Over the years I don’t think I’ve been very good at appreciating or perhaps valuing time to do the smaller things in life that matter. Most of us I guess, have commitments and responsibilities that gobble up precious hours. I know I have but paid work occupied a very large part of my being for a long time.
I was reminded yesterday of how precious time is. We picked and prepared olives for curing. This is the first time our tree has had enough olives to make it worth while. As we slit each individual olive I thought how in times past when I was working in full-time employment, I would have considered this task a time-consuming chore. Today however, I took pleasure in handling the fruit and listening to background music whilst contemplating a process that was new to us. With the olives in their jars and the water added we stood back pleased and content with the achievement. For the next four days we have to change the water before the brine and oil stage. Having the time to do this feels like a gift.
Recently, whilst in discussion with friends I was reminded how difficult it can be to remain fit and heathy whilst working full-time. I recall a time when I was also working full-time and had back problems. I was driving long distances between organisational offices and then sitting in meetings which exacerbated my difficulty. Around that time I remember hearing on the radio, an interview with a man who actually left work to get well and healthy. I recall thinking how desperate he must have felt to have actually resigned his work to reclaim his health. This is a common story and I continue to hear the same words echoed by many. In fact quite a while ago I made the same decision. I resigned my full-time job, took a few months off and took my exercise and health regime in hand before reviewing future work and life balance options.
Work can be all-consuming. It can also be a wonderful experience, stimulating and personally rewarding but if we ignore the need for the other aspects of our life, eventually something gives. How do we find or make time for all the aspects of our lives? We all have different responsibilities and yet I hear the same theme being repeated daily. Not enough time, stressed and unwell…on it goes.
I also notice this theme being played out with a group of women, mostly workers, at a book group I attend. It’s a common occurrence at each monthly meeting, that sometimes up to half of the group will not have read the book or maybe not actually have finished it. This isn’t due to any level of disinterest, slackness or lack of literary ability, no it seems most of the members work and live extremely busy lives and they actually don’t get the time to read the book.
Finding the time I need has taken me a very long time to work out, not sure I have it right yet but it sure feels wonderful on this beautiful autumn day to have options. Of course using precious time is always a challenge. I’m trying. I think about the value of doing the simple things amongst the more complex activities. I have had to learn that being in the moment and paying attention to smaller but meaningful tasks is life enriching. As I write this I wonder if it’s just an ageing process thing that allows us to value all components of our lives rather than just the super challenging bits that consume us. More about this at a later date I suspect…
But right now I’m off to change the water in the olive jars!