How did it get so late so soon?

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has flown.

How did it get so late so soon?

-Dr. Seuss

Evidently, Dr. Seuss wrote this poem one year before his death. Which leads to the assumption that he was referring to the speed at which life seems to pass as we age. People tend to perceive time passing differently, when the arc of an entire life-span is the reference. Which does not come as a surprise, for children experience the passage of time in a completely different way.

I remember how long the summer days could feel when I was in grade school. Truthfully, they were actually long, as the hours of sunshine seemed to stretch well into the night in central Alberta. We kids would play outside from the morning dew until our eye lids drew heavy as the last rays of light faded into darkness. I had so much time, I sometimes felt bored. That all seems like such a luxury, looking back on it now. If only time could feel slow as molasses again.

Luckily my Mother did not believe in scheduling children. At least not for the time we were meant to be playing. Which was pretty much anytime we did not have school responsibilities. That meant summer holidays were a blank slate. We could spend all our time doing whatever we wanted. I look back on those days as complete freedom which my parents gave to us as a gift. In truth, I think we didn’t have the money to go anywhere or do anything away from home. In later years, we started to travel a bit. Usually a camping trip on the way to Grandma’s house.

As my workload at school started to increase there was a need to create a proper schedule. Blocks of time neatly laid out on a grid with appointments written into each square. On paper, I loved the idea of filling the whole thing up. I joined all kinds of after school sports clubs and extended my scheduled activities right up to my bedtime. While my childhood was carefree, as I grew up I took the opposite path and filled my days.

I felt that something was amiss by the time I was about to finish high school. I had a full class load and worked 2-part time jobs. If I was not in school, studying or working, I was out with my friends. I would drop into bed on Sunday night, early and feel exhausted. Then start the whole thing over on Monday morning. I had no sense of how unsustainable or unhealthy that kind of life was.

When I moved away from Canada to take a job in the United States for the first time, my Mother cautioned me. From our conversations, she worried that because I was alone down there, I would work all the time. Not only did she express concern for my health but she rightly assumed that my employers would come to expect the level of output, which took long hours to achieve. She was right on both accounts. What neither of us understood at the time was that my personal feelings of worth were going to become tied up with the intensity of my work schedule.

Twenty years on, something changed in me. I finally realized that filling up all the squares in my schedule is not a good thing. In fact, it is a terrible idea. Not only that I was burnt out. My creative cup was empty. I had nothing left to give because I had neglected to take care of myself. I began to think about leaving work completely. I dreamed of free time stretching out on the horizon as far as the eye can see. A schedule full of empty blocks. Time to do whatever I wanted, for as long as I pleased, just like those summer days of my childhood.

I think my eighteen-month break cured me of the desire to be over scheduled. However, the world has not changed in the time I have been gone from the workplace. In fact, the company I am working for now has a scheduling addiction of epic proportions, like most large corporations, I suspect. I also agreed to a lengthy commute. I am learning how to live in this world and stay grounded with what I know is most important to me. This is a work in progress. Some of the old habits are not going to be broken so easily.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”   -Reinhold Niebuhr

For my whole life, I have believed that anything can be changed. While technically that may be true, human beings do not respond well to uncertainty. Even when circumstances are improving, we resist the newness of it. We often prefer what we know to anything else, simply to stay in a comfortable zone.

As I blocked off each chunk of time my attention was always directing to moving forward. I loved progress, improvements and change. I thought I thrived on it. What I realize now is I kept my life the same and expected everything else around me to change. I never pulled back the lens to get this view. Instead, I trudged along, keeping the line, as if I was a general with an army to command.

I lacked serenity, I was afraid of courage and I mistakenly assumed I was wise. All the while I was hiding behind my schedule. If I could just figure out the perfect combination of tasks and expertise, I could achieve my goals. Once that was done, I could set my sights on even greater achievements. That is a lot of pressure to put on a calendar, those poor little boxes, crushed under the weight of my expectations. All the while, time keeps ticking on.

Through my travels and research, I have come to realize that my tonic might be the practice of mindfulness. That seems like a weighty concept which takes a lifetime to learn. It is not. It starts with each moment. By stopping to notice what is happening in the body and hear what is being spoken in the mind. The awareness in the here and now can act like a tether for the present moment. Each micro chunk of time, well spent has a lasting impact on overall well-being. Gradually, I hope to bring the fast river of time to a slow meander.

Join me in this creative journey. I am on a mission to start a global movement, focusing on the importance of creativity in our daily lives. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to: Christine@dailycreatives.com #creaspatreat

My creative year:
: : Developing, testing and enjoying a life I don’t need a vacation from while working in an office and commuting on public transit! 
: : This is where my ideas for creaspatreat will come to life. Don’t miss any of it by joining us!
: : Check out new projects on my youtube channel called creative wandering. #dailycreatives

Published books:
: : “Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power

Would you like a free download of….
: : The first chapter from Fruitless at 40 and
: : My tried and true packing list, developed from long-term, around the world travel?
: : Join us!

Daily Creatives Resources:
: : Travel changes a person
: : Consumer anarchy and the Buyerarchy of needs
: : Teach women, invest in a community
: : Crea.spa.treat. what do you think it means?
: : Living in stress, moving to relaxation, looking for ikigai

Christine Westermark

I am a world traveller, lucky enough to have a loving family who support my dreams to learn, create and give back by designing creative content which enables a lifestyle we don't need a vacation from.

Latest posts by Christine Westermark (see all)

How did it get so late so soon?

One thought on “How did it get so late so soon?

  • September 1, 2018 at 7:08 pm
    Permalink

    It is good to hear your free range childhood was valuable to you. I don’t remember specifically thinking of what the value of such a thing could be. I just knew it was how I was raised and it taught me a lot of lessons I wouldn’t have learned if I had been on a short leash with a full calendar.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.