This is how Time works

Dear Daughter,

I don’t care what anyone tells you… Time is not a measure, it is a being. A living, breathing, bipolar being. I swear it has a personality. Multiple, actually. One minute, Time can be your best friend and another? Your worst enemy. It likes to mess with you too, that Time. It makes you think you’ll have lots of it and then, out of nowhere, it’s gone. And yet, it’s always there. It’s enough to drive a grown woman mad.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned about Time through the years:

1) Time really does fly when you’re having fun. It’s one of life’s cruelest realities, right up there with the fact that healthy food tastes bad and unhealthy food tastes good. Say you’re in Aruba for your honeymoon. At first you think five days in Aruba is a long time. But the bright and sunny days pass by as quickly as the waves of the Aruban shore. And before you know it, you’re gripping onto your beach chair for dear life, forcing your husband to pry your fingers from it and tell you to get moving already so you don’t miss your flight. This is strictly hypothetical, of course.

2) It also flies when you have things to do. I always, always underestimate the amount of time it will take me to do my Saturday chores (cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) Throughout the week, I tend to put things off until the weekend because I think I’ll have all the Time in the world. But when you lump it all into one day, it’s like Time speeds up just to mess with you. You end up accomplishing two out of the eight things on your to-do list, which makes you feel like a big whopping failure. Depressing, I know. The point here is to have low expectations. I normally would  never recommend that but in this case, it seems to be the only way to end the day not wanting to punish yourself.

3) It does NOT fly when you’re at work or school. I think when we’re in situations where we’re bored, we’re just more aware of time. So we look at the clock more often, only to see that just two minutes have passed, not the 30 minutes we were hoping for. This can be fixed, at work anyway, by referring to #2 above. If you make sure you have a lot of work to do, Time will pass more quickly, and before you know it you’ll be on your way home, singing “Forget You” at the top of your lungs and contemplating whether or not to cook that healthy chicken dish tonight or just pick up a junior cheeseburger deluxe from Wendys. Once again: hypothetical.

4) Sometimes it stands still. These moments are rare, and they can be good or bad. It could happen when you see a loved one who’s been gone for a long time, or during an accident when your life flashes before your eyes. Whenever it does happen, take note and etch it into your memory. When time stands still, it’s because your life is about to change.

The bottom line is to make the most of Time. There are 24 hours in a day—always has been, always will be. Knowing that, and knowing the four rules above, get ahead of Time. Don’t let it control you. Know what to expect and plan accordingly. Spend your Time on things that matter. (For the record, sometimes what matters is alone time and family time. Just saying you don’t always have to be productive.) And as much as Time will drive you crazy, it really is precious. Don’t waste it.

Love,
Mom

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The importance of getting enough sleep

Dear Daughter,

You come from a family of women who often choose productivity over sleep. We tend to put sleep on the backburner, because there are other, more important things to do, like laundry, dishes, doing our nails. I’m starting to learn, however, that sleep is much more important than I give it credit for. MAYBE even more important than nail polish, if you can believe it!

I tease J because he claims he simply cannot function unless he gets at least eight hours of sleep at night. Who gets eight hours of sleep anymore?! I’m lucky if I get six. And all this time I’ve been wearing that as a badge of honor. Look at me, I’m a busy woman. I don’t even have time to sleep because I’m so busy! But you know what? J might be onto something. He’s never, ever sick and he’s one of the most hard-working people I’ve ever met. Could it be due to the fact that he gets the proper amount of sleep?

It’s tricky, because most people truly don’t have eight hours to dedicate to slumber. We have so much to occupy our time these days. One of the reasons I don’t get enough sleep is because I wake up at 4:30 a.m. to write this blog. I don’t want to give up writing; to me that’s worse than giving up sleep (well, some days sleep wins). So how do I make it all work? How do I fit in all of my goals and desires while still getting enough sleep?

Just like everything else, it’s about choosing your priorities. There are some days when the laundry or dishes really can wait until the next day. If my priorities, my non-negotiables, every day are family time, writing, and eating (yes, food is that high on my list!), then everything else aside from those priorities should fall behind sleep.

That’s not to say we have a license for laziness either. Our waking hours should be spent wisely so that when we do go to sleep, we do so with the assurance that we’ve truly accomplished everything we could that day.

It’s important for you to learn this while you’re young, Daughter, so that you develop a good balance between sleep and productivity. I’m a firm believer that sleep (or the lack thereof) is directly related to your health, not to mention your mood. So if you make sleep a priority from a young age, you’ll be a healthier, happier person because of it.

All this talk about sleep has made me sleepy. I’m just gonna….zzzzzzzzzzzz