It’s About Time

Mary Lloyd

Mary Lloyd

I’m in a bar fight with Time right now.  I’m not sure I can even figure out who started it.  At the moment, I’m in the middle of a big transition—moving to new space in a new area to a place that’s needed significant TLC before I moved in.

So I’ve been painting, cleaning, organizing storage areas, and trying to corral all the stuff I’ve managed to accumulate in the two years I’ve been living where I am now.  All that takes time.  And I want to Time to cooperate and give me enough to get it all done–to give me the sense that I have it under control.  Time is not hearing a word of that.  I am not in control.  Nope.  Not at all.

Time is not flying; it is evaporating, like needed rain that never gets all the way to the parched desert floor.  There “should” be enough time.  This move is certainly doable.  I have good support from family and friends.  I have good resources to call for paid help if needed.  But still, I am in this absurd wrestling match with Time.

On the surface, it looks like it’s my own silly fault.  This cleaning that I’ve been doing….I’ve gone through three toothbrushes at it…plus a bunch of bamboo skewers…Q-tips…toothpicks. I’ve been manic about getting that last bit of gunk out of whatever it is that I’m sprucing up.

There is so much to get done!  And yet I’ve been piddling around with a toothpick trying to get the dirt out of the ridges of a light switch.  I’ve painted almost every wall and most of the ceilings of the new place.  I’ve replaced the carpeting and refinished the hardwood floors.  I’ve been absolutely anal about how I set up the kitchen.

Have I gone over the edge—to where cleanliness is no longer next to godliness but instead has moved into the marginally functional wing of a looney bin?  How can I possibly get all the work done if I putz at little things?  Why am I fighting with Time like this?

But as I admit this and look more closely, it’s starting to make sense.  There IS a lot to get done with this move. And I do like to start with things as clean as possible.  (My motto is “Dirt is okay as long as it’s mine.”) But this move is one of a kind and involves more than getting my stuff from here to there.  When I move, someone I love will remain behind—by choice, but still….  Much of what I take with me will have to be replaced if he wants to be able to cook, clean, eat off a plate, etc.  (He’s a guy; he may not….)  So this preoccupation with getting things clean was probably a good way to end up with the right pacing. 

Is there anything in this insight that’s useful for life in general?

Yeah, I think so.  I’ve always been an exceptionally well-organized person.  I have not been like that on this move.  Instead of making list after list, I’ve been blindly doing whatever seems to need to get done next.  It turns out I have been letting my heart lead instead of my
General Manager of the Universe mind. 

Sometimes a list is not the answer.  Sometimes, you just have to trust it’s going to work out and keep trudging along, even if what you’re working on seems to be getting a higher priority than it deserves.  Sometimes, your hands have a better sense of what must be done than your mind does.

And that’s a good thing to realize at the start of a new year.  “Because I’ve always done it this way” is a weak reason not to grow.  By now I would be a raving lunatic if I’d have tried to manage this move the way I’ve done them in the past.  I would also probably be heartsick and very down.  There are just too many layers, too many extenuating circumstances, too much room to cause emotional hurt–to myself or someone else–by steamrollering through this.  What a blessing that I had the chance to piddle around with a toothbrush cleaning up someone else’s microscopic messes.

I guess I haven’t been wrestling with Time after all.  We were dancing, and I just didn’t know it.

Happy New Year!!  May 2014 be full of blessings and love.

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Mary Lloyd is a consultant and speaker and author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love, a blueprint for how to build your own best retirement.  Her first novel, Widow Boy will be out in 2014.  For more, see her website, www.mining-silver.com.

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