I won’t lie: time scares me. From having too little to having too much, there’s nothing that gets me in a flap like a lack or an excess of time. From the when on Earth am I going to get it all done? to the what am I going to do with myself?, time is a tormentor.
Yet it is constant and predictable. So I guess, time is not the problem. I am.
I’ve just been given a magical gift of time. Mutterschutz is the German welfare system’s way of wrapping expectant mothers up in cotton wool and sending them away from work up to six weeks before their due date. Like I said, a magical gift.
Six weeks is, however, quite a long time, especially when you know that the end of it is likely to involve both the most amazing yet most painful experience out there. Yet I didn’t have to take it, and I did. I could have kept working, but I chose not to. Because, while having time on my hands scares me, the way my time is likely to be used over the coming weeks, months and years is going to change dramatically. So I decided to figure out how to unwrap this present and use this donated time wisely, carefully and gratefully.
So I made a list. In fact, I made several.
I made a to-do list, naturally. Because, well, there are just some things that need doing to get ready. It’s more of a shopping list, because, despite trying to keep it minimal, there are just some things that these little beings need.
Then I made a could-do list. I thought about all the things that give me pleasure, all the things that I wish I could do more of, and I set them down in my journal. From reading, exercising and writing, to studying German and volunteering, they’re all things that are good for mind and body. They’re mostly selfish, but without being indulgent. And that matters to me. Spare time needs to be respected and used wisely, not taken lightly and discarded.
So on the eve of my first day off, I covered three sides of my A5 jotter with schemes, plots and plans. I saved four new recipes to my phone for all the cooking I’m going to do. I did three of the things on my could-do list… oh. Oops.
Me being me, I’m going to find this wonderful thing – this time – a challenge. I can’t help it. I am, unfortunately, a tense, antsy, fluttery kind of person. I worry about worries creeping up on me when my mind is not active. But that’s okay because I’ve made some lists and I’ve got a plan.
I’m going to defeat my worries about time by meticulously planning my relaxation.
I’m going to fight my fear of time by carefully coordinating the minutes of fun.
I’m going to grateful for every second I get to do things for myself and my family because time is precious and too often taken for granted.
Plus, if today’s efforts at baking are anything to go by, there’s not enough time in the world to turn me into a competent baker!