We All Have Time. It's Just Weird!
We've all said to someone whose requested something of us, "I don't have time". We end with a sigh as if it's out of our control, but in reality, we all have 24 hours every day, the same amount for each of us. Some of our time we spend eating, sleeping, working, Facetiming, wasting, and many other things that our unique lives require. But a lot of our time is spent on things that may not be productive, just things we choose to do. If we have financial goals and we're stressed trying to meet them, we work longer hours and tell friends and family, "I just don't have time". See, we all have priorities. Just think of the first part of that word, PRIOR. We deliberately place one thing prior to another on our schedule because it's more important to us. So, what we're really saying is, "I don't have you high enough on my priority list" for whatever the person may be requesting or wanting from us.
Sometimes we hide behind the "I don't have time" colloquialism when the truth is that we really don't want to do something. Hey, I get it! I'm not saying we need to do everything others request or desire that takes up our precious time. And I'm not saying we need to change that soft language to something overly direct, like, "What you need doesn't fit within my priorities". But where it gets a bit fuzzy is when we tell our loved ones those same words. We all have to work (most of us), eat, rest, have leisure time, and so on, but how often do we tell those who we love the most or who need us the most, "I don't have time"? Sometimes we do so all in the spirit of working hard to provide for them. And there is an element of reality there. If our child wants to just stay home with us all day every day and we are no longer able to make an income, sure, that would't be good. So, there is balance in everything.
How often do we dads and moms tell our child(ren) that we'd spend more time with them if we weren't working so hard to provide all the nice things we're providing for the? Is that what they want? Or is it what we want, to prove how successful we are? Staying a step ahead of the Joneses. But what they really need from us is our time. Do we do the same with our aging parents? Now that most of the workforce is at home 24/7, I wonder how many have still not spent more of that promised time with the loved ones that have been put off for so long. Perhaps we're making new excuses. Can we reevaluate our priorities? Can we now put them on our list prior to something not as important?
When I say "time is weird" (in the title), I'm referring to the phenomenon that we all occasionally experience. A year can fly by before we even notice, and then an hour can seem like an eternity. Our perspective at the time, the circumstances, our attitudes, and many other factors dictate how we sense time. When I was 10, the short few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like an epoch. These days, I just can't believe it's time to put the lights back on the house. Wasn't Christmas just a month or so ago?
Now, back to our kids and other loved ones, one thing I've never heard anyone say is "I just wish I hadn't spent so much time with my kids (or my parents, or that good friend)!" And please, no guilt trips allowed. We've all missed the mark on this (or many of us anyway) and may have even lost a loved one or a friend with whom we regret not spending more time. It's not about the past (there's a time word again), but about today and going forward. If we could just stop for a minute of meditation and reflect on those we love and what we've put off regarding them, a few great ideas will emerge. We'll find creative ways to make memorable moments with them if we just slow down a little during this "downtime". :)