It’s About Time…

20180528_150323689_iOS.jpgIn the background of life, time steadily ticks — loudly or softly depending on the day.  From that split second when life sparked and you became a zygote, the timeline of your being began. Boom, you silently existed and not even your mother knew your timer had started. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, years go by and you can’t stop time or go back for a re-do. Even as my hands type these words another 20 seconds of my life have gone by and yours too if you are reading this. We are on a journey that ultimately ends in the flash of a second when our life energy exits our bodies and we cease to be but memories to those who knew us here.

Time is hard to wrap my mind around. It is such a fluid concept. We measure it in terms of Earth’s relationship to the moon and the sun.  The Earth’s rotation on its axis, the moon’s orbit around the Earth, the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We measure time linearly, marking our existence as we travel through space.  My mind turns this thought over and over (and time continues to pass even so). Time is constant. Yet, my perception of time is not, nor yours I presume. This is especially true now as we our news feeds flood with graduation pics, wedding photos and requests for prayers. It was true Wednesday, as I stroked the head of my daughter’s 4-H goat as he unexpectedly breathed his last breath and lie still. Even more profoundly still years ago when I kissed my grandmother’s cheek the last time. My mind can perfectly replay the last time I saw her, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch with a blanket wrapped around her shoulder even though the thermometer read 90 degrees, the sun shining on her face. As I backed out of the drive way, I knew this would be the last time I would see her in this world.

My mind easily goes back in time.  It goes back to the day I felt that flutter of life within my womb the first time and longed for those nine long months to hurry up so I could hold my daughter in my arms. Yet, that moment that seems so long ago and like yesterday at the same time, happened seventeen years ago.  When running on the treadmill, a minute feels like an hour (or more like a week!), while sitting in a cool, darkened theater, watching Deadpool 2 flashes by in mere minutes.  The amount of time that passes by stays the same, even though my perception of it does not. While I’d rather that long drive to my vacation destination to feel like minutes and our time relaxing by the pool to feel like years, it doesn’t work that way.  A week after I’ve returned to work and the daily grind, that vacation spot only weeks ago feels like decades past.

Mindfulness teaches us to live in the moment. It reminds us to focus on our breathing and to be rounded in the moment we are living this second. Doing so, helps slow down anxious thoughts and rehashing the what-ifs of decisions past. It helps shut down negative thinking and self-criticism. I don’t have to record every moment of my journey with a selfie or a hash tag.  Stopping myself from reliving the past helps me learn to be enough and be happy in the now.  Yet, when that “on this day”reminder, pops up in my Facebook feed or the cycle of the seasons repeats itself in my yard – crocus -> daffodils > tulips > peonies… Time reminds me that it is a precious commodity that once lived cannot be repeated, but if we are lucky we are given another moment. While I’d like that warm embrace of a first kiss to last years and a sniffling head-cold to last mere seconds, I don’t want to wish away my time here on Earth.  My life is seemingly not as linear as time dictates it to be, but my perception of time is a series of zigs and zags, stops and starts, ups and downs. Looking back on those memories remind me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.  Having dreams and goals give me the inspiration to take a step forward toward the future that will be here whether I like it or not. And being mindful of the moment I’m in right this second, allows me to be grateful for that ticking clock of life.

Why did I write this post on time, I’m not sure.  Would I like the power to pause, rewind and fast forward time? Or to travel through time and back again? Maybe? Would you?

Today. Not Tomorrow.

2013-01-29 09.06.00Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. The sound of an old-fashioned, wind-up clock ticking off the seconds grounds me in the moment. Yet, no matter how you slice it, a day only contains 24 hours or 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. No more and no less. Why then do some days pass quickly while other drag painfully on and on? 

