This week I am thinking about time. Or more accurately, about the lack thereof. OK, here’s the truth: I am a chronically late person. I’m not happy with this state of affairs but it’s a fact.
A few days ago, I had a dermatology appointment in Georgetown, which is about 45 minutes from Killeen with no traffic or delays. I should have allowed an hour, or even an hour and 15 minutes. Instead I did what I always do—I showered and dressed and saw that I had extra time and so pushed the envelope by answering an e-mail and making a cup of coffee for the road.
By the time I got behind the wheel to head out, I had exactly 43 minutes to get to my appointment. Needless to say, I arrived 15 minutes late, which is precisely the amount of time you can be late before your appointment is cancelled.
I almost laughed out loud when the receptionist --who had kind eyes and looked like she truly regretted telling me the bad news-- told me my new appointment would be July 27th.
As I slunk out of the office, I tried to find the positives in the situation. Was there a bigger, deeper reason for my fruitless, hour-long drive? I soon got my answer. Starting the return drive home, I tuned the radio to NPR and began listening to a interview on the “Diane Rehm” show.
The show featured an author—an envyingly clever and talented writer by the name of Heidi Julavits—who recently came out with a book with the fabulous (time-relevant) title of: “The Folded Clock.” It is in diary format with each new entry beginning, “Today I,” the mode many childhood journals follow. What is unique about her book, however, is the fact that her diary is not in chronological order, and she muses about seemingly trivial things in the most fascinating way.
She was witty and utterly charming to listen to. I figure I was meant to hear this interview, if for no other reason than to inspire me to write more mindfully.
Time is on my mind in other ways, too. Lately, I am unaccountably nostalgic for the days when my two boys were babies and toddlers.
This morning, while walking the dog, I passed a playground where a family was recreating—the parents were pushing two young children on the swings. One of the tots pointed his chubby finger at Murphy and said “Daw.” (Notice how time has magically erased all the exhausting aspects of raising small children in my mind.)
It’s been often said that the challenges we parents face do not disappear as our children grow, they merely change and become bigger and more complex. Not particularly comforting to hear but true. I know that in the near future, my kids’ current “problems” will seem quaint and manageable to me. And now that they’re older, my two boys’ personalities are becoming clearly defined, making them far more interesting people to be around. So I honestly don’t want them to be babies anymore…maybe I simply wish I’d appreciated those early years more.
But let’s go back to the precious resource of time. Not having enough time is the defining hallmark of our modern age. I can’t think of a single person I know who has enough of it, or who feels he or she always uses it wisely.
I struggle with time on a daily basis. At night, I’ll set my alarm for an hour before the boys wake up in the hopes that I can embrace some quiet moments and possibly even assume “child’s pose” and meditate. I’ve actually followed through with this plan twice over the last year; most mornings I slap the snooze button so fast it would make my head spin, had I been awake.
Once the day is officially started and in gear, it seems I blink and it’s noon, another blink and I’m figuring out dinner. When I stop and think about it, the whole time concept scares the hell out of me.
How will there ever be enough of it to do all the things I have on my “bucket” list? Australia, for example--when will I get there when I can barely find the time to go to Austin? And what about those hobbies I promised myself I’d try when “there’s more time.” Ceramics, jewelry-making, ballet, jiu jitsu. Stop the madness! Frankly, it can make a gal a little nuts.
The comforting part is that we’re all dealing with the challenge of time and doing the best we can. There is no doubt that time is frustratingly ephemeral and that we only get 24 hours with which to make a living, express ourselves creatively, love our family and friends and enjoy leisure activities, not to mention sleep.
I vow to spend less of this precious resource squandering it on mindless television binges and more of it on the things that matter. And I’m working on that being late thing too.
Just give me some time.
Married to it
Saturday, April 11, 2015 5:33 pm.