How many times have we heard - or said - "Time is of the essence," "Time is on my side," "We need some quality time" or, my personal favorite, "Timing is everything"?
These points hit home a few weeks ago when I made a nursing home visit to Quarry Manor in Charleston. Our dog, Chloe, is in training to be a therapy dog - following in the paw prints of her golden retriever pal, Barney Bradford.
I was dashing into the parking lot to meet my husband, John, and Chloe for the visit. When we got to the second floor to visit with Mary, I was struck by such a contrast. Mary had wheeled herself over to her closet and was just sitting there looking at its contents. I asked whether she needed some help, thinking she wanted to get something out of the closet. "No," she said, "it's just something to do to pass the time."
Whoa - that hit me like a ton of bricks. It just seems unfair that in some decades of our lives we're scurrying around without enough time to get everything done on our to-do lists - and then we can end up with too much time on our hands, looking for ways to get through the day.
Is there a better way to balance this out? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. Do we have to wait until life cycles kick in to approach things in a quality manner? And does the world have to slow down for this to happen? Maybe we could look at the metaphysical approach that our lives are not linear - and that time is an illusion. (I'd especially like to employ that one in the mornings when I'm convinced that all clocks speed up.)
My research for this column turned up a lot of information on time management. That's not exactly my focus, though. While it's part of the equation, it's not about the type of scheduling planner we use or how to more efficiently break down tasks into bite-size chunks. It's about taking the time we do have and making it more meaningful. And prioritizing those to-do lists so that we include pieces of the important stuff on a more regular basis.
Since spring is all about the rejuvenation of nature, it's a good time to take stock of the rejuvenation of ourselves. How about a brief internal audit:
Set aside one hour this week to sit down with pen and paper.
Replace these voids with more downtime or home time - working on a project together, establishing a family movie night, playing backyard croquet, walking the dog, creating a special meal, biking a trail together, planting some tomatoes, or going to listen to live music.