Did you know there was a day when I wore a little timer clipped to my waist? And that every half hour that little timer ding-donged, reminding me of it’s presence? Talk about organized! Until the battery died, I held myself to a (mostly) rigid schedule of half-hour increments, forcing myself to give a written account of the minutes I had lived, and exploring the meaning of ‘redeeming the time’. It surprised me to discover how much I could accomplish in a five minute span of time. It also amazed me how many little slots of time I had wasted in absolute mindlessness, when they might have been productive. I took up projects that were conducive to those scraps of time. Quilting, for instance. With enough planning (and an evening spent cutting out the pieces and organizing them into their separate bags), I could pick up my little sewing box, open the lid and begin sewing where I left off. The ease of this procedure tickled me. I applied the idea of using ‘little minutes’ to EVERYTHING, for a while. Crocheting projects sprung to life in my hands – so long as they were a repetitive-enough pattern – knitting, tatting. Embroidery didn’t work so well, but that’s ok ’cause I didn’t have time for it anyway. For about a year of my life, you could find me neck deep in one of these projects at almost any time of the day or night. At home, during family devotions, while waiting for the meal to begin (my mother quickly put as top to this one), sometimes while babysitting, if the kids were watching a movie, and on the road. Oh! Yes! On the road! Many drives to church or the grocery store were spent this way. I crocheted and knitted until my hands developed a daily ache, and it was at that point that I began to slow down.
By the time Jordan came into my life, I was losing the skill (and the urge) to use up all those spare minutes, and then of course, it was so distracting to have a young man in my life. Relationship led to engagement led to marriage, in a surge of happenings, and my mental energy was consumed by it. The months (well, all two-and-a-half of them) before my wedding were honestly the busiest months of my entire life. The Time Machine gobbled them up in one bite, I think, not bothering to chew them into their little increments of days and weeks.
Then came the reality of married life. Little, little apartment an hour from civilization. Spiders, dark corners, damp walls and a heater that didn’t work consistently. Many days I opted to take the long ride to work with Jordan, and hang out there, bored to tears, rather than spend those quiet hours at home, cut off from everything I knew and loved.
One move and a few weeks later, I am stopping to breath, and think, and absorb the residue of the moments gone, and I suddenly wake up to the realization that THERE IS NO ORGANIZATION TO MY LIFE!!! Granted, events had been changing so quickly for a time that there was no opportunity to create a schedule before all the important factors had once again changed. And yet, I miss it. I miss the meaning in all those little moments, the constant progress of one project or another, the sweet and satisfying sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and the realization the my time is my own. I have not given any of it to that which I do not prize and pursue. I am longing for a timer to clip to my belt, and remind me of the fleeting minutes and the golden opportunities.
In my heart, I know it is a not a timer I need. It is the discipline of mind to count the hours, to plan ahead, to live with purpose, rather than just let the minutes happen. It is the inner strength to overcome all my good ‘intentions’ and turn them into actions. And this discipline, this strength – which I once had, and lost – I must recover now, while I have the chance, before life throws me another curve ball, and I have to bend myself a different way. Does anybody else feel this way?