Be your own Activities Director

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein

spring hanging basketI had to have a photograph taken a couple of weeks ago for our company website. I’m usually the one behind the camera so this was a little daunting. Hubby did the deed because he has a fairly good eye, doesn’t mind my requests for lots of retakes and responds well to being given specific instructions. Though he took a good picture, the woman I saw staring back at me in high definition seemed considerably older than how I felt or how imagine myself to look.

Frankly, it was a bit spooky! So I made myself a cup of tea and contemplated my life.

Pity we can’t capture time, bottle and preserve it to consume later when we can really make the most of it … I can picture myself making the pickled concoction of ‘bottled time’ and storing it safely in the cupboard. The following summer I reach for it, open the lid and find it filled with air – like a child who saves a snowball in a cardboard box under his bed.

My bloggy friend Birdie, recently suggested ‘resetting the switch’. She complained that CandyCrush took up too much precious time with family. She’s right, of course – I am a victim of time theft myself! I actually deleted CandyCrush a couple of years ago when Hubby accused me of being addicted.

What? Me? Never!

Really, I only deleted it in a moment of bravado to prove to him that I wasn’t addicted. Humfff!

The CandyCrush time slots were soon filled up in the months following the great delete with all sorts of equally useless pastimes, but for a while I felt quite proud of my radical move and purposefully spent the time more wisely.

Switch reset …

banana and walnut loafIf it’s true what they say about time – it flies, it equals money, it passes, it heals, it waits for no man, it’s a great teacher, it can be measured, it can be recorded, it can never be found, it drags, it speeds up, it melts away – then we ought to treat the little we have very seriously.

Someone once said that if you analyse your bank statement, you’ll have a good idea what your values are. Following that trajectory… If I am what I eat and I am a summary of my experiences, then is it true that I am also what I spend my time on? When I start looking more deeply, there are some good things I spend/do/eat, but there are an awful lot of worrying things there too! Dieu sauve-moi de moi-même!

Switch reset again…

Nick Hornby, in his book About a Boy (also a 2002 film starring Hugh Grant), wrote a wonderful scene where a wealthy, selfish man (Hugh Grant), who does not care for anyone but himself, defends what he calls ‘Island living’, in response to the saying ‘no man is an island’. Of course we know how that kind of thinking pans out, but it’s worth going down this road of thought if only to analyse your own life by half hour units of time.

Here is the scene:

I’m on a two week holiday break from French, so let’s see what I’ve done today:
7:00: Quiet time reading & praying with Hubby – 2 units
8:00: Shower, ablutions, faffing, make-up, wardrobe crisis – 2 units
9:00: Doing the laundry – 1 unit
10:00: Plant, water and hang hanging basket – 1 unit
10:30: Answer/send emails, admin, begin blogging draft & ideas, chat to Hubby on the phone – 4 units
12:30: Make/eat a salad lunch, water seedlings, faff & potter around, make banana walnut loaf & put into oven – 2 units
13:30: Make tea & settle down to complete blog – 3 units
15:00: Short walk in the spring sunshine – 1 unit
15:30: Transfer web hosting using instructions from 5QuidHost – 1/2 unit
16:00: More tea, a bit of faffing, read BCJ tutorial while listening to France24 – 2 units
17:00: Liaise with S & H about Life Group tonight, learn to spell ‘liaise’ – 1 unit
17:30: Start BCJ tutorial, learn some French verbs, wonder aimlessly around the terrace because my ‘Runtastic’ buzzed me to tell me I’d sat still for too long – 2 units
18:30: Gather things and do printing for Life Group – 1/2 unit
18:40: Life Group – 4 1/2 units
21:40: Home, read a bit & bed – 1 unit

Some days are better than others.

Looks like I’ll be resetting the switch more frequently…

P.s. For the record, I don’t actually endorse Hugh Grant’s ‘web based research’ in the film clip.
P.p.s. Faff is code for checking FB, getting distracted by another crazy piece of Trump news, or a BBC headline on my phone, starring out the window, playing a game of WWF, web-based research etc.
P.p.p.s. From about 16:30 the rest of my day was theorised based on what I knew my evening would look like because tonight is a bit more predictable – normally there would be a bit more faffing in the evening along with dinner and occasionally exercise etc.

P.p.p.p.s. I am in a constant battle when I work from home to separate work from break time – I often eat at my desk and generally don’t break properly. This leads to faffing intermittently all day instead… now that the weather is better I’m thinking of going to the park or sitting on the terrace for lunch with a book.
P.p.p.p.p.s. I’m sorry to say my case of the burbles continues… with just four of us in the office yesterday, I tried to keep up morale by chatting and making jokes. Sometimes it was just me talking. When Hubby got home last night from Holland I told him of my good work. He asked me if it was ‘banter’ or ‘burbles’? Well!!!
P.p.p.p.p.p.s. Some days really are better than others – allow yourself a bit of grace – none of us is perfect. Thank goodness!

5 thoughts on “Be your own Activities Director

  1. Hi big sister,

    Ratty, the rat from Wind in the Willow’s had this to say about the best way to occupy your time: “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats” Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham….

    Do you think he was a wise or a foolish rat?


  2. Screeeeeech! The guy who asked me to keep a daily log of my activities a few years ago did me a favour but it didn’t last….time to reset


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