Last week, my kids celebrated the end of their first quarter with a Recognition Rally in the school gym. As I sat in the bleachers with the other parents, watching the principal award each honor roll student with a certificate, it hit me: We are already in the second quarter! Where has the time gone?
Before I sent my baby off to full-day kindergarten, I was worried that I would be depressed and lonely. How would I spend my time? Maybe I would go back to work part-time? Focus more on writing? Get my photos organized and the “2016 Family Album” caught up? Or, finally clean out my storage room? Maybe I’d start cooking more meals from scratch and stockpiling my freezer with casseroles and soups? All great ideas in theory, but not in action…
Instead, I find myself rushing from drop-off to work out…to Costco/Target/Trader Joe’s…to the physical therapist’s/dentist’s/hair salon…home to change a load of laundry, clean up the house and to make dinner…and back to pick-up. Occasionally, I’ll sneak in a volunteer meeting or lunch with a friend. But, mostly, I feel like a little gerbil on a wheel: Running, running, running, but not really getting ahead on any of my grandiose plans…
I remember reading an article in the New York Times by Carl Richards titled, “Your Spending Choices Often Reflect Your Values.” In it, Richards asserts that if a future cultural anthropologist were to stumble upon one of your credit card statements, he could make basic assumptions about your values based on how you spend your money. He encourages the reader to take time to look at what you say you value, versus the values reflected on your receipts…and, to be more proactive about aligning the two.
When I look at my family’s crazy schedule on my iCal, I recognize that there isn’t a lot of free time right now. Our after school hours are jam-packed with homework, dinner and the juggling of three kids’ extracurricular activities. My husband’s evenings are often consumed with meetings and various call shifts. We are all racing against the clock to get everything on our “to do” lists accomplished before bedtime.
If a future anthropologist were to find my iCal, no doubt he’d think we were a little crazy and over-scheduled. But, he’d see that I value my family (they take up most of the space on my calendar). And, I value my health; I deliberately carve out time each day to exercise. He’d also see that I value my friendships, extended family and volunteerism. (Luckily, my iCal does not reveal all of the time I waste on mind-numbing Bravo TV and other guilty pleasures.)
As I sit and ponder where all of my time has gone, I realize that I need to be more intentional about setting aside time to do things that are important to me…and intentional about defining what is important to me. As my blog gets ready to celebrate its first anniversary, I need to decide if I want to make it a priority – or if I want to pursue other goals…
I also want to encourage you, my beloved reader, to look at your own calendar and to see if it reflects what is most important to you. Because, it’s true: Our time is finite, so we must cease the day!
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