April 11, 2021: The Pandemic Truth About Time
The pandemic has certainly taught us things. It has exposed the power of nature and the short comings of humans. It has shown us who we are when faced with real challenges. It has revealed our basic belief systems and what we value.
It has also taught us that some of our former beliefs do not hold water. That some of the things we told ourselves, particularly about time, are just not true.
The “I don’t have time to…. (fill in the blank)” is almost always a lie. One of which I was definitely guilty. Prior to the pandemic I would lament that I would be a much more productive writer if I just had more time. I would work out more, if only I had more time.
Well, the pandemic gave us lots of time and I discovered that I was not a whole lot more productive in my writing and I did not do a whole lot more working out.
The truth is, we have time for whatever is really important to us.
That is not to say that I did not get more writing done during the pandemic, because I absolutely did. In this year-plus of the pandemic, I have gotten four middle grades novels through various stages of the writing process. I freely admit, that would never have happened in my pre-pandemic life.
However, I also grudgingly admit that I had a lot of time in which I could have written and that I chose to do other things. I cooked. I gardened. I read. And yes- sometimes I surfed social media or just sat with a glass of wine and contemplated life.
I do not think I am alone in this time discovery. A friend recently shared that she used to think that she was not organized because she did not have the time to clean and sort and label and arrange all the stuff that filled her home. She admitted that this last year forced her home with much more time, and yet those things are still not done.
At first this discovery made me feel a little guilty. After all, if I was really committed to being a writer, wouldn’t I want to devote all of my time to my craft?
The funny thing about time though, is that it is a constant and never ending balance. A flexible dance of what must be done, what could be done, what shouldbe done, what can be done, and what is done. We are constantly juggling those things as we, often subconsciously, manifest our must, could, should, and can list of tasks and activities.
If something must be done, it usually gets done. Think of those deadlines. Those nonnegotiable tasks and responsibilities. They always get done. The gray areas though, are with those could, should, and can lists.
Perhaps it is time to take a look at what we really are spending our time doing, and use that as a way to reveal what our, sometimes unconscious, priorities may be. And yes- priorities change and shift.
I realized that most of the things I was choosing to spend my pandemic-time doing, were things that helped to bring peace, balance, and beauty to my immediate world. A sort of nesting instinct. Clearly, this was something that I needed in order to survive this most unprecedented time. I needed the comfort of those things and the result they had on my immediate environment.
So perhaps instead of lamenting about what we do not seem to have time to get done, we need to look at what we are actually doing. When we are not engaged in work or other nonnegotiable things, what is filling our hours and days? These activities may reveal more than we realize.