It’s About Time

Lately I’ve been pondering about and grappling with Time. Today’s rumination…

“I’m wasting Time.”
“If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not a waste of Time.”
“What if what I’m doing isn’t what I want to be doing?”
“Why are you doing it then?”
“Well, sometimes you have to negotiate and compromise with loved ones to do what THEY want to do…”
“Then what you’re doing in those situations is love, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I suppose it is…doing what a loved one wants to do is an expression of my love for them”
“Then that’s not a waste of Time either. Love and kindness are never a waste of Time.”

Ahhhh, I hadn’t thought of it that way before. It continues…

“How you spend your Time is always a choice. Choosing to nap, to read, to pray, to play music, to watch TV, to play a game, to phone a friend, to chat with your husband, to daydream…it’s all your own doing, you leading you to spend that Time the way you want to. And choosing to spend Time the way you want to is never a waste.”

I still have questions and more than a few “but what if’s”, but I feel a little better.

One of the what if’s…

I spent a lot of time with my brother Gary after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hubby and I spent time buying him groceries, cooking his meals, cleaning his apartment; we spent time driving him back and forth to medical appointments, we spent time washing his favourite sheets and making his bed often so he would feel more comfortable. I spent time sitting by his side at the hospital, fetching blankets and hot tea during his 6+ months of chemotherapy, then I spent 6-8 hours every day by his bedside during the month he was in the hospital after his Stem-cell transplant, then I spent as much time as allowed during the heart wrenching four weeks as he lay dying in ICU. I held his beautiful head in my arms as he took his last breath.

Precious, precious Time.

I will always be grateful for having had that Time with my brother. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we let all of that Time slip by without ever talking about the possibility of death. I regret that loss of opportunity now…I regret not offering him the space and Time to talk about it with me. Was he afraid? Did he have a sense that death was possible? What were his thoughts about it? We never talked about it. It actually, sadly,   never occurred to me. And I feel cheated. Cheated by my own naivety and surprise when he died, even though I had spent so much Time sitting with him in that hospital, watching him fade before my eyes…somehow, I always believed deep in my soul that he would make it through. I simply wouldn’t allow death to be a possibility…and long after he did die, I felt like I cheated him of the chance to talk about it. Being with him was Time well spent, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. But I’m no longer sure it was how he needed that Time to be spent. I’ll never know. And I believe that wherever he is now, he’s safe and happy and there’s no point in going back. I’ve learned the hard way that there’s simply no point in ruminating to the point of being so consumed by guilt and regret that I lose sight of the precious moments of NOW. He wouldn’t want that. And I don’t want that for myself either. His death taught me how precious Time really is.

But I’m still grappling with what I’m supposed to do with my Time.

I’ll always remember how Gary used to cringe when people would use that phrase “just killing Time”. The diagnosis of cancer forever changed Gary’s perspective on Time. How precious to him was the mere thought of having so much spare Time (and energy to do something with it) that you could so casually toss (or “kill”) it away. I haven’t been able to use that phrase since Gary mentioned it to me. His changed perspective changed my perspective forever too.

Now I grapple with the constant fear of not appreciating the NOW enough. Of dying before I’ve learned to live NOW. How ironic is that. To allow the fear itself to rob me of the very thing I’m afraid of losing. This is the gift. NOW is the gift. I constantly find myself looking forward (sometimes too eagerly) to things in the future…and not the big things! Those would make sense. Silly things, like supper, dessert (especially when it’s cheesecake), tomorrow’s shopping itinerary, next month’s hair appointment, next year’s trip to Cuba…so many of my “Now’s” get lost in my rush to get somewhere else. How many wondrous sunrises and bird feedings and wafting rose scents and honest encounters have I missed because my fragmented mind couldn’t see anything except tomorrow’s lure…why can’t it be enough to see, enjoy and appreciate what is right in front of me NOW?

Time. A precious gift…the sad part of it is that it often takes the death of a loved one to teach us just how precious Time – and Now – truly are. Our entire lives are compromised of billions of “Now’s”. I used to live in the land of relentless regret and detrimental rumination over how I squandered my Time, especially with loved ones now gone…and then I would regret and ruminate over the time I squandered regretting and ruminating…it was a never-ending vicious circle! I fell into profound sadness which spiralled into profound depression. Learning how to live in the NOW was one of my ladders out of that dark hole, and I’m able to stay out by learning to be mindful that NOW is the best – and only true – Time to enjoy. Living in the NOW (i.e., what IS here and now, rather than focusing on “what was and never can be again”) is building deep within me a solid foundation of appreciation and gratitude that gives me safe ground to stand on when life throws lonely, sad and/or turbulent moments at me. I always seem to have enough courage to deal with the thing that’s happening NOW…it’s when I begin to think in terms of “forever”, i.e., that it’s always going to be like this, or my mind stretches too far into the what-if’s and constructs imaginary – and oft-times intolerable or even horrific – scenarios, that I begin to panic with crippling anxiety and hopelessness.

Pull back to the NOW…whatever is happening NOW is what’s really happening, and only this.

And one of the most helpful things I’ve learned over and over again about Time is that “this” too shall pass. What’s happening now, in this moment, doesn’t last forever…it only exists Now…and this Now leads to a new Now…with new landscapes, new courage, new hope and new possibilities, and new choices on how to spend that Now.

It’s about time that I enjoy my Time Now.

now

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2016. All rights reserved.
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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
This entry was posted in anxiety, authenticity, coping, determination, empowerment, faith, gratitude, grief, hope, inspiration, life, meaning, mental health, perseverance, positive, positive thinking, self help, time and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to It’s About Time

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully written Sharon. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Angelika Schwarz says:

    Wonderful article, Sharon. The only time I think I’m wasting time is when I’m bored. That happens rarely, but it does happen. That’s when I feel irritated and restless, and that’s when my instinct is telling me to do something … anything… but just do it. I saved a quote, maybe you know it… unfortunately I don’t know who said it. Here it is: ‘Be inside the inside itself.
    Don’t hold this thought that you are journeying towards something, because that itself is an admission that you are outside somewhere.
    What you are searching for is already what you are.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you,Angelika. Boredom is a dilemma for me too, but I’ve been bringing back into my life things I really enjoy doing, like playing guitar and reading…ever since my guitar was repaired, I haven’t felt boredom. Loneliness, very much so…but when I get sad or bored, I just pick up that old guitar and learn a new chord or riff…or try making up a song about what I’m feeling at the moment. That has been bringing a thrill of new pleasure into my life that I had forgotten existed.

      I love that quote. Thanks for sharing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Angelika Schwarz says:

    Picking up that guitar and learning a new chord is like everything else… you just have to begin to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Sharon,

    Forgive me for being so bold, but it is clear to me that writing is one important way for you to spend your time. You’re good at it, you love it, and you have such wisdom to share. We need you out here in the world. Please give us what you’ve got.

    Love,
    Linda

    Like

    • Sharon says:

      Dear Linda,
      Your words brought tears to my eyes. You’re right, I love to write, and sometimes feel like the words are jumping around inside of me, waiting to get out from heart to paper, or in this case, screen. I often second-guess myself, convince myself that I’m not saying anything new or significant enough to share publicly…or feel that my mind has gotten stuck in a dark place that doesn’t always seem beneficial to articulate and share…but writing has been an intrinsic part of me since I was very young, the yearning to write has always been and still is there…but I often ignore it, out of not knowing if what wants to be articulated is for public consumption…

      Your encouragement is a gift for me today. Thank you for your loving boldness. xoxo

      Like

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