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?