Thursday, 26 February 2009

Where do you get the time for that? (Part 2)

by Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

Back in November last year, Julie wrote a fantastic post here on this topic (hence the part 2 part in the title of this one). Julie outlined in her post how one small change can have a cumulative affect on a person's time. From my own journey, I can say that I have had the same experience. However, I would like to add a little bit more of my own thoughts on the issue.

To add just a bit of a background. I am a single mum to a 4yr old and a 6yr old. I work four days a week and I volunteer 8 hours a week for a couple of organisations. When people in my life find out that I have embraced a simple non-consumerist lifestyle, they almost always invariably ask me "where do you get the time for that?".

The first few times I answered this question, I used to say that I have the time to do this because I am not buying brand-new/shopping/watching large amounts of TV etc etc. And while I think this is partly true, I am slowly realising that perhaps this is not really the reason why I have the time to sew, craft, cook etc etc. I think the reason why I do it is because the more I learn to do these simple things , the more empowered I am and therefore the more time I give to it.

Time is a funny concept. Before I started consciously making the effort to be more aware of my consumption habits, I never seemed to have the time to do anything. At first, it seemed it was all I could do to have the time to work and see my friends. Then much later, it seemed to me that it was all I could do to have the time to raise my kids. For as long as I can remember, it seemed to me that I was always pressed for time.

One thing I've learned is that there is *always* time. When I look back I can see that nature has proven this to me "time and time" again. (heh).

In the past, I used to say: "I don't have the time to take a day off work/looking after my family to rest/recover from sickness"..... and then I would get really really sick and suddenly that day off became a week off... And somehow work/the family survived without me and I had that time.

In many ways, I think I had fallen into the trap of thinking that I should spend more time entertaining myself (with a very narrow definition of what is entertainment) rather than being productive (with the implication that being productive is work and therefore not supposed to make me happy).

Looking back, I can see how disempowered my language was in respect to time. Time and the constant search to find more of it, drove me. It took me gaining confidence - to have faith in myself - to finally say, "I don't need more time because I *can* use *this* time to sew/craft/learn/cook/garden." Doing these things makes me happy and that is just as important as other things. Karenmc summed it perfectly in her comment to me on my personal blog when she said:
I complain too much about not having enough time, but I have as much time as anyone else, and enough to pack in a lifetime of experiences. I have so much I want to do that I need to prioritise into those things that have to happen now or I may never get the opportunity again (such as playing with the kids while they're still young enough to want to play with me!) and things that can wait a little longer. And I find if there's something I want badly enough, I will subconsciously prioritise and find the time no matter how busy I am.

I think another aspect is that we tell ourselves we have to do certain things, and there's a certain status in being busier than everyone else. I'm certainly guilty of that sort of thinking, and am consciously trying to stop it. Yes, I'm on 3 school/preschool committees, but you know what? I want to be there, I want to be involved in something that's a big part of my children's lives, and I'm not prepared to give it up, so I'll stop talking about it in terms of it being a burden.

So in short, by consciously acknowledging that what I want to do and what I am doing is important, I have given myself the freedom to have the time to do what I want to do.

I hope everyone is having a lovely day.