Making time for what matters
Sometimes I feel like there just isn’t enough space in my life. There isn’t enough room to see all my friends, ﬁnish all of my work, attend every signiﬁcant event, volunteer at every charity, keep my house clean and functioning, to eat (something other than string cheese or rice krispies) and to still end up sane at the end of the week, month or year.
Do you ever feel like this?
Recently I met a friend who helped me see my dilemma in a way I had never seen before. From the moment she and I met, we had decided we were kindred spirits—the kind of friends with whom you sense a friendship has formed secretly somehow, before you even met.
So we immediately decided we wanted to spend some time together. We started talking days and times, and I did what I always do—I busted out my calendar to ﬁgure out when I could make it happen.
I glanced down at my phone and ﬂipped through my iCal. I told her I was traveling this week, and next Tuesday and Thursday were really busy for me, but that Wednesday could work.
“Friday would probably be better, though,” I said. “How does next week look for you?”
“It’s full,” she said, “but I make time for the things I care for.”
When I write it here, it almost looks a little like she was trying to slam me with those words, but I can assure you, she wasn’t. In fact, her words made me feel incredibly honored. It made me see how she placed a high price on the time we were planning to spend together, and how she was going to make it a priority to ﬁt me into her life.
But her words also made me realize something else. They made me think: She isn’t the only one who “makes time” for the things she cares about.
I do, too. We all do.
Our schedules and and our iCals and our Google reminders say a lot about what we really value in life. We may not even realize it as it is happening. If you’re anything like me, a calendar feels utilitarian and necessary—not like something deeper.
But if we were to go back and look at our schedules from weeks or years before, they would act like a little time capsules, holding the treasures of our hearts.
And if we were take a step back, and take a close look at what we saw on those pages, what would we see? Would we be happy with our priorities? Would we feel satisﬁed with what they say about us?
I’m not sure I would. For one thing, my calendar is always full, and it’s also a little scattered. If a stranger were to look at my calendar from last month or last year, I think he or she might wonder, “What is this woman doing with her life? What is she about?”
It could be a little hard to tell. My calendar would probably give away my lack of focus.
And yet, there’s no room for shame or guilt here.
Because if our calendars really are a reﬂection of our priorities, then the truth is, our priorities are as limited as our calendars are. In other words—the latest event or program at church, the newest non-proﬁt fundraising dinner, so-and-so’s cousin’s bridal shower—these all might be worthy things to care about, but we can’t feel guilty for not caring. We can’t care about everything.
There are only seven days in a week, 30(ish) days in a month, 365 days in a year. If we try to care about everything, we’ll end up caring about nothing. We’ll eventually kill ourselves.
Ever since I had this conversation with my friend, I think really carefully before I add something to my calendar. I consider if I’m adding the event because I think I “should” go, or because I really want to. I ask myself about priorities, about what I want to create with my life, and measure every single event against that.
Slowly, but surely, more space is opening up. I’m learning less is more.
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