December always feels like the bottom half of rollercoaster ride. I start off the year at a full rest, get in gear in the spring, take a breather in the summer, pick up steam in the fall, and by December, I’m flying down the tracks so fast, I can scarcely breathe. I think they call this condition “busy.”
We’re all busy. Just ask your neighbor. Some of the busyness is legitimate. One has work, business trips, meetings, and conferences. We pride ourselves on our to-do lists, ranking ourselves with the world’s most successful people. Aren’t they all list-makers? We squeeze in laundry, car repairs, shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and if we’re savvy, volunteer work. We pay bills, wash our car if we have one, do home maintenance, exercise (I wish!)—the list seems endless. In short, we’ve got lots on our plate. Why do we always compete? (Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the busiest one of all?) Let’s call it a draw, shall we?
I mentioned that to a friend, recently, after she’d broken a lunch date with me for the third time in a row. She apologized, reiterating yet again that she’d been busy. To her credit, though, she admitted her “crazy schedule” was no excuse. And she was right.
Here’s the thing: Only God and Man are eternal. That means, at the end of the day, everything else needs to take second pace. If we are not routinely carving out time in our lives to nurture our relationships with God and the people we purport to love, then we are too busy. Period.
As we begin a new year, let’s all take stock of how we use our time. Remember, we all have the same 24 hours. Let’s resolve to spend some of those hours nurturing our relationships. They are the source of our joy, our meaning, our sense of place in the universe. Our relationships matter, and they are worthy of our investment. Yes, we are all saddled with a myriad of obligations. But what say we control our schedules, rather than allowing our schedules to control us?
At the end of your life, you’re not going to want five more hours at work. You’re going to wish you had even five more minutes with those you love. Spend that extra time with them now.
Schedule a weekly date-night with your partner. Arrange time with at least one friend each week. Have lunch. Go to a movie or a concert. Make cards, or play them. (I occasionally plan a craft-day with a good friend, and we visit while we work. It’s always a blast!) Have coffee or tea. Go on a hike. Whatever. Sometimes I’ll go shopping with a friend who is a busy mom, and we’ll stop on the way for a quick salad at a favorite healthy fast-food restaurant. It’s a challenge for us to work in time to visit, but we do it. Just be intentional about spending time together. Do this and, if you have four close friends you’ll be spending time with each at least once a month. Those hours will fly by, but they will leave something rich in their wake.
Use the telephone and/or SKYPE. Schedule time with friends or family who live far away. Distance is no excuse not to stay in touch.
Schedule an occasional play-date during which you plan to spend at least half a day with someone. Do something special with that time. You won’t have precious memories if you don’t build them. That goes double if you’re a parent. Spend quantity time, not just “quality time” with your children. They don’t want things half as much as they want you, anyway.
Will all this take effort? Absolutely. Are your friends and loved ones worth it? You tell me.
Happy New Year to you and may all your resolutions bear fruit in 2011!