It was once suggested to me that I was a “through time” person. What this means is that I tend to focus on what is ahead. I’m a planner, somewhat of a dreamer (but not in the staring out of a window in a daze sort of a way), someone who is listening to you (no honestly) but sometimes I have been known to be also thinking about my reply and likely to interrupt (yes that is awful of me and I’m trying to change).
In contrast an “in time” person is someone who is totally involved in the here and now. This person is unaware of time passing, they are fully invested in the conversation or activity they are in and they’ll worry about the next thing when it comes and slaps them across the face.
Like a wise young four year old son continually warns me, “I’ve got good news and I have got bad news for you Mummy”. The good news is that being a “through time” person I have a large capacity to be involved in many things. I’m the friend who if you ask her to help with something or be somewhere at a certain event/place I will deliver. Because I plan, I know what my diary is looking like, I can juggle, I’m used to doing one thing whilst planning six other things. The bad news is that I don’t fully experience what is happening now, because there is always a percentage of me thinking about what is next or even what is after the thing, that is after the next thing.
When I became a mother I think I became less extreme on the “through time” dial, you have to, because if that baby is going to take 40 minutes to have a full feed then you are just going to have to sit there and let them finish. Or if you want your children to have any pleasant memory of their mother from their childhood, you are going to have to actually sit down and play with them for more than 20 minutes at a time. I imagine the “in time” mothers have had to lean over to my side of the fence too, because you can’t just spend three hours celebrating the relationship your child has with food, you’re going to have to prepare some of it at some point. And you can’t just get up in the morning and “wing” a day, toddlers need itineraries people!
I have battled with the concept of being “content in my circumstances”, because I really want to be, content. I know I am privileged. I know that my problems are ridiculous in terms of what people are facing all over the world right now. I know that joy strengthens me and gives me health. I want my children to remember laughter and have special memories of their childhood as they become adults and face the challenges of their journeys through life.
But often I let worry and fears about the future crowd my mind so that I’m far from content. In fact I am sad, I am critical and judgmental, I compare what I have with what others have and moan. Ugh it’s exhausting.
I hope that none of you feel that way and you skip through your days in a meadow of thankfulness and bliss, but in my research of chatting with friends, I think most of us feel something other than content from time to time.
Something that has become a mantra for me and if I’m disciplined about making it a way of life it really helps with the contentment thing is – to take each day as it comes. I literally cannot add hours to my day. Planning can perhaps make things go more smoothly and make the most of the hours in a day (unless you have toddlers, then you’re dreaming), but there is still only 24 hours in a day and ideally eight of them should be asleep. So I have 16 hours in my day and that’s all I should concern myself with.
Most days, my 16 hours are going to be full, so I tell myself to just “be” in them. Try and enjoy the bits that are good and not get stressed about the least appealing parts of the day, like dropping the children off at school or you know, work. Some days, when I really need to, I can be telling myself to just concern myself with the hour I am in!
Like a wise old man by the name of Albert said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” and he’s not wrong. Time ensures everything doesn’t happen at once so why do I let everything happen at once in my head? Time was designed to allow us to experience things in order, separately, in their rightful place.
I am at the end of the day now. All I have left is to clean my teeth and kiss my children as they sleep. I’ll try to do a thorough job on the first task and make the most of the second. Tomorrow? I will think about it when it’s today.