Time. People think money is the biggie… but seriously, it’s ‘time’ that is the valuable commodity.
It is precious. When someone gives you their sacred time, it is considered special, generous, kind-hearted even.
The downside with this is that there are many that think the absence of your time, is something bad.
In this case, the opposite of something good, such as giving your time, does not equal bad – the absence of time.
It means just that… the absence of time.
No emotion should be attached.
Nothing more, nothing less.
There can be a whole bevy of reasons why you cannot give someone your time. The options in being time-poor are limitless.
There is family – your immediate family, or your extended family.
Parents – you could be caring or assisting for your elderly parents, sick parents, widowed parents. They could need a little or a lot of help. They can live in your home due to their vulnerable state, or they may live on the other side of town and require you to drive once a week for… groceries? Doctors appointments? Company and companionship? And that’s on a good week.
Siblings – you could be helping them with their families, or just lending an ear to some concerns. You could be looking after their kids, driving them around town, or cooking for them if they have been unwell.
Then there’s the whopper, KIDS. Just your own kids, and you can be met with responsibilities of childcare, school, after-school activities, and then the social occasions that come with all of the above. None of this includes the every day routines of keeping your kids fed, slept, washed, entertained and in a state of happy health and learning.
This list doesn’t include your time spent with a developmentally challenged child. It doesn’t include the challenges of a child starting school and dealing with separation anxiety, nor does it include a teenage child, exposed to drugs and alcohol and sex, and the concerns and minefields involved in navigating this tricky field of adolescent development.
This list doesn’t include meetings and illnesses and dentist appointments, nor does it include the hours dedicated to getting your kids asleep, getting them awake, and then getting them to listen to you all other times.
As you can see, that is just one area where you can be extremely time-poor.
Another area is work. Commute to and from, hours spent at workplace, and unfortunately for some the work of bringing it all home… homework.
This does not include school, or study. Again, travel time. Study time, which needs to be fit in around all the other life responsibilities and obligations you have (see above list).
You might have activities of your own: yoga, local basketball team, or that art class you’ve started experimenting in. We all need something to work towards, and the pursuit of happiness and life fulfillment is a worthy one, and one that will make our time on earth a far more enriching experience.
Then there is health, and I don’t mean that of the body… that of the mind. Mental health. The things that plague us in the middle of the night, the worries and anxiety that creep in during daylight hours, and the insecurities that prevent us from moving forward and make us immobile in our day, that keep our hearts heavy and cheeks tear-stained… those are the ones that make a tremendous and negative impact on our time. Because we stay stuck in it. Unable to go forward. Desperate to take the first step yet not knowing how.
I haven’t mentioned partners. I haven’t mentioned friends. I haven’t mentioned our own ills. I haven’t mentioned our furry friends.
I haven’t mentioned, the routine of eating and sleeping and hygiene and clean clothes.
I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted just reading the above lists.
Oh, that’s right. SLEEP.
You can see the picture I am painting here though. Time is precious. Time is hard to come by.
If someone gives you their time, GOOD.
If someone doesn’t give you their time… GROW UP.
This is what I’ve come to realise lately. There are those who expect nothing from you and are there to lend a hand or an ear when available… and then there are those who look to the past, compare your life with theirs constantly, and expect you to fight and eat and breathe their existence, chasing after them as if they are the Sun, and you the Earth, necessary to orbit around them… 365 days a year.
My response? I’m sorry.
I don’t have time for this.
I’ve come to some hard realisations lately. People who I thought were always there for me are too demanding. They need my reassurance constantly.
I am not your parent. You are a grown person. I have my own shit to deal with and let me tell you, I am doing you a favour by not letting you into that.
I have realised that people I haven’t been able to be there for constantly (i.e. time issue) have recently been there for me in ways I never expected. Happily. Wholeheartedly. There was no “she wasn’t there for this so I won’t be there for her.” No comparing. No judgement. No ill-wishes. No guilt.
I had people who were simply there for me, without question.
It opened my eyes. It showed me my relationships in a new light.
People are always changing aren’t they? And so even those that make us happy/sad now, might make us sad/happy in the future, just as abruptly…
But my main point? Time. Time is of the essence, we don’t have enough of it, and if someone is going to make me feel guilty for failing to make them the focal point in my life…
Sorry not sorry. I should be the only focal point in my life. It is MY LIFE after all.
I just don’t have time for this anymore.
Photo by Jesse Parkinson on Unsplash