Many of us have an abusive relationship with time. We curse it as it speeds past, reach out to catch it by its tail and drag it back into our laps. We set the clocks ahead, try to trick our lives into slowing down, stretching out. Still, the clock ticks mercilessly forward, while the bottom half of our to-do lists lay untouched, and we reschedule yet another date with a friend.
There’s no time. Where did the time go? I just don’t have the time!
One nation, out of time.
I feel this constant pressure, as well. My day often feels splintered, segmented. I have x hours to get this done, y hours to do that. But I like doing the first thing more, so I cut into the hours for the second thing, and my whole day tailspins into leaving keys on the counter, running back to get them, to-go cups of coffee, and flooring it in the left lane.
And, of course, I apply the time lack mentality to my career. I’ve taken a huge break from acting, but I still sense that I will get back into it at some point. I constantly worry that when that time does come, it will be too late. I’ll be too old. I’ll have missed the boat. I mean, hell, most people start when they are children. I’m a hag!
What’s worse is I see myself projecting this time-cooker living on the kids I nanny. Hurry up. We don’t have time. Put that down. Put that away. There’s no time! You still don’t have your shoes on?! We need to leave NOW.
Just two more hours, right? Just two more hours in the day would solve it all. World peace, cooking dinner, all of it.
One nation, out of time.
I was on the phone with a friend the other week. I was blathering, “Oh my goshhh, like, we haven’t talked in so long.”
She was unfazed. “Time is an illusion,” she said, so simply that she could have been stating that the sky is blue.
Right. Time is an illusion. Invented. Created. Our days charted to give us some kind of sense of our lives and how we’re managing them. Still, my mind spluttered and huffed. But, but, but…TIME. I mean, there’s a magazine named after it!
I’m so tired of punching and kicking at an illusion. I’ll never win a fight against a ghost.
Let’s make peace with time, instead. Here are a few shifts I’ve been trying out.
Commit to a morning practice
Get quiet. Tune in. Move your bod. Light some candles. Pull some oracle cards. Or just pet your cat and brew a pot of coffee. Come up with a small ritual that gets you out of your head and connected–to the cosmos, to your people, to the fairies, to your heart, to whatever you want to call it.
When I take time for my practice (which changes all the time), my entire day seems to expand. I experience more flow in my life, and a calm, focused energy takes over. I saw a saying on Instagram the other day, “Yoga doesn’t take time. It gives time.” I think that quote applies to any morning practice or small ritual that you design completely for yourself. When you center into your truth first thing, the rest of the day feels more like an opportunity, rather than a challenge.
Forgive yourself for what you don’t get done
Because you won’t get it all done. And that’s okay. You are not your to-do list. Your value cannot be measured in checkmarks (or lack thereof). I started Forgiveness Friday in the Soul Sister Society, an empowering group that I belong to. Every Friday, I encourage us all to share what we didn’t achieve that week and forgive ourselves for it so that we can move on with our lives.
Learn the art of saying hell no
Ah, an ancient craft I’m still trying to master. Honestly, I couldn’t even be called an Apprentice to Saying No, yet. I am a famous yes-girl. I work for free, hack up my precious time and practically hand it out to people on the street. And it only ever leads to frustration, as my own priorities get bumped farther into the future. Saying no isn’t rude. It’s necessary. Marie Forleo says, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.” When you really think about that criteria, it’s brilliant.
Unplug or go on a social media detox
I did this for the week of Thanksgiving, and it was pretty radical. Because I had no reason to scroll, I naturally checked my phone way less. This meant that I wasn’t constantly bombarded by the time. You all know that smart phone twitch I’m talking about: You press your phone’s home button to check the clock but don’t even register what it says! Untether yourself from the gadgets and experience more presence, and less obsession with digits. And bonus: You’ll have more time to be awesome because you’re spending less on your phone.
Change the language
I’m becoming more conscious of how I talk about time. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t have time,” we can say, “I’m choosing not to add that to my schedule today.” The latter is way more empowering because it emphasizes that we have a choice in how we spend our days, rather than reinforcing the idea that we are slaves to the clock. It sends the message of a decision, rather than a complaint.
Embrace getting older
I know I don’t have a lot of perspective on this, but the absurdity of our society’s obsession with anti-aging is obvious even to a tiger cub like me. And though I’m not close to being “middle-aged” yet, I’ve still seen the affects of growing up. I can’t even drink one beer without feeling hungover the next day. I’d rather watch Netflix in my sweatpants than go to a club on a Saturday night.
But I’m happy. My life feels more magical every day. Who cares about what my younger self used to do or what she used to look like? And yeah, I want a nice batch of long, white moon-hair and wrinkles and sunspots. You know what those mean? I laughed a lot and ran around naked in the sun. Plus, I can make everyone call me Grandmother Willow.
Or maybe my soul will move on before any of those appear. That’s okay, too. Our souls are here to have a human experience for a finite amount of time, anyway. But it isn’t a race, so why fret over the finish line?
You aren’t wasting your days by accomplishing less, and nothing is counting down. It’s simply happening, flowing. This life is just movement. Like water, like the moon, like anything natural and beautiful. Let it be what it is.