tick tock

I know I recently wrote a post similar to this, but, whatever, it’s become some kind of theme in my life and it’s my blog.

Time. I don’t know why we’re always straining ahead trying to beat time. There’s so much pressure to do everything this instant. Don’t waste time. We don’t have time. Clock in, clock out. What happened to taking our time? To having free time? To not being rushed and savoring the moment.

I’ve been experimenting with time. Dabbling in long stretches of time doing very little. It’s tough to do. Not because it’s impossible, but because of my storehouse of guilt that I carry around with me. I’ve been raised to keep moving, keep doing, and never stop. It’s the Mennonite mantra. (If you know anything about being raised by Mennonites you’ll get this. Oh, and no, the Mennonites I know don’t have a horse and buggy as their main source of transportation and wear their hair in long, thick braids. They look just like you and me.) It is guilt that prevents me from enjoying time too much.

I like purpose and form to my day. I thrive in that kind of environment. My kids, especially, benefit from that kind of environment. But, somewhere in me lives a wanderer…someone who wants to do nothing…play away the hours until the sun sets into the moon. But, the guilt is there, a sentinel keeping watch over my wasting precious time. It’s casting long shadows with lists the length of my arm and one more thing I could do. I’m trying to get the lists out of the way to prepare time. To make way for it so I can settle into it like a comfy, worn couch. As I’ve been dabbling and experimenting, trying on time, turning this way and that to see how it fits I’ve seen that it suits me. It works to not have plans jammed into every void in my week. It wears nicely to wake up and not know what the day holds for me. Anxiety starts to creep in when my calendar is full. This week is one of those weeks. It’s alright. I’ll find spaces in my calendar soon. I’ll make sure there is.

Time is precious and I want to be able to waste it, use it, stretch it and savor it the way I want to.

Swept Up


In Villages Antique Mall in Fort Langley
There are thousands of finds in this place. It is completely packed. Every corner is filled with plates, cups, chairs, scary looking dolls, wardrobes, and anything else you can think of that’s old. My kids and I love this place and it is a great way to waste time around here.

19 thoughts on “tick tock

  1. sugarlens

    Oh Heidi, you spoke my mind!

    I was just telling my husband the other day that I need to use my time more wisely. I feel that I go to work, come home, and never really get to do anything I like to do. It's not that I don't have time, I have plenty. But I just don't use them to their full potential. I waste time on the computer, waste time watching television.

    As a result, I feel guilty and bad about myself.

  2. Kate Coveny Hood

    So important to make time for nothing. Childhood passes slowly because children spend a lot of time just "being." While responsibility has to take precedence, we really do need to seize those moments when we don't HAVE to do anything. The dishes can wait!

  3. Intense Guy

    Das plain folks have a saying, “Ve get too soon oldt, und too late schmart”

    I live near the Amish in Lancaster County and am surrounded by Mennonites and Quakers.

    One of the most important traits an Amish couple can teach their children is the importance of being hard workers. The proverb "No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work" relays that a strong work ethic is essential for finding success and respect in farming. In order to have a good farm and provide for his family, an Amish farmer has no choice but to work hard and plan carefully.

    It nearly contradicts with their slow-paced lifestyle, which stresses peacefulness and patience. Their calmness and rationality are apparent in such sayings as "A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains" and "Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience."

    At any rate, stop and smell the roses – and don't feel guilty for having done so.

  4. Heidi

    sugarlens, it's a bit of both for me – to use my time wisely, but to also waste time. Time is usually this constricting thing and I'm trying to take some of that away from my time. I hope you get to find some YOU time. 🙂

    kate, exactly! time for nothing and just being. that sounds so good to me right now. i need that with some chocolate i think.

    intense guy, you should have written this post. this was lovely and balanced…the amish seem to have that figured out in a way that i don't think i could begin to grasp.

  5. LENORENEVERMORE

    Oooh…how I can relate to you, Heidi! Especially the Anxiety part… I'm seeking a peaceful & well balance life daily! But it's easier said than done most of times…
    ~XO*

  6. Dorkys Ramos

    Oh this is so hard for me! I feel anxious when I have a lot on my plate and then guilty when I let myself just relax and do nothing for a couple hours (and when I'm on vacation, forget it! I've actually popped into the office for a couple hours for no good reason). It's as if I've grown accustomed to the stress levels and keep raising the stakes so I feel "comfortable." If I have nothing to do (but then that's when I find some sort of work that needs to be done) I feel like I'm going to fall behind, that I won't accomplish anything.

