A budding assumption of there not being enough time, that we are running out of time, and we are altogether too busy to, I suppose, enjoy life, has been taking over the airways in and out of my office. When asking friends, family, colleagues, and clients the (not so) simple question of “How are you?” I am often responded with some variation of “Good. Busy, but good”. Busyness has somehow created an enemy of time and an all-encompassing notion that when it come to busy and time, you can only have one.
Trust me when I say I believe you that busyness sometimes drives you a little crazy. What I don’t believe is that time is the enemy. No matter what crazy, annoying, frustrating, or happy event life throws at us, we persevere. If we have two months to do something, or if we have two days, the due date is often met because we have found the time to get it done. If our car breaks down, or it is due for an oil change, the time is found.
Time is found because the consequences would make our lives even more hectic; poor grades at school, loss of employment, etc. Alas, time is here for us, time can be our friend—if we let it.
How to renegotiate your relationship with time*:
1) Break down the busyness. By picking apart what you spend your time doing, it will allow you to reconnect with your values. If your time is spent at a crummy job and in a crummy relationship, no, you do not value crummy situations; rather you may value independence, connection with society, hard work, and relationships. If your time is spent running after your kids, taking them to school, dance, soccer, drama, and scouts, your busyness may reflect your values of caring, health, and raising children.
2) Think of phases when time was the cure. Time can be the answer to healing; whether it be grieving, mending a broken heart, the moody repertoire of adolescence, puberty, the unfortunate mullet fashion craze of the 80’s, and the like. Time does not heal all wounds but, think about the moments that it has helped you through.
3) Appreciate the “perfect moments”. Whether it be playing with your children in the sun, or watching a rain storm from the comfort of your couch, or getting off early from work and missing the Friday evening traffic. Appreciate those moments that you let yourself breathe, feel, and reconnect with yourself and those around you. We often forget that these moments exist in the busyness of our very important lives. But they do, and they should be remembered, fantasized about even.
4) Be prepared for oil checks. Every now and then, yes, the other shoe may drop. I allow you to use as many curse words as you like during those moments but, remind yourself of all the times that you have persevered and gotten through unfortunate situations in the past. You have found the time to get your car fixed, you have found the time to complete the last-minute assignment, and you have found the time to ask for help when your mental health was requiring of an “oil check” itself.
5) Think about those moments you said to yourself “this isn’t worth my time” and you didn’t give it the time of day. Look at all those moments you have saved and can now add to other areas of your life! You can thank the creepy guy hitting on you at the bar, you can thank the colleague that for some reason just wants to fight, and you can thank the bully at school. Most importantly you can thank yourself for walking away in these situations, thank yourself for putting you first, and thank yourself for taking care of you.
6) And, most importantly, trust the timing of your life. I’m not asking you to marry time, but have a budding relationship with it, flirt with it, appreciate what it offers, what you can do with it, and how you are spending it.
*Suggestions from someone who is full of moments of happiness, anger, love, grief, “goodness gracious,” “get me outta here,” “leave me alone,” inconsolable sobbing, uncontrollable laughter, belly laughing, “that was close,” “hallelujah,” anxiousness, “you’re so annoying,” hard work, “my cheeks hurt from smiling,” “oh you,” stress tears, happy tears, proud tears, sad tears- someone who not only cries an awful lot, but someone who can’t wait to add the busyness of each and every one of these moments to come, to the ol’ ticker.