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”  While on the surface I agree with that sentiment, it seems the myriad of tasks that need my attention today often spill into tomorrow and the next tomorrow and the next. The question is not so much putting off those things that could be done today until tomorrow, but more on prioritizing those tasks appropriately. Which tasks if I complete today will bring me closer to my goals tomorrow? Which tasks if I put off until tomorrow will cause me to get an overdue charge or lose out on an important opportunity? Which tasks can I put off forever because they no longer matter? If only I had more time to figure it all out!

I work full-time as a technical writer. I’m a wife and the mother of two young daughters. In my spare time, I write contemporary romance novels, blog and try to promote my books. I want to be the best employee, wife, mother and author I can. When I focus on one the other areas in my life suffer. I don’t want to settle for mediocrity yet can’t imagine giving any of these roles up. How could I? They all define me and make me who I am. But because of them, I often find myself overwhelmed, irritable and struggling. I struggle with not being good enough, with being satisfied with where I am today and not worrying too much about what tomorrow might bring. I struggle with letting complacency keep me from longing for the perfect tomorrow. And, I struggle to keep that longing from preventing me from happiness today.

 

Time Musings

Missing Tooth

As I walked along our deserted country road this warm summer evening, holding my five-year-old’s hand, my mind wandered back through time. Last week she lost her first tooth. This afternoon she told me how she got to cross the road all by herself to get the mail, looking both ways to make sure no cars were coming of course. And in less than two weeks, she’ll start kindergarten. My eyes water already at just the thought of watching her climb aboard the big yellow bus and disappear out of sight.

I only have to close my eyes and I feel her tiny fingers wrapped around one of mine, her soft cheek pressed against my breast. I can hear the little sighs and gurgles she made as slept in my arms. I can smell the sweet pea shampoo in her freshly washed hair. I can see her little legs carry her across the living room, one shaking step at a time to reach my outstretched arms.

I try to wrap my mind around that elusive concept of time. Some days the seconds drag by in excruciating slowness. Yet in this moment it feels as if the years raced past me. Some days I wish I could pull a brake and slow time down and other days I want that fast forward button to take me some unknown place in the future that has to be better than the now. Some days I greedily wish for more time and other days  I wish it away.

Time…60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in day, 7 days in a week, 356 days in a year…The math adds up the same every time, yet in my mind I still struggle and wonder how that can be.

I try to live in the present. Not think too much about the past or skip too far to the future. I know I only really have this moment and then its gone. The moments turn into memories and if I contemplate too long I’ll miss it and the next time I look at my daughter, she’ll be leaving for college…

Watch Me, Mommy! Please!

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Watch Me

“Mom! Mom! MOM!!!!” the girls call to me in unison getting progressively louder.

“What!?” I ask slightly irritated.(To be fair, I am deaf in one ear, so when I am absorbed in something, I really don’t hear them.)

“Watch me!”

They then proceed to show the their cartwheels, dance routine, play or cheer for the tenth time in the last hour.

“Great!” I smile and return to my book, laptop, gardening, laundry or whatever else has preoccupied my mind.

“Mommy!”

“What?” I ask again cranky.

Watch us! Please!

They then start their routine over.

I sigh. Smile wryly and silently ask God for patience.

Does this sound familiar? Or is it just me? Have you ever noticed when you start talking on the phone,, pulling weeds in the garden or reading a good book or writing a blog article, that all of a sudden your children take a special interest in you? Their neediness moves into overdrive, questing for my undivided attention to the point of almost rudeness. As an introvert I need to have a little “me” time to escape into my thoughts and recharge. A time where I don’t have to answer questions or find lost shoes or help with chores or make a PB&J sandwich. I long for interrupted alone time, but lately this time has alluded me. Pushed to my limits of patience, I become a bit “grouchy” and a little “snappy” with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my girls. Working 40 hours a week in my day job, they miss me and I miss them. I enjoy their company, yet also enjoy my own company. I need to find the balance between “mommy” time, “work” time and “wife” time (yes, my husband wants me time too – go figure) and “me” time. My head throbs trying to work it out so everyone gets their “piece” and there is still enough left over for me.

