I woke up on Friday morning with a sore throat and a headache, and my first thought was “I do not have time for this.” I’d been feeling run down the last couple of weeks but had been trying to override the onset of any illness with caffeine, afternoon naps –which I am awful at, and probably made me feel worse- berocca, and the cross trainers at my gym. Nevertheless, I was still unimpressed to finally get hit with whatever I’ve now got just as I’m about to take three days holiday from work. I can’t really call it a holiday because I’d mainly booked the time off to film a music video for a parody I’ve written of a Beyoncé track (to be released at the end of November!). But then, earlier in the month, I went to the dentist and found out I need two fillings (rapture), so I’ve booked those in. And then a few days ago, I got an audition through that means I have to learn two passages of Shakespeare and a folk song, which I’ll have to accompany myself on the piano with. So, you see, this is not a holiday. But I love being busy. I love having things to do, and the feeling I’m adding use to my life. So I was excited for the opportunity to being doing a different kind of work. That is until I woke up with the shakes, and sandpaper for a throat.
I feel like this is one event in many recent ones that have shown me just how much of our time is manipulated by forces beyond our control. In the same way it can create incredible openings and opportunities in our lives, the Universe can show up in ways that abruptly cut short our time with a place, a job, or even a person, and we suddenly find ourselves in a head-on collision with the ending of a chapter of our lives that we never saw coming. People are going to do things that are going to hurt us, deeply so, and the discovery that a person isn’t whom you’d believed them to be can make all the preceding time feel like a waste of your own. And then there’s all the rebuilding time –learning to trust and open up again- that is crucial to a recovery but, almost undoubtedly, time-consuming in itself. And much as we might want to control how long a mental or physical recovery takes –and we can to a certain point- there will always be unexpected events, words, or even scents that will take us back to weaker moments and slow down the time it takes to heal.
When I was younger, I used up a lot of my time trying to get people to like me. I used to try and work out how I could be funnier, or less annoying to each specific person that I felt wasn’t very fond of me. I don’t know when exactly –it would have been much later than necessary- but it dawned on me that I am never going to be liked by everyone. Someone will always think I speak too posh (or too much like a white person -life), or that I’m too serious, or too obsessed with food. So this time that I am trying to allocate to other people’s needs would be much better spent on uncovering and taking care of my own, because if I’m so bothered by other people’s opinions, there is a serious lack of self-TLC going on.
Have you ever had that feeling when you leave a conversation –usually a heated one- and a few seconds later, all the amazing, witty and powerful things you could’ve said start flooding into your head? Or the two-second moment before you start thumbing down the Facebook feed where you have a conversation with yourself, going something like “Do you actually have the time in your life to be looking at other people’s?” It’s that feeling that your really smart brain is just a couple of seconds out-of-sync with the present moment brain. It’s the prequel to the point where we let time run away from us, and succumb to the continuous scrolling, or entertaining that person we could really do with not speaking to, or mindlessly eating four cookies instead of one. We’ve lost –or rather, de-prioritized- our awareness of one of the most valuable things in the world.
You are so precious; so is your time. Use it right.
Do not make time for anyone who will take you home and then not call or text so much as a “Hey, I remembered we exchanged bodily fluids last night so I thought I’d just see how you’re doing” the next day. Or for people that will make your personal problems about themselves. Or for ‘friends’ that say they don’t judge you or your actions, in a judgmental tone of voice. Make time to listen to music, and TED talks, and sincere, impartial advice. Make time to stay in touch with the ones you love, even if they live far away. Especially if they live far away. Make time to meditate. Make time to sweat. Make time for the discovery of things that add tangible value to your life; for people –including yourself- that you may have been subconsciously ignoring, or unconsciously neglecting, but whose company makes your life a more awesome one to live.
I spent most of today writing this post, but in-between, I had time to make one of the avocado toasts from The Huffington Post’s “16 Avocado Toast Recipes that will instantly upgrade your life.”
*It was great.
I’m not saying we should all be ice-queens and tell everyone that rubs us the wrong way that they’re not worth our time. It’s more a case of frequently tuning in to just how priceless, yet costly, our time is, and subsequently making adjustments on how we use and who we share it with, so that we don’t have to use more time wishing we didn’t waste it earlier. That time someone is not spending with you is time for them to do their own thing, so do yours and trust that the right things, and people, will reveal themselves, and you’ll want –and be in a position to- make time for them.
*[In case you want to make time for it too:] http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/harissa-smashed-avocado-egg-toast-goat-cheese-honey-drizzle/