“I don’t see how you have time to cook/bake/can/garden/etc.! I never have time for anything. Oh, did you see That Totally Trendy Reality Show last night?!”
Time is something we all have the same amount of each day while none of us know how much time is allotted to us in this life. Yet, “I don’t have time” is probably the most used excuse when it comes to practical hobbies like gardening, being frugal, eating better or exercising, or any number of other things people feel they should have time for or should do or merely want to do. We are constantly bombarded with messages about how little time in the day there is, or what new fast convenience item we need to “simplify” our lives, but these are the messages from people who want to sell you something. A life full of manufactured and purchased conveniences might be simple if you choose well, but it also may just be terribly cluttered with junk that takes up more time and money than it saves.
If you have spared a moment to plan ahead and thaw whatever needs to be thawed, you can throw together a quick one pan stir fry faster than you can get in the car, drive to a fast food restaurant, sit through an increasingly long drive through window, and drive home. Or, you could use a modern convenience like a slow cooker or rice cooker to have your food ready for you when it’s mealtime.
I believe it is true that modern life is more hectic than in former years, and that many families truly feel like they can’t catch up with all the things they are expected to do. Fewer households now have a stay at home adult whose job it is to manage the family needs, nor do they have elders living in the home who can contribute. But our time is still divided into 3 things:
- Mandatory things you have to do, like sleep, eat and stay clean
- Things you do for other people, like work for money to get things you can’t provide yourself
- Discretionary things you choose to do, like watch TV, or go to the gym, or take up a hobby.
Our modern lives are more hectic because we have more choices. Choice is a wonderful luxury. Nonetheless you still ultimately have to decide how to spend your discretionary time. Some time consuming tasks may surprise you. For example, how much time do you spend every morning caring for a complex hair style? Do you truly want to spend time on it? Perhaps you do — it gives you pleasure and makes you feel great. Or perhaps it is something you are expected to do by others that is a quiet anchor dragging you down. Toss it away, then.
Many of you are no doubt pondering new year’s resolutions, either formal or informal. If you find yourself struggling to “find time,” perhaps you need to carefully reassess the time you are spending now in all three categories. We all need to periodically ask ourselves:
Am I spending the time I have in this life doing that which gives me joy and that fills my time with meaning and purpose?
If the answer is no, the need for change is clear. Change may take time when you’ve made commitments and have responsibilities, but the change starts in your head.