For some time now I have been thinking about ‘time’. I am not sure why but the thought has stayed with me and now the timing to explore it feels right.
Next week the clocks go back and we cannot deny that a new season is upon us. As usual the way we seem to manage the change from summer to autumn is full of drama. After more than ten autumns here the need to move from summer clothes into ‘normal clothes’ still brings a sense of confusion and panic. It’s not like I am still living in the UK where we really can have ‘four seasons in one day’ or that our autumn heralds the start of a ‘hurricane’ or ‘monsoon’ season. In Mallorca it is just a relatively gentle transition from long, hot days and nights to shorter, cooler and occasionally wetter days and nights and all we really need to do is to layer up and choose clothing that is adaptable.
However the coming of autumn does mean change and this year, more than ever, it feels like it’s also a good time to review the year so far.
In doing this we will have to look back on what has happened and consider what we have lost. For many of us this is hard and shocking, and for some of us it is devastating. At times over the last few months it has felt like time stood still. All our routines and most of our plans went out of the window during lockdown as so many things we took for granted were put on pause.
Over the last six months many of us had flights or holidays to see loved ones cancelled. Though eventually we may get our money back that time has gone forever. The harsh reality is that it feels like much of that time was stolen from us and that is disappointing and sad.
However as we think about what we have lost, we also have a chance to consider what we are going to do about it. When we look back we can ask ourselves if everything we planned to do during that time was as important as we thought it was? Have most of us really been forced to waste a large chunk of our lives (as fake news would have us believe) or have we just lived different lives on a different time-line and in some cases have we actually become more resilient, more appreciative and more aware?
We all now know that our lives have changed and most of us accept that what lies ahead will be very different from what has gone before. Some of us have also used this time to work out how we can spend the time we have more wisely.
‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us’. J R Tolkien
So rather than consider how I will ‘make up for lost time’ I’ve chosen to think about how I will make better decisions about how I use my time going forwards.
Here are some early thoughts:
1. Whenever I am with somebody I will be fully present. My phone will be on silent and I will give my full attention. If I can’t do that I will arrange another time when I can.
2. I will do the right things right and spend less time just being ’busy’. ‘What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important’. Dwight Eisenhower.
3. I will spend some time each week learning something new.
4. I will sometimes say ‘no’. I recognise I need time for myself.
Finally I will take even more time to ‘stand and stare’. For many years now, even when I am busy if I see something interesting I will stop and look. Last week as I was walking to a meeting in Parc Bit I saw a beautiful rainbow. Staring then snapping a photo took less than a minute but I have savoured that memory ever since.
‘What is this life if full of care, there is no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows’ W.H. Davies
Though in the past time felt ‘free’ I now know that time is in fact priceless. From now on I will value my time more and do everything I can to use it wisely.