In the past I tried getting up extra early in the morning to carve out that time. Lately though, insomnia’s knocked right on my door around 3 AM, so I’m just falling back asleep when the early alarm goes off. I’m not sure how to solve this problem and am not likely to figure it out this evening as…guess what?

The girls are calling me. They need help feeding their rabbits, getting a Popsicle from the freezer and…

Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Quest To Be a Morning Person

As I reflected on my need for more me-time to focus on achieving my goals and making my dreams come true, I determined I needed to carve out that time and take it back for myself. As I looked over my busy schedule, the answer became clear to me. As I know Santa won’t be bringing me any extra hours in my day nor will he be bringing the magic hand that automatically puts everything in its place that my youngest daughter imagined, the next best thing would for me to become a morning person.

I reflect on how wonderful it would be to wake up at 5:00 AM refreshed and ready to start my day. I would have two peaceful, wonderful hours all to myself to do whatever I wanted — no children, no husband, no phone calls or chores (that might wake someone up). In the early morning hours when everyone else was a sleep, I could work on my writing, edit my photos, do a little Wii Fit… The possibilities are endless. I could get so much accomplished with no interruptions.

The only problem? I am the snooze queen. I typically set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than I actually need to get up, just so I can push it at least twice. I am not going to let that little fact deter me though. I did a search on “becoming a morning person.” Believe or not I found hundreds of hits and quite a few good tips. Of all the articles I read there were three tips most sleep experts agreed on. 1. Go to bed at the same time every night by no later than 10, if possible. Even on weekends. That didn’t seem too hard.  I could do that. 2. Get up at the same time every morning. Even on weekends. I can do that too. Although, sleep-in Saturdays would be a thing of the past, it wouldn’t matter because I would love the morning anyway, right?  3. No snooze bars. None. You have to get up as soon as the alarm rings. Move the alarm across the room if you have too. Hmm. #3 is not so easy. I have been known to walk across the room to push the snooze and then get back in bed. But, this time however, I am determined. I am going to do this; I can do this. I won’t be long before I will be enjoying beautiful sunrises as I sip a hot cocoa and work on the latest revision of my book. Yes.

So, last night, I set my iPod touch for 5:00 AM. I was tucked into bed by 10:30 and asleep by 11:00 PM. I was only an hour off my goal, not bad. It seemed like my eyes had just closed and I’d nodded off to dreamland, when my alarm started to go off. I stumbled out of bed and went to turn it off, when I glanced at the other clock on my dresser. It read 2:00 AM. How could that be? What time is it anyway?  I checked the setting on my iPod. The timezone was set to auto-locate. For some odd reason, it thought I was in San Paulo where it was in fact 5:00 AM. I still had three more hours to sleep. Hurray I thought to myself. I turn autolocate off and selected the correct time zone. I went to the bathroom and then snuggled back under the covers and laid awake another 30 minutes until I finally feel back asleep.

Another five hours and fifteen minutes later I heard the keys in the door. My husband is on night shift this month and was just getting home. “Crap” I think to myself, what time is it? I glance at the clock and it reads 7:15! Great now I overslept. I check the alarm settings, somehow in my grogginess at 2:00 AM, I turned the alarm off. Sigh. The mad morning rush is off again (while my husband is home from work, he is busy doing well I’m not sure what. I try not to get angry at my perceived unfairness in life (as in why do I always have to get three people ready in the morning and he only has to get one ready?) as life isn’t fair you know. So, I wake the girls up. Shower, dress, hair, make up, brush teeth pack lunches, help the little one get dressed, sign the older one’s school planner, find the missing shoes and library books…I manage to get it all done and no one missed the bus and I’m on time for work. Success. Everything is good.

Tomorrow is another day and my alarm is set for 5 AM and the time zone is set to Eastern. I’ll be a morning person yet. Zip-pity Doo-dah…