So, spinning off from last week’s blog post about exploring our creativity, it occurred to me that maybe we would all like to know, really, how do we find more time and money to do that thing we want to do?
Money seems simple enough...spend less or go find another job that pays more. Or a second job or third.
I’d rather spend less, frankly. It feels easier. Which is why I’m choosing to downsize at this point in my life and get rid of half of my possessions.
I can’t help but notice that the more we spend, the more money we need to make and the more money we make, the more things we buy, and the more things we buy, well, the more space we need. Of course, many of us have attics, basements, garages, and walk-in closets for storing our extra stuff...Some of us choose to upgrade to bigger houses and if that’s not enough we can pretty easily rent storage units to make room for more. We can create or buy more space. We can always make more money, if we really want to.
But we’re pretty locked in when it comes to time. Because any way you look at it...we’ve got a solid 24 hours. A Hard Limit, you might say. (Sorry, couldn’t resist with the new movie out and all). I’ve felt the stress of time constraints like nobody’s business; my face pressed fully against the window of the proverbial 11th hour. Have you met me? I’m a recovering people pleaser, on-again off-again hot mess, say-yes-to-everything kind of gal who's developed a mad case of OCD.
Awhile back, my father had a serious ATV accident. He suffered injuries that caused him to be transferred to a trauma unit two hours from home, landing him in the ICU for several days, with my mother and me parked right beside him.
At that time in my life I had found myself involved with a number of community organizations, sitting on several boards of directors, the Vestry of our church, I was teaching a fitness class several times a week, serving as Room Mom, constantly taxiing the children, working part-time (part-time is my jam)...Doing everything, but doing nothing very well ...Have you seen Bad Moms?
But in those days, sitting with my father at the hospital; all the crazy simply came to an abrupt halt.
Time suddenly stood still for one of the most important people in my life. Looking back I thought it so odd that in the midst of this traumatic event, I was sleeping so well away from home, in a strange bed. Goddd, I was exhausted. I had been running the hamster wheel of my life so efficiently I hadn’t even noticed that I needed the break.
My mother and I rested when we could and sat with my dad for hours with nothing but time to consider. When will they be running the next test? When will he move out of ICU? How much longer? During those quiet hours I had learned a valuable lesson about my time. And that the ways in which I had been spending it in my regular life, were no longer serving me.
It was draining me.
Time went on, Dad got better, thankfully. (praying hands emoji). When things settled down, we went home, leaving my father behind to continue to heal and recover. I, almost immediately, crafted letters of resignation to the boards I was serving, I eventually stopped teaching Zumba and decided to step aside and let the other moms handle the school parties. I needed to just stop. Breathe. Enjoy my kids. Just be.
Holding that space, the available time that now presents when you’ve freed yourself from the bonds of obligation to everyone else... It’s tricky. After a few weeks the honeymoon wears off, you feel like the vacation is over and boredom creeps in, too much television watching and mindless munching, and you might succumb to despair and devastation upon the realization that you, without warning, have just run out of “next episodes” while binge-watching all seasons of Shameless ; that Lip and Fiona are not your friends.
And by you, I mean me.
More recently, I’ve had the fortuitous opportunity to stop working outside the home. I took 7 months off and decided to be very intentional about not slipping away to Never Never Land. I kept my days open and held the space in a way that something new could come into my life. I wasn’t sure what it would be, but I needed clarity...I made way for new ideas to emerge, I set aside time to be still, to reconnect with my spirituality. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. There were MANY days when I felt incredibly bored, restless….irritable. I wasn’t used to the slow pace and the days seemed
so. painfully. long. But I was determined to wait it out.
In hindsight, I recall shouting to the Universe to get on with it and show me what I’m meant to do next in the world!! I thought I would one day be walking around and all of a sudden be thunderstruck with this big lightbulb moment. It never really came.
Not like that, anyway. It sort of came gradually, in small bites...little snippets of inspiration drawn out over time. I had made room for creativity. And out of that space , quite certainly, albeit sooooo subtly that I barely noticed, came new thoughts and creative ideas….the ones you can now physically see throughout this website, through the blog, through our facebook page and our workshops. Had I not held the space for creativity, you most certainly would not be reading this post right now; I would have never had the time.
Don’t get me wrong….I’m not suggesting you go on and leave your job! Well, unless it serves you to do so then YES! Leave your job!!
More realistically, maybe you could adjust your sleep schedule; get to bed an hour early, rise an hour early, and hold that space of time in a more intentional way. Maybe you could work in a solo run or walk at the end of the day. Studies have shown that people think bigger, more creatively, in big open spaces, than they do indoors.
And I think it’s safe to say many of us could probably eliminate something in our lives that’s consuming our time in a mediocre way. You might take inventory of where your time is being spent. Ask yourself what’s draining you, what’s taking you away from being able to move forward with something new, what are you ready to unload or to unburden yourself from?
And as for those obligations outside the home, trust me when I say this: The Booster Club, the PTO, and all those community organizations will move on just fine without you. Really. Please don't wait for "someday"....when the kids are gone, when your parents are settled, when social security kicks in to explore your dreams...someday is NOW! And as we have come to know, we are not promised tomorrow.
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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