Minimalism has given me back life’s greatest treasure, Time!
Guilt, worry and interruption free, time. Lots of people could argue that they have plenty of time with their family and loved ones. I, in particular, loved lazy Sunday mornings spent cuddling and watching my kids wrestle and play with my husband on our bed. We would have nothing else to do but get up slowly. It was my favourite time of the week and it is an idyllic Sunday to have nothing but options for your day before you. I could sit here and argue that yes, it truly was quality time and relaxing, but in reality, this was my train of thought…
‘Oh I love these mornings, look at their laughing faces (my heart melting). Oh crap. I have to do uniforms today. I forgot to get fruit for tomorrows lunches. That chair looks crooked. Oh look at the walls, they’re soooo dirty. My room is a mess. I need to get some antihistamine for her nose. Oh that’s so sweet, I wish I could freeze this moment in time. What should we do today? Great, she’s done a poo…’
and of course, I put my family first and would often decide firmly on …’OK, this place is a dump, let’s get out of here!’ This situation often resulted in day trips to a park, museum, visiting friends and family or a bush walk. We love exploring! Aww, but that’s a good thing, you say? It is, however, my sub-conscience is worried about how I am going to get everything done at home, with time slipping away and impending deadlines. Sometimes, if we haven’t already been the night before, we would end up at Mass to end our perfect Sunday but by 7 pm David and I are exhausted and I’m filled with fret at the fact that I haven’t done lunches, laundry and uniforms, let alone baths and bedtime. Our perfect day starts to feel like I shouted everyone a round of drinks and after the accolades of all my friends, I feel the slump in my heart as I check my account and I have $0.69 c to my name (now that hasn’t happened since I was 21 and I’m pretty sure it never happened because I’m a tightwad). The point is, I feel like I can make everyone happy for the day including myself and it seems like its all good until we pull into our driveway and I feel that slump in my heart. Again, time spent with your loved ones or doing something you love should be guilt, distraction and interruption free.
How do we do this? I don’t have a concrete answer but these answers have helped me. Aside from decluttering and minimising my families possessions so that I am not spending a lot of time cleaning and maintaining on repeat. I use lists, timers, calendars and I am especially loving this quote from
St Jose Maria Escriva, “Will-power. Energy. Example. What has to be done, is done… without hesitation, without more worrying”.
David (my extremely bright and handsome husband) explained this quote to me like this. “What’s the use in us complaining and stressing about having to do laundry, dishes, homework, dinner, bath time, bedtime e.t.c? These are all daily activities that are necessary to our life and the life of our children. So worrying about it won’t get it done. Not doing it, won’t get it done. Worrying and procrastinating wastes our time and saps the energy to do that activity right out of us.” Good on you David! Now, to turn that quote from ‘us’ to ‘you’! That would probably read truer! So. If it is a necessity of life. Resolve to do it and do it joyfully and perfectly giving all glory to God – there can be joy in doing mundane tasks! What has to be done, just has to be done and once it is done, you have that guilt, distraction and interruption free time for your loved ones or the activities you love.
Now all that guilt, distraction and interruption free time, I call – ‘my good time’. The time that I’m on my game, awake, alert and happy because I’ve accomplished things. All that ‘good time’ goes to my husband and children first and foremost, not this blog, my interests, my friends or hobbies, it has to go to my husband and children. Some people in my circle hate how I never answer my phone or how I’ve always lost my phone or joke that I screen calls but most of the time (I can feel my sister Katherine’s eyes rolling) its because when I don’t have my phone with me, I have my children or husband with me and they deserve that time, uninterrupted. A lot of the other time, it’s because I have severe baby brain and if it’s not attached to me, I loose it. Catholicism has taught me that my family is my first church and charity starts at home. My husband and I cannot fully engage in passing down the faith, morals and values that we’ve tried our whole life to attain by giving our children and each other divided attention – whether its our phones, his gaming, my obsession for the TV series ‘Suits’, we all deserve that ‘good time’ together every single day. Now, this is all idyllic, well and good and it is honestly who I am on most days but other days, I just can’t be effed, for lack of a better word (actually there are heaps of better actual words, but that’s what I’d truly say in the moment). Those days, I’d say, …’Relax, look around, there’s not much to do, my kids will survive and forgive me, I will breathe and try again tomorrow…’ and I can say that because I have fewer things and our family occupies less space than a typical family of 6. Score! However, If I’ve gotten all the necessities of life out of the way quickly and efficiently than I can truly focus ‘my good time’ on being church and charity to my little family. Even bigger score!
Streamlining my possessions and reflecting on who and what is most important, leaves me time that I would otherwise not have to myself and others. I think everyone should enjoy spare time, me time, maybe a little tired and slightly over it, time to do whatever they love and share their gifts helping yourself and the world! I choose to;
- Pray or Meditate
- Have authentic friendships
- Be conscious of the environment
- Work in a purposeful job
- Think… about running or walking (still yet to be good at this, can running after children be a sport?)
- Serve in my church and
- If I want to have a 3-hour coffee with my brother, sister or friend without worrying or racing to my next social call.
Using your spare time to refine your skills and talents or applying them to a project, charity or organisation is a great way to contribute positively to your own life and the society around you. If your home life is the first society (or church) that your children will experience how will they be able to live in a world that might be opposing to the values and morals of your own little society? I’m just putting this out there. If children see an example of their parents actively engaging in the community to make positive and thoughtful changes and contributions to it, might they follow suit? I would hope that my children at least see that creating good society is a collaborative effort and all can be involved in our own little or big way. As Pope Francis says, don’t hide your God-given talents! Use them to dream of doing GREAT things! Recognising our talents are from God, keeps us humble in our desire to do great things. Using our God given talents to do those great things is our gift back to God and society.
Reflection: Do you have time to; do anything selfless or add value in your life? If we are only wrapped up in our families and loved ones and are unconscious to our own needs and the needs of those in our local and global community, are we using our time here wisely?
Tip: 3 quick questions. Think or write this down.
- If someone was to describe your personality, special gifts, talents and skills what would they say?
- What are you passionate or unhappy about in your church, local or global community?
- How can you use your skill set and passion to create good in your church, local or global community?
Reflection: Even, if you don’t act on this straight away. At least let it sit with you and if you like, pray a short prayer thanking God for the time and talents that you have to share.
I’d love to hear about what you do to in your good time, what you do in your spare time and how you use your talents to create ‘good’ in society!