“I don’t have time for THAT!” A friend once said to me, as I was explaining how when the kids were little, I used to put their toys on rotation in order to keep things more organized and tidy, and also so they would find them more exciting when re-introduced as a result not being in their repertoire for some time. As my mom often says, they have more shit than a herd of buffalo. While this was a helpful organization strategy, I’d like to focus on what this person said, how they said it, and how it made me feel.
Now, notice the “THAT” in caps. You know how to read the opening statement. “THAT” represents disdain for the task that I had chosen to undertake, as if it were unworthy and equivalent to me sitting around and eating bonbons. Perhaps rotating toys was not important to this woman, but it was to me. Her judgement, though probably not intended, made me feel like the refuse of that afore mentioned herd of buffalo.
It all comes back to my favorite topic of the past few weeks, priorities. Not only do we need to be clear about what we choose to give precedence to in our days, but we need to speak to each other in ways that respect and honor one another’s preferences. My friend then went on to list a bunch of things she did with her time that she found worthy. Clearly these were her priorities, and that’s great. She just didn’t have rain on my parade.
The sad thing is, prior to my realization that this comment is negative, I believe I said the same thing to someone else. Did I say it out of a need to feel superior? Did I not even realize how it sounds? Was I trying to compensate for my own lack of confidence in the tasks I was choosing to do? Was I duh-duh-duh, the green word? Jealous?
Now keep in mind I have friends and family members who bake amazing creations, garden, sew, cook, volunteer their time, photograph gorgeous scenes (looking at you, Sue F.)…the list goes on and on. I used to wonder how the hell they found time for all their amazing activities. Maybe I was a little jelly and maybe I did feel a little crappy that I wasn’t fitting these great tasks into my day.
Here’s what I learned. First, while I really admired my friends for all their endeavors, perhaps these weren’t the same things that I necessarily wanted to do. I love the idea of making homemade hummus, but do I really want to do it myself? I’m more of a purchase hummus from the store kind of gal. In this instance, I can simply admire my friends for what they are choosing to do.
Number two, I realized if I am pining away, upset that my friend gets to engage in a coveted task and I don’t, then what I need to do is just buck up and make the time for it. Putting the activity in my planner ensures that it gets done. Sometimes lack of planning is a choice in itself. Thinking about what I really want to do and making time for it is key. It doesn’t even have to be something I commit to on the regular but if I get to enjoy once in a while, I’m happier. I’ve learned that rotating activities gives me more opportunities to get to the things I want to do. Why did I rotate toys for my kids but not enjoyment for myself?
The third thing I recognized is that I was pretty much already doing all the things I loved to do. Maybe I don’t have an incredible garden like some of my friends (I do not have a green thumb when it comes to growing veggies) but I was filling my days with triathlon training and writing, amongst other undertakings that make my heart sing. We all have different things we prioritize. One endeavor is not better than the other but an indication that our activities should always follow our necessities, passions, and ambitions.
Essentially, we need to lift each other up when we speak, and honor not only each other’s choices and priorities, but our own. If you feel you are not including into your day, the things that make your heart sing, you can figure out how to make some time for them.
Some days I get a yen for a homemade muffin. So I find the time to bake. Other days, I just hope Tanya will have pity on me and send some over. Haha, just kidding, Tanya. Not really. But either way, I’m happy to say that I am making time for the things that are important in my life, in this case either home baked, store bought, or received from a friend who makes the time to do the things she loves to do.