If I had all the time I needed…

How would I invest my time?

This is a question that is starting to arise in me. At the center of this whole idea of “life goes on,” “creating a new life,” “finding my way one step at a time,” and all those things I’ve been writing about (when you thought you had signed up for a blog about grief, or running, or whatever brought you here), there is a deeper question that is starting to emerge.

What do I really want to do with my life?

What adventures are waiting for me, things that I have not yet done, been prevented from doing, been forced to postpone? What dreams are still boxed up gathering dust on some shelf somewhere that I meant to get back to but could never find the time? Are any of them still worth pursuing? Or what new dreams (and realities) might unfold if I could clear away all of the dust that surrounds my present life?

Well, I think I have at least two books waiting to be written. There is a book that will come out of my dissertation research and all the thinking I have done since then about the experience of being in a place. There is a book about what it’s really like to be a caregiver for a terminally ill loved one (and I have a wealth of data from my blogs to draw upon for that one). Maybe there is even a book about running and/or blogging one’s way toward a new life. So if I suddenly found myself with an endlessly blank calendar, the first thing I would do is block out a few hours a day for some serious writing.

No, wait! The first thing I’d do is block out at least eight hours a night for sleeping. I’ve lived on 4-6 hours of sleep a night for so long, I can’t even imagine how much energy I might have if I ever got caught up on sleep. My natural body clock would love to go to bed about 2:00 AM and get out of bed around 10:00 AM. So the writing would be #2 on my to-do list, after staying up as late as I want and sleeping in as late as I want.

What else? I’d get more exercise. I’d walk or hike or bike on the days when I don’t run. I would drive less. I would spend more time among mountains, beaches, forests, and other wild places.

I’d get more serious about gardening. As a vegetarian, I’m curious to learn how much of my own food I could actually grow, given time to devote to it. I’ll never be able to eat completely locally in Washington state (I love lemons too much!), but my bioregion is amazingly diverse in terms of what can be grown. I’d like to learn how to make growing things thrive, and I can see myself teaching (or at least inspiring) others to make growing things thrive.

I’d make more friends. I’d get involved in local community-building and volunteer activiities. I’d dabble in art, music, and/or theatre. I have no idea where my beyond-writing muse(s) might lurk, but I want to try things. I see a local arts scene beginning to grow in my remote small town, and I think we have a shared interest in nurturing this growth.

I would take a whole bunch of photographs of the meeting of earth and sky, and of the way light pervades and transforms spaces.

I would spend money more intentionally, and I would recycle/resuse more carefully. While I may always be a gadget geek, there are no rules that say I have to hold onto every single obsolete, unused gadget… or collectible object or keepsake for that matter. I would get rid of a lot of stuff and create more space in my life for experiences.

I would live as consciously as possible in the moment, in each moment, because I know that the number of our moments is finite.

I would laugh more. I would play more. I would hope to love again. I would have fun.

Looking back at what I have just written, I wonder… what am I waiting for?

What about you? If you had “all the the time you needed” (along with the awareness that your time is, in fact, precious and finite), how would you invest your time?


Posted on January 18, 2012, in Learning, LIfe_goes_on, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I LOVE this post, Lori. LOVE it. I’m so glad you did it. This is something I really need to think about. I always talk about things I would do if I had more time. Wishing I didn’t have to sleep. But then overdoing it. (I’ve definitely been sleeping too much lately.) I wonder what I would ACTUALLY do IF I really had the time. Not what I would talk about doing, or think about doing… What I would really TAKE the time to do, if I had it. I’m going to give this some thought, and respond in a post. A lot of the things you’ve mentioned are things on my list that I TALK and WISH about…

    Thanks for bringing this up. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! This was a very scary thing for me to write, but liberating and motivational for me as well. If it causes you and possibly others to stop and think as well, then I’m even more glad that I’ve put myself out there. This blogging thing is powerful, isn’t it?

      I’m continuing to hold you in my thoughts as you work your way through your current challenges. Hang in there, it gets better.


  2. You do give us things to think about … and now a direct question to contemplate. I’ll have to give it some thought. There are a few things that jump out immediately, but I’m sure I could find a lot of great things to do with the time.

    • Patty,
      I think this sort of thought process would be a good thing for anyone to consider from time to time… because you just never know. I still put myself every so often through that values clarification exercise we used to facilitate. Yup, learning, harmony and wholeness still work for me!

  3. Bruce Herrington

    Sounds compulsive to me – making ‛work’ out of ‛retirement’.

    Why not kick back, go with the flow, one day at a time, and take life as it comes.

  1. Pingback: Quitting my job, cleaning my condo, and other adventures « Slow Happy Runner

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