Sarah: Kirsti’s post of yesterday has me thinking. Thinking about how a changing perception of time has influenced my life.
I look back to the days when I was a student. I worked very hard, a had extra jobs on the side and I did lots of exercise. And yet I had a sense of time freedom I did not appreciate at the time. I set the agenda and I moved it as required. I controlled my time (at least it felt that way).
Baby number 1 threw me big time, so to speak. I was the boss no longer; even when he slept it was as though he was an alarm clock which could go off any minute. I hovered terribly, waiting for and even trying to predict the inevitable ‘buzzer’. What a waste of time! So silly!
I also found it difficult having no sense of weekdays and weekends. Each day involved milk, poo and washing. No matter what. I didn’t have the sense to create a structure which loosely matched that of my working partner so that a regular but changing pattern over 7 days emerged.
Two further babies improved my approach a hell of a lot, but even so I still grappled with time issues. As an example: free time became a gift, something so rare and so exciting that I’d rush about and try and achieve too many things in a small window. Far from being relaxing, my free time became a flurry of everything and nothing. Again, so silly!
Kindy and school gave us some routine, and a sense of being part of the grown-up world again. We had a daily and a weekly timeframe. I loved it. With that sense of structure, I became more efficient, more effective and happier.
My kids are now of an age where sporting and other commitments are starting to creep up and up. Not only do we have school as a daily fixture in time, but other things as well. Four week days out of five, after the 9-3 school period, we leap in the car and head off to a second or even third venue.
My little one is in his final year of pre-school before he too will join the 5-days-a-week commitment to education.
I actually like being busy, and I love the kids to be broadly educated and doing lots of sport. But I’m determined to avoid that the sense of RUSH RUSH RUSH which can inevitable creep in. We’re lucky enough to live near our school, and many of our activities. This has been deliberate, not just in choosing where to live but also in which activities to sign up for. For example, we chose not to follow most school friends to a footy club 6 kms away, but instead registered at the very local one 1 km away. It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but I know that when we’re in the car fighting 4-5pm traffic, that’s 5 kms fewer that I will spend swearing and hollering at the clock.
We walk to school on as many days as I can get my act together. Although it can be a scramble to leave the house a good 10 minutes earlier than if we drive, once we start walking it’s as though we enter a warp. Time stands still. No matter how many cars are queued to turn left onto the main road, we always assume the same pace. We know how long the walk takes, and accept it as a given. That’s pretty precious.
And sometimes, we feed our neighbour’s chooks on the way home. This also relates to time, sort of like a flashback. It makes me think of my grandfather, and the days when everyone had a few birds hanging about to eat the vege scraps and produce eggs.
A different time.