Happy Thanksgiving! I wanted to jump on quickly in the midst of my preparation frenzy - and since I already had this post almost ready in my drafts, it's what's going up tonight (very ironically, I might add, since it was written a few weeks ago when I was more on top of things, and if I had spent the earlier part of this week following my own zealous advice, I wouldn't be in the midst of a preparation frenzy tonight....but perhaps that only adds an exclamation point to this post, because it's tried and true - I was happier and more peaceful (not to mention, organized & productive) when I was on this kick).
I find myself spending a lot of time writing blog posts in my head, and then when my conversion rate from mental to internet is pretty low, I spend more time thinking about what my priorities are in terms of time management. Now, granted, I'd like to think I have my big priorities in order (95% of waking hours (and some sleeping ones, too) are devoted to caring for the kiddos, the husband, and the house) but then I end up with a leeeeetle bit of time when I can do what I want. Most of the time, I'm too tired to do anything other than fritter away the time with clicks on Facebook and blogs I like. And then I resolve: next time, I'm going to write instead. Tomorrow, I'll sew something. For better or worse, I have a personality trait that leaves me feeling guilty if I'm anything but productive (even in leisure time). And so I framed the question: what is that I want to MAKE with this extra time?
I cannot make all of the 58 quilts on my "Quilting" Pinterest board, or the 83 "Sewing Inspiration" projects. Heck, I haven't even managed to make a dent in my "current" projects stash, let alone the "someday" pile. Most days, I can't sew AND blog, and I definitely can't also fit in crochet, embroidery, and card making (I think I have a craft problem).
I think the answer, ultimately, is all the things, just not at once. I can't blog every night and I can't sew every night, but I can pick something to work on each evening.
As I was thinking about this question, it reminded me of a theological discussion I heard recently regarding the translation of the creed: is God a creator, or is he a maker? Prior to this conversation, I would have said - eh, He's both, they're the same thing. It was explained, however, that God is truly a creator, because He created the world from nothing. We humans are mere makers when we take existing matter and put it together into something else.
It hit me that everything I do - in leisure time or not - can only be "making" because I will never create something out of nothing. I can make dinner, make babies, make a quilt, make a home...but I've got the starting materials (or the resources to go get them). What flows naturally from this realization is a recognition of all of the raw material I have out of which to form things (and I don't mean my ridiculous fabric stash). I have been given resources, and it is my opportunity - nay, my responsibility - to use them well. I - all of us, really - have an abundance of material, physical, and temporal resources from which we can make something.
Most of all, we have the gift of time - 24 hours each day from which we make our lives. Yes, there are plenty of external factors that influence how we spend our time, but ultimately we are at the helm, making the choices and using the moments and the resources we've been given.
I've been narrowing my focus whenever possible through the day - is this what I want to make of this hour? Is it the best use of my resources? Is this the person I want to be? I've been so guilty for so long of frittering away my time on things that don't fundamentally contribute to the person I want to be - and when I'm mindful of the fact that I want to be the kind of mom who is fully present, and not with my eyes on a screen, or that I want to be the homemaker who always cleans up the kitchen after meals, it's much easier to do those things, even on the exhausting days when I long for a break. I can see then that my selfish desire to ignore the dishes or the constant requests to "Play dollhouse with me, mommy" is a temporary selfishness that robs even myself of what I really want.
So, Carpe diem. Seize the day. Make it - and your life - what you want it to be.
Perpetual self-improvement kick fueled most recently by the following two books:
For more book recommendations, check out my (in progress) "On My Bookshelf" tab.