    Yet my to-do list never gets shorter. One item is checked off as two more get added. It's exhausting, it's the pace of NYC and it's been my nature – along with millions others who live here – to get rushed along with the rush.

    I need more balance in my life and I've been having a tough time resetting the scales. When I find myself speed walking through the day, Ghandi's quote springs to mind: There is more to life than increasing its speed.

  7. Heidi

    lenore, i know…easier said than done, but, we'll try, right? i hope you find that balance you want. 🙂

    dorkys, what a great quote! i've never heard it before…i'm definitely hanging on to that one.

    i'm with you on how it's comfortable to do what you're used to and keep up that pace that you know. it's not like i live the most fast-paced life. i don't. but it's how i feel in it and i'm really trying to just enjoy myself than to look at or to the next thing i have to do. anyway…what i'm trying to say is, i hear you, dorkys. 🙂

  8. Chris Hawthorne

    it's funny – your post is resonating with me ALOT this morning. It's been super busy these last few months. And alot of it is the self-imposed, fun activities you normally do in the summer (weddings, BBQ's, etc). But even in the midst of that I find myself, this morning, feeling as if I'm trying to catch my breath.

    I can relate to this 'go, go, go' feeling – needing to be productive with my time, and the guilt that comes from NOT being productive, or "wasting" that time. But then when I do find myself with free time I can feel so lost – unsure of what to do with myself. I know I need and benefit from a little silence and solitude now and then…if I can just stop vibrating long enough to remember that, and recall how to get there..

  9. LMN

    I love this commentary on time. It's wonderful. And an excellent reminder to SLOW DOWN.

    I can totally relate to feeling the pressure, to go go go, do do do. And sometimes we just need to STOP. And do nothing. Or do anything, even the something we didn't think about doing before we slowed down.

    I am totally a list maker. I should just throw those away on some days. Thank you for the reminder!!

  10. kendalee

    I think I'm getting better at this as I get older – allowing space, just space, for myself. To do nothing with if that's what feels like it's needed. I do still have the anxiety and the guilt but I'm getting better about that too. Some days at least. Progress is slow but steady… What's that they say about practice making perfect? 😉

  11. Linda Sue

    Time is never wasted…time is just spent. I don't think we were born with watches on. We were born with air to breathe- that's what we do until we stop…everything else in between is a bonus.
    Perhaps that is why I rarely take this "time" very seriously. There really is nothing to accomplish other than human's contrivances and dead lines. That's my mood today as I watch the enormous sunflower stalk outside the window grow taller and taller, will it bloom, will it be a "waste of time?" Don't think so -it may very well be just that- a tall non flowering stalk and just as lovely.

  12. Heidi

    chris h, i totally get what you're saying – that lost feeling if your time isn't filled up with something – I get that. it's almost paralyzing and i'm really trying to get 'unlost' in it. i hope the same for you, friend.

    lmn, damn lists…they serve a purpose and it's a good one, but sometimes i find they really get in the way. you, however, do fun things like bird watch not to mention rescue said bird. i love that about you!

    kendalee, practice making perfect…absolutely! i like that.

    linda sue, you nailed it – like always. you're right. it is spent and certainly not wasted. i'm glad your sunflower grows and blooms. ours died a while back. i'm afraid i bring death upon many a plant.

  13. dawn

    my world has been frantic too. sometimes i think i'll never make friends with time. he's so elusive. it's the moments when i least expect to have a moment or two that i find myself realizing that there it is….a few moments just for me, and then i feel like i know my world again.

  14. Heidi

    lisa, thank you. 🙂

    dawn, "a few moments just for me, and then i feel like i know my world again." yes. you put this perfectly.

    maggie may, good for you! i hope you enjoy your nothing. i love your name, by the way. i kinda want to say it over and over…maggie may…maggie may… 🙂

  15. Suz Broughton

    Great post. Trying to make time my friend has always been difficult, but gets increasingly so now that I'm a mom and blogger.
    Good luck–I hope you do nothing all day (that's a blessing).

  16. FranticMommy

    It must be a Mom/woman thing. For the last 6 years, it's seems everything I do is a timed event. How fast can I get this done cuz then I can do this thing and this..maybe at the same time as this. Makes for a pretty crabby Mommy by the end of the day. I don't even like me at the end of the day.

  17. you gotta wonder

    Ironically the last 2 weeks have been so frenetic I haven't had time to stop by. Last Sunday I was so exhausted I took a nap. Unheard of! I plan on doing the same tomorrow. It may not make up for the other 6 days of insanity but by golly I'm going to fight for one day of freedom. Well, at least 2 hours of freedom.

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