Thursday, November 10, 2011
"You spend your time on what you think is important." This, a pearl of wisdom overheard when I was giving chair massages at the Rochester Women's expo. Serendipitously, I had recently been thinking about that very idea. Fresh from my retreat, it came to me, as I took the time to finally face the mountains of stuff left over from my elementary teaching years, that I have been using the excuse that I don't have enough time to put off tackling this intimidating job. In my own defense, I have had an extraordinarily packed schedule for the last three years, but the other part of the truth is that the free time I did have was not always spent in the most productive, healthy, or life affirming ways.
Something I am beginning to realize is that it isn't about not having enough time. It is about not allocating the time I have. I teach a few undergraduate courses at a university. The other night we started talking about Facebook. Two of my ten students told me that they had deleted their Facebook accounts. They talked about how much time it was taking from their studies, as they were constantly being informed of new messages and "likes" as they worked on their laptops, they were unable to stay away from the constant chatter. Concerned that it was interfering with their studies, they both deleted their accounts. The rest of us were shocked by the drastic decision to delete rather than just hide their presence on the site. Shocked and a little envious. After all, we know the power that technology has over our time. We all, at times, want to be free of that.
A week later, both of the students had caved. Both had checked their accounts. What was supposed to be the start of our class resembled what I imagine a support group for people trying to quit Facebook might be like. We joked about it, but really that urge to check in on our friends, to read what they have posted, to see if anyone liked what we posted- it can be a strong urge and it can pull us away from other things. Technology in general- our smart phones, our laptops, our ipads. (Ok, YOUR ipad. I don't have one. Yes, I am jealous.)
I realized, when I got back from my retreat, all technologically-clean and sober, that I really have a lot more time than I thought I did. I was just spending it in ways that made me feel like I didn't have any time! I really like the idea that if we evaluate what we spend our time doing, we can be clued into seeing what we think is important. And if we don't agree with our assessment, then we can make changes the truly reflect how we want to be spending our time.
May you have all the time you need.
Wishing you balance,