Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finding Time

Oprah Magazine November 2013
I've said before that my Oprah Magazine subscription rides on Martha Beck's column of no-nonsense, straight to the gut advice. And in this month's edition, it is no different.

I was particularly taken by the paragraph to the left:

We are time-starved people, obsessed with fitting huge achievements into our few years. In the process, we often fill our buckets with things that don't matter or work. But when we give up on trying to change what can't be change, and simply embrace what we love, a miracle occurs. We notice that the moment to be happy has already arrive. It's here, now.

Every day, I sit with a friend at work for lunch. Lately, he has been talking about this idea of time and how it will be the ruin of mankind as it becomes the all-consuming problem of how we don't have enough of the stuff (time), so we race around, busying ourselves in occupation to overfill it in order to think ourselves successful. That may not be exactly what he is talking about, but that's what I've taken away from it. And since I have pretty busy days that end with still things to do on the list, I've paused to consider this. And then Martha weighs in on it.

One thing about what she speaks to is this obsession with accomplishing big things. To that, I say this ... as I reflect on it, the things that I feel most accomplished in are those that are small. I love to write up a little list of this and that and do it. It is usually full of things that have no particular importance or priority, but I know that once I check off each item, I will feel accomplished. I'm looking at such a list right now ... and I've completed all but one item. Pretty good. Will that last item get a check? Perhaps, but I won't lose any sleep if it doesn't because I got most of it done.

The other thing that I've found helpful in this need to feel that my time has been well spent, is to consider what I've accomplished and look for a trend. OK, I did this a few years ago, and it's in line with what I did over the summer ... let's hook those together and make a direction. I have all sorts of circles of connections so that when something new comes my way, I think ... will it fit into what I've already accomplished to make it richer, more layered, or is it wholly unconnected with what I have enjoyed doing and so pass on it. I'm not saying that a new circle can't be born. It can, but usually it happens after several smaller occasions of activities have taken place, and I am able to identify a new trend in what I enjoy doing.

I do think that time is important to mark. I have not worn a wrist watch for I can't even remember how long. And in not wearing one, I feel that I have a better sense of time. Do I ask for the time sometimes? Yes. But when I ask for the time, I usually need an exact minute for a bus or a deadline when my 15 minute give or take won't do. But other things mark time as well. Rituals and tradition are good for this. I'm lucky to have a family that has built a lot of tradition into its yearly life. It's this month, so this will be happening. Having this, clears up a lot of time. I don't have to plan for it. And I know what the deal is, so I'm able to enjoy it. I can be present in it.

The younger ones in my family like to say, 'this is on my bucket list.' They picked it up from the movies, and most find it endearing that they make this list. I'm not so sure about that. For one, they're kids, and kids get to enjoy no-time more than ever again in their lives. Didn't summer feel like FOREVER when you were a kid. What about the wait for Santa? Unfathomably long. They don't need to write bucket lists. They can just fill their buckets with the copious amounts of time that youth and minimal levels of responsibility that are given to their age.

Martha, I'm with you. I'm all for being present, and taking the time to recognize this and that I'm pretty satisfied with a list that's mostly checked off.

No comments:

Post a Comment