of what we had.
In the throes of my personal chaos of deadlines and book work, God will often run me into a moral brick wall. He resorts to stunning me with a tweet, quote, or Facebook post, usually late in the night when I’m selfishly begging for more ‘me’ time. Suddenly, my request for a few minutes to sweep floors is thrown into perspective.
Too many friends and family wake each day with medical diagnoses that are so unfair. Cancer, lupus, depression, infertility . . . talk about suckers of time.
How do they tackle a day knowing that this 24-hours will be spent with doctors or in bed resting not because they want to be there but because for that day life dictates that is where they will be? Do they resist that taker of time? Are they accepting of it? Do they wake the next day with a greater appreciation of a new 24-hours to be had or are they angry that those hours have been taken from them?
Time. Of all the things the human race would love to control but can’t, this is it. More time with loved ones and less time with other ones. Slow time with our babies. Fast time with mundane workdays. Fun time with family and quiet time with ourselves.
Time is as routine as it is unpredictable. In an instant, the rhythm of a day can skip a beat with a phone call or text, brake lights or a doctor’s visit. And then the race is on. Time always seems to win.
My kiddos finished their time and ran outside to play with Coco before the bus rolled in, on time as it has for so many school days. They waved good-bye, took off running and disappeared into the fog, leaving me with time . . . quiet, unscheduled hours with which I can use in whatever manner I choose.
Social media and life coaches offer much advice on how to handle time. Use it for personal gain. Give it to others in service. Spend it with God. Schedule it. Flow with it. Meditate on it. Play with it. Ignore it altogether.
How do you spend your time?