Balancing time: back to the halcyon days

“The more you sense the rareness and value of your own life, the more you realize that how you use it, how you manifest it, is all your responsibility. We face such a big task, so naturally we sit down for a while.”

Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi

My greatest challenge is balancing time. With so many book projects — in different stages of development — I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  Experience has taught me that when this feeling washes over me, it’s time to press the “pause” button in my life and switch gears.  So, I put my gardening shoes, hat and gloves on  and then step out into my very own tropical garden.  When I’m pruning, weeding, planting and tending to my herb garden, fruit trees and flowers, I am in another zone.  A zone were mobile phones, emails, LinkedIn and Google do not exist.  This is a time and space when/where I am able to think, imagine, and create — not on paper, but in my mind.  This is a place of peace, of balance.  So, I’ve made some decisions as to how I should balance my time. 

In this country (United States), many people work 24/7.  Some, because they have to and, others, because they want to.  It is very easy to get caught up in that work ethic. Whatever the reason, it is simply not healthy to work continuous long hours, seven days a week.  In many locations around the world (notably, Europe), Sunday is still considered a day of rest. In Israel, Saturday (the Sabbath) is observed as a day of rest.  In the days of yore (pre-1970), North Americans happily left work behind at the end of Friday and prepared to enjoy their weekends (Saturday AND Sunday) with family and friends. 

It is my belief that those were the halcyon days.  Granted, the world is a lot more complicated and intense.   But, and think about this,  does it really have to be?  Do we not have the power to make choices about our own lives?  Can’t we figure out a way to balance work and play, business interaction and family interaction, money and quality of life?  Are they all mutually exclusive?

I think we can strike a balance between all the components of our life, although we may have to choose to let some go.  For example, does little Suzie really need to go to ballet class, Girl Guides, tennis, AND Glee Club?  Shouldn’t two extracurricular activities be enough? I’ve said this many times — to anyone who will listen — we overschedule ourselves and our children.

I, for one,  intend to recalibrate my thinking.  I now refuse to answer business calls during the weekend (yes, Saturday AND Sunday) and after 9 pm on weekdays. On weekends, I will not check LinkedIn or respond to business emails.  I will not do client work on weekends, only my own projects. 

Weekends are for family and friends. No exceptions.  I will go on Facebook and Skype, because that’s how I communicate with family and friends who live miles (and oceans) away. 

So, there you have it.  Back to the 1950’s, but with a 21st century social media twist!

As for Volume 1 (When the Child Becomes the Parent) in my 4-volume Baby Boomer Series, it’s still in progress. Spring has come and gone. I am eye-deep in research.  It will be done when it is done.  Sooner, rather than later.  I’m not getting any younger.

“Writing is not a matter of time, but a matter or of space. If you don’t keep space in your head for writing, you won’t write even if you have the time.” 

— Katerina Stoykova Klemer

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