This is the latest jigsaw puzzle I’ve completed. As I worked on putting together all these timepieces I was thinking about a conversation I had with a group of women a couple of weeks ago. We talked about how hard it is to alter the way we use our time.
The women in the group were about my age or a little younger. We discussed how for so many years we had to organize our time as efficiently as possible so we could juggle our careers, our community involvements and our families.
We learned to prioritize things and plan our days in a way that allowed for maximum accomplishment. We considered very wisely how we spent each minute. Now that our children are independent and we have fewer career commitments it isn’t always easy to learn to slow down our pace.
One woman commented that she used to have her shopping trips to the grocery store planned for maximum efficiency and minimum time. She realizes she doesn’t need to do that any more. It is possible to move through the store at a more leisurely pace, stopping to talk to someone she recognizes, comparing prices and quality of items, appreciating the colours of the blooms in the floral department and maybe taking in the scent of the fresh bread coming out of the oven in the bakery.
Another thing we talked about was letting go a little of the need to accomplish set goals. One woman described how hard she had worked to get her PHD before she retired. But she has it now. Why does she need to keep pushing herself so hard professionally?
I talked about achieving a life-long dream to publish a book. I’ve done that. So why do I feel pressure to publish another one and feel badly when I don’t find time to pursue that goal?
Several of us were grandparents and we talked about how our grandchildren are a gift when it comes to rethinking time priorities. When you are with them you are forced to abandon all thoughts of having a goal-orientated day or doing any kind of meaningful work other than caring for them and being involved with them.
Managing our time in all the different stages of life has its challenges. Doing a jigsaw puzzle that focused on marking the passage of time with such a variety of timepieces got me thinking about how I might keep working towards seeing time as a gift to savour and not a challenger to beat.