I find myself wishing for a number of things these days, but nothing as much as time. The time to reflect, to read a book. The time to truly do nothing at all. Living without that has become the norm.
Work steals most of my attention, but that’s not shocking. After work, there is another set of obligations: the social obligations and the little life necessities we all have. The little errands that won’t do themselves, the phone calls that need to be made to check in on loved ones many time zones away, the countless dinner and coffee plans I’m constantly making and changing, and then rearranging, again and again, to catch up with friends, old and new. It’s a balancing act. And one that I’ve gotten somewhat good at, because I’ve been willing to give up one big chunk of time. And that’s the time for myself.
When I was living in the South, my time was different. I still remember there always being a lot to squeeze in, but I remember it feeling different. I still had the time to check in with myself, to know where I was at, how I was feeling, what I wanted and mostly, what I needed. That’s what I have the most trouble accessing time for now. I’ve forgotten how to reflect on where I am in the moment and why that’s so important.
This is a place where people say it can be easy to lose yourself. And I think I’m starting to understand that more and more. Sometimes I feel like I look up from under the pile of work I have and two weeks have gone by. In that time I can’t tell you the funniest thing I watched on TV, or the newest song I heard that made me feel something, or the best and most honest conversation I had with someone because I’m not taking the time to really focus on these things. I simply can’t. I’m multi-tasking, I’m making lists about work when I’m not at work, I’m trying to find ways to shave time off of projects to add to other obligations. At some point it becomes too much. Maybe this is just how life gets, but I remember it being different, and I want that kind of time back.
And maybe it’s not so much the time itself, because we will always have those same 24 hours a day to get things done, but maybe it's the idea of time. The understanding that everything will get done and if it doesn’t happen today, well guess what? It can be done tomorrow. The knowledge that sometimes taking a little personal time is more important than everything else you have on your list for the day.
On a whim, I drove to Santa Ynez this past weekend to catch up with some of my favorite people who were in town visiting from Athens, GA, and I got a little glimpse of what that kind of time used to feel like. It really gave me some much needed time to think and I encourage you all to take a little break and focus on yourself for a change; consider it a little spring reset. You don’t know what you might find.