"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." Barack Obama
The start to a new year means inevitably the promising of resolutions that will most likely not be kept. The idea behind the tradition is noble but in practice rarely goes according to plan. Maybe it's because the declaration is arbitrary, or because its easier to fall into old habits than it is to make new ones. There's still merit to resolutions though but the most effective ones often are limited in their scope, or else involved a mindset shift. It's the difference between committing to a paradigm shift versus a one-off goal. One of mine this year is to be more mindful about my time and how I spent it. This is the year I reclaim my time. Time might be a social construct but it's one that guides the parameters of our realities and how we experience said reality. Where we spend in time is a direct correlation to what we value and prioritize in our lives. When we make that realization it changes the ways in which we perceive time. Who, what, when, where, how, and why we spend our time speaks volumes about who we are, and who we want to be.
Thinking about the words we use in partnership with the word time brings to mind the analogy of consumerism. We spend time, right? That means that time is a currency with an inherent value that is constantly fluctuating. That also means that time is a sacrifice, something that is valuable to be given, and something that comes with a return on investment. Time is an expenditure. We have to treat it as such. There's a difference between spending time and expecting to get something in return versus volunteering or donating time. The entire contextualization changes when the words that surround it shift. Is someone's time more valuable than another's? How much of our time are we willing to give? Who deserves our time? Is time something that should be conserved? Not everyone or everything is worthy or our time, and that is the blunt truth. Those that recognize the value of our time and us as people are those who should receive our time most often. We ourselves have to value our time before anyone else can reciprocate. Respect your time and the time of others.
This year I resolve to spend less time doing things that I dislike, or things I deem to be a waste of time. I sat down and looked at a typical day for me and it was clear to see what I valued. Even within my day I could see that for example at work I spend minimal time responding to emails, but spend significant time creating interactive lessons, or checking in with the students I get to serve. That says that I care about my relationships with me and less about administrative bureaucracy. At home, much of my time is spent editing photos, writing this blog, playing video games, reading books, watching TV, and cooking. This year I want to be more spontaneous with my time, and spend my time outside of work with more people. That means making the time (which has always been there) for people. I value my alone time but it’s a trade-off to let people know I am investing my time in them because they matter to me.
There’s no such thing as bad texters; it’s just that people are not willing to give you the time of day to respond to your messages. I have to own up to my long delays in responses for what they are - not wanting or be willing to give my time to actively engage in a conversation at that moment. I spent so much time concerned with dating and finding a partner, and must of the time spent doing so was an utter waste. I learned quite a bit about myself, what I needed, and even more so what/who I did not want, but the pointless conversations that went nowhere, the ambiguity, and the unrequited pining for the time of someone else just was a colossal misuse of my time. No more - I'm choosing to think about it less, be more direct in my communication, and cut off timewasters. Me as a person, and my time are too valuable to be spent carelessly.
Time is how we cast our votes, give our approval, and show our support. Taking the time out to spend time with or do something for someone else truly is the ultimate affirmation. It's not the only indication of who matters us but it often is an accurate signifier. Who and what we make time for speaks volumes about us. What does where we're spending our time say? Is it something that we like or are we looking to change the narrative. There's only 24 hours in a day, but that's more than enough to do the things that matter to us most. If someone or something pulls at your heart strings, then prove it. Put your time where you mouth is. Drop everything and be there with people, have a passion for a cause - volunteer, get involved where you feel most drawn in. Now is always the time because our time has an expiration date for how long its good for. We have to spend our time as soon as we get it - it's not one of those commodities that can be harbored,; it's one that longs to be set free. Free time does not exist, it's just time that yet to be allotted. Doing nothing is still doing something. We should give our time freely to those who need it but we must also be careful with our time lest we spend it where we don't really want to. X