Spending Habits

Not long ago a friend of mine posted an image on Facebook. It was a screenshot of a spreadsheet her husband was working on to ensure that the way they were spending their time was in alignment with their core values. It was late, I scrolled past it, my brain registering a quiet grumble of protest that that sounded way too structured for me.

But my mind keeps coming back to it.

We talk to our children a lot about the spending of money. About the value we place on things. As a society we focus on a lot on those numbers, those figures we associate with value and happiness, security, intelligence. There’s a huge focus on dollars, which is interesting, because you can earn more.

You can’t earn more time, you can’t even borrow it.

We enjoy the luxury of believing we have a certain amount of it, but the truth is we don’t know. No one does. What we have with certainty is now – this day. The sad person, happy person, unfit person, healthy person, rich person and poor person, the bored person and busy person – they all have this. Their experience of it differs greatly, but we all build what we have from these moments.

We get caught up in the idea that we are what we think, that we’re our ideas, concepts and wants. It’s true, in part, but in a bigger part: we are this day. 

We’re what we do with the time we have.

How we spend it is our truth. The rest is words, assurances or excuses we use to build ourselves up or tear our dreams down. I’m talking about you, about me, about all of us.

Our time doesn’t lie, what we do with it is the most honest reflection of what matters to us.

When I was growing up my mother used to say “Whatever you’re doing, do it well. If you’re working, work hard, if you’re relaxing, relax fully.” I’m still getting the hang of this, most of us are.

I’ve admitted to myself in the past couple of weeks that I need to work on my spending habits, and not the wallet kind. I spend the most part of my days joyfully focused on my children, and I wouldn’t change that for the world, but there are still wonderful little pockets of time that I don’t use to lift myself up – and I can. There will always been housework, study or work, but in every day time exists that’s yours. How are you spending it?

That spreadsheet doesn’t seem like a bad idea after all….

wearethisday

 

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

When I Grow Up…

She was bubbly and giggly. “Oh you’re so cool. I want to be just like you when I grow up!” she said. She was 25, to my 32. And my first reaction to this compliment was to feel old.

Then I thought about it.

The term ‘grown up’ infers a completeness, and I consider myself gloriously incomplete. I hope that I will continue to be. As we grow up, all that we are comes together. We are the sum off all our parts, all our experiences, our achievements, our flaws, our skills… but we continue to want… it is that wanting, that niggling incompletion that makes us hungry to keep on growing.

I like that hunger.

When I was younger I had a list of things to do by the time I was grown up. I would speak three languages fluently, I would have written a couple of novels, I would be this perfect being that I had dreamed up when I got there.

With the blessing of growing older my goals have changed, because my mind has too. I have realized the importance of the little things – the enormity of patience, of thoughtfulness, of being humble enough to put another’s needs before your own while holding onto who you are. I have found satisfaction in a well dug garden, and reward beyond measure in the smile of a child.

Through motherhood I have realized the superficiality of my teenage worries, that my feet were too big, my breasts were too small and I had freckles. FRECKLES dammit!! This was enormous stuff.

Isn’t it an exciting thought, that one day today’s enormous stuff will feel just as small? That one day the goals we have, fulfilled or not, will look so very different from where we’re standing?

That there are new goals just around the corner? New revelations to be found? New experiences to be had that are just waiting to blow the old ones out of the water?

I still want to speak three languages one day, and I will write those novels, but the perfect being I had dreamed up will probably continue to elude me. Not because I’m not good enough, but because it’s meant to. As long as I keep reaching for it I will keep growing… and the sum of my parts will be greater for it.

I try not to ask my children what they want to be when they grow up, we aim for happiness every day instead. I will teach them to set goals, just as I do, but the most important thing I want to teach them is to not see any age – any achievement – as the place where you’re “done”. It’s the doing we’re here for.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013