Time – Where does it go? Where can I get more?

A prosaic question to lead toward how we find the joy in life.

Obligations use time. Family, work, eating, sleeping, socialising. Keeping house, gardening, shopping, walking the dog. Obligations and the time they take.

All these obligatory things take time away from writing. Apparently, I should be able to write a book a month. Maybe I could if there was nothing else in my life. Maybe I could if they were short stories (which I’ve done for most months over the last year, and submitted). Maybe I could if I wanted to burn out in a spectacular moment and lose everything that wasn’t writing related.

I’m not going to ‘should’ myself. It’s a lesson learned early in my role as foster carer.

Let me tell you a story, a real story, only slightly ruffled around the edges to keep the innocent from harm (that may even be me).

Okay. Ready?

Once upon a time, a long time ago when the world was young and I was, too, I had time and energy to do everything. Or I thought I did, or could, or should.

As a foster carer, I thought I should be in charge, manage my time and theirs, my life and theirs, my purpose and theirs.

A bit wrong-headed. I should’d myself out of a real life.

The eldest foster pestered me to let go of the reins, to take time to open the gate and wander free of the self-imposed encumbrances (yes, he used that word) and weights of an invisible and unnecessary obligation.

Why not trust him with a bit of the load, let him learn and demonstrate his value to the world? To me? To himself?

Life lessons are hard, and sometimes we break under the strain of expectations, either self-imposed or brought to bear by others, by age, by the things we have no control over.

When I was younger, I could work three jobs, drive long distances every day, walk the dog in the dark when everyone else was asleep. Maybe the breakdown wouldn’t arrive if I didn’t ignore his lesson. Lesson? Oh, it’s about what was possible and what was beneficial despite handing over responsibility to an unknown potential result. But his words woke a flicker of lightness. Carrying the load alone doesn’t bring joy, or even pleasure. Not to me, or to him. Enabling him to share the load brought him joy – and it was easy for me to see when it may have been too much. Because I was outside it.

This is where I’m standing now. I dream of doing the things I used to do, that I was capable of doing when I was fit and young and driven and indestructible (not that long ago in my mind).

My writing has suffered because I thought I should be able to do this, and that, and everything else. But as age is inevitable, and the body’s response to overload becomes more painful, I need his lesson again.

Stop, smell the rain, do things at a pace I’m capable of sustaining.

To return to the joy of creating stories rather than the expectation that I should be more than I’m capable of sustaining in all forms of mind, body, and soul.

Stop trying to do everything, be everything, or even to be like others. It’s time to be just me.

That’s where I am. Still creating, not quickly, and there may not be a story published by me this year, but there are pots on the stove, and veg growing in the garden.

What do you do in your life that brings you joy?

24 thoughts on “Time – Where does it go? Where can I get more?

  1. -hugs- Oh how this resonates. Bits of my spine are slowly deteriorating and your lessons have become my lessons. I can’t dig big holes any more, not without paying a heavy price for days or weeks afterwards. And sleep is more fragile, leaving the brain less able. I expected grey hair and wrinkles. I didn’t expect /this/. Another learning curve I suppose.
    The thing that keeps me going is something a 90-something ballet teacher said: “I do what I can while I can.”
    Diminished but not defeated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that – what I can when I can. I’ll make a sticky for the computer with those words.
      Not sure about the ‘diminished’, though. The body is worn, paying the price of an indestructible youth, but diminished? No. I’m going to find some different words for that adage. I prefer to not consider myself as dim-anything.
      Sagacious and shrewd with age and wisdom.
      The sharpest tool has an edge honed over years by the same hand (doesn’t say much, though, does it? I’ll work on it).

      Do you have any I can use?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to believe, but normal people ( non writers ) especially the retired, are happy going about their daily life without worrying about catching up with their blogs or starting their next novel! It’s nearly three years since I published my last novel and I haven’t started another yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to change my circle of friends! Everyone I know wants more time for something: travel, holidays, time with grandies/family, wind-down time. And of course, writers are always looking at finding time to finish, start, or work on stories (me, too!).


    • We have little birds that own our garden, and there is so much pleasure watching their world for a few minutes. Honeyeaters, wrens, shrikes – their lives play out through the window, and it’s a moment of peace.

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