Confession: I have a problem with self-control. If it’s available I will devour it. It’s true. If there is chocolate cake sitting on my counter, it won’t be there long. Just like if there is credit available on my credit card….it won’t be there long. My lack of self-control is the single greatest cause of stress in my life and I am over limit. This is precisely why I don’t buy potato chips or cookies (often). In order to maintain self-control I am the type that just needs to cut the hand off completely. (This is a Christianese reference) So I adjust my shopping list and keep my credit cards at ridiculously low limits or close them completely, but there is one area of my life where I still struggle and that is with time. Time is harder to limit or eliminate and so I spend it until I am maxed out constantly trying to fit 30 hours into a day. The only way I know how to eliminate it, is to remove myself from all distractions but unfortunately, I can’t do that on a regular basis. The result is never being fully present in any moment and always left wanting.
Have you ever noticed that children don’t have this problem. When Ella is having her early morning cuddles, she isn’t thinking about how she needs to get showered and ready for the day. She isn’t making a mental list of all the things she needs to get done and she isn’t worried about the time she is using in fear that she won’t have enough later to do other things. She is just enjoying the warmth of my body, waking slowly and peacefully, taking the time she needs without regret. Likewise, when Jakob is colouring, he isn’t worried about hurrying up and finishing so that he can play with lego or even practice his violin. And when we rush him, he is always so upset if he can’t finish his picture, because in that moment, his picture is all that matters.
But we lose this “present-ness” as we become adults. Each moment is filled with thoughts and possibly worry of what comes next, what we’re missing, or what we need to still fit in. I have said “yes” to too much. I admit it. The problem is that I enjoy everything that I do, but that enjoyment is hindered because I am constantly thinking about the 500 other things that I need to do.
This weekend, I had 500 things to do. Each day was carefully planned out to maximize time, but I didn’t account for incidentals, or miscommunications and Monday, plans had to change (something I don’t deal well with) and the kids and I found ourselves killing 2 hours at Granville Island while we waited for Ben to be finished his rehearsal. Two hours I could have been packing, or working, or editing photos, or studying or cleaning, or or or…
But instead, my children demanded the time that had been deprived of them, during the
weeks months prior. They inadvertently established priorities and boundaries when I had no self-control to do it myself. And we just were. We went to the toy store, we ate muffins, we walked….
As we head into this shortened week (which is always bittersweet because really it just means one less day to get everything done) I hope you find the balance that you need and, as they say, Carpe Diem.