Time is Your Friend

Another school year has ended and summer break has begun. Summer is my favorite time of year. I love being outside in the warm sun. I love how long the days last. I love no worry of “how’s your homework coming?” inquiries. And this year, I’ve noticed that 8 p.m. in the summer is very different than 8 p.m. in the winter. In the summer, at 8 p.m. I’m ok to still go to the gym or start a movie or run to the store or even start dinner. In the winter, at 8 p.m. I’d never head to the gym or start a movie, you would find me winding down from the day and getting ready for the next one. It’s interesting how different time can feel.
My son took a philosophy class during his most recent semester at college. He’s been home a couple times over the summer so far and has shared his new perspective on social constructs. He was challenged in this course, and has thus challenged those around him, to think about things differently. We are socialized to think about other people or situations in certain ways and also in the way we think about time. Deepak and Oprah have a meditation series that encourages us to think about time in a new way.
I was raised to value timeliness, being somewhere 5 minutes before you are expected is “on time”. And even though I do value being on time, there are occasions when that wiring makes me very anxious and/or uptight and/or irritable. Along with that expectation to be on time, I also want things to happen in my time frame, which is not reality. Sometimes, it works that way but not always. My intention in Living S.L.O.W. is to minimize with those types of feelings. To not only work on myself, to be healthy, emotionally, mentally and physically, but to help others think about ways they can slow down and work on their own well-being and self-care. The “W” is S.L.O.W. stands for “Wait and Watch”. This means to be ok to let go of control and see what the universe has in store. Can situations that you feel anxious about work themselves out? I’ve put this “philosophy” to test several times and have been pleasantly surprised when it’s worked. Which has reinforced my desire to continue to “wait and watch”. I can’t say I have it down yet. I sometimes still default to worry and “control freak” mode (old habits die hard) but I’m working on it. And of course, when you focus on trying to change something, you get plenty of opportunities to practice.
The last month has been a time of testing for me in this area. There have been several circumstances that have unfolded that have been impossible for me to control, try as I may. It felt like time was of the essence and I wanted (in my mind, needed) things to happen in a certain way, at a particular time. However, I was forced to relent and relax. Although, I didn’t go down without a fight, I surrendered kicking and screaming but eventually, when I was emotionally and mentally spent, I cried “uncle” and relaxed. It was not pretty, and several people were privy to my break down. (some were family and friends and had seen this before once or twice, but unfortunately a couple were only acquaintances, who were a little blindsided, God bless them) There have been a handful of times I have had similar experiences, and those moments have identifiers like “the never-ending lice attack of 2003”. And now we’ll add to the list, “the carpet debacle of 2018”. The good news is, as the storm subsides, and I rise out of the rubble, I am stronger and better than when I went in, albeit exhausted.
So, I’m writing about this experience because yet again, I have had to learn that time is my friend. It’s something my mom says to me at different intervals, typically when I’m in one of those storms. It reminds me that I don’t need to force things (or try to force them) and often when I do the situation becomes worse not better. I suffer more and on occasion create suffering for those around me. That’s not what I want for me or anyone I around me. It’s not what I represent as a social worker and someone who desires health and peace for others, as well as myself. Again, there is so much to gained by letting go, waiting and watching, and allowing space and time to work things out. It is definitely less draining emotionally, physically and mentally to give up worry or control especially with things you can’t control. Will you join me, so together, we can continue to practice living a life of peace and welcoming our friend, time, to the table?