To be honest, I can’t remember what it was like not to be busy. You know the feeling of the constant juggle, checking the clock, reminders going off, rushing to, from and between the next something; even when trying to relax there is always some kind of compromise on our time.
My son reminded me recently that there are only so many heart beats in one lifetime, and my grandson is always talking about how he will miss me when I’m gone, that’s more of a security thing for him not because I am ready to fall off my perch!
One thing the past eighteen months has reinforced is that change is constant, expect the unexpected and if we are going to survive we need strategies to become resilient and learn to roll with the punches, so today I am thinking about time, how to be more present and in the moment and doing things that are worthy of spending the time.
Melbourne Australia is going into a seven-day lock down today because of Covid19, while across Europe they are tentatively coming out of lock downs that must have seemed endless. These drastic measures have been happening across the globe in an effort to preserve life as we know it.
It is almost a year since New Zealand moved from lockdown to level one and apart from a few minor changes to levels we have lived pretty much as before. The obvious issues around not being able to travel has limited our connecting with family outside of New Zealand and our desire for adventure to see the world, but for the most part we have been working, holidaying, enjoying sport, concerts and all the luxuries that life has too offer, we are as busy as we ever were.
My friend and her husband just returned from what she described as an absolute joyful ten-week South Island break; having both recently retired they were able to live each day as the weather and their thoughts dictated. She was invigorated by the luxury of pacing their journey and choices, if the sun was out, the fishing was good or cycling trails available, then the next stop could wait whilst they enjoyed the view and they soaked up the pleasure of life and each other.
This appreciation for a life at a considered pace was also reflected recently by my Mum when she recounted memories of Mothers Day, as peaceful and stress free. They would go to the garden and pick a white flower for their hair and then attend a church service to celebrate their mum. Christmas was just as low key whereby an orange may have been a treat for the day, whilst birthdays were deemed extra special as they would get a present. She remembered how much she appreciated one birthday when she received a bicycle as it meant she no longer had to trudge down the long metal road to school each day instead she could bike affording her more time. Show day was during springtime, and the ladies wore a new dress and adorned hats, whilst the men all wore three piece suits. They all gathered in the grassy car park at lunch for a picnic and it was her job to take the billy to get filled with boiling water for the cup of tea, no thermos in those days. The picture was of simple pleasures and families spending time together, yes they worked hard, yes there was a lot less convenience but perhaps with more time there was also more care, appreciation and presence.
When I think of our lockdown I think of the silencing of the industrial noises, particularly the traffic and remember the heightened sounds of the delightful bird song which have unfortunately now retreated. Restrictions meant we couldn’t rush to the shops to purchase the latest ‘must have’, forcing us to revert to more basic things to spend our time on, the jigsaws and games came out of storage and the walks around the block became mandatory. However now we are back to being busy, rushing again, not having time to walk around the block, listen and just be. Our life seems to be so full with stuff and expectation and wanting.
I’m not naïve enough to think that we should return to the past; who would want to give up their dishwasher, washing machine, television or car. But if we make a conscious effort to use the time that these conveniences provide us and make ‘time’ the priority so that we can indulge in the luxury of family, friends, our passions and adventures then we will all be better off.
I intend to take more time ‘to be’ and not ‘to fill’ with stuff.