Friday, October 15, 2010

Yesterday was gorgeous and lovely and crisp -- outdoors at the park with many-many homeschool friends, sitting under a tree with my Simple Living book, watching Sarah play with old friends and make new ones.

The first chapter of the book is on Time. How am I using my time? Does it match up with my underlying values and priorities? How do I want to have spent my time, when I look back over my life? Who do I want to spend more time with?

I sat particularly long with this advice: when you find yourself tempted to buy something, or do something, or commit to something, look deeply into your motivation. Why do you want to have this or do this? And then look deeply into the consequences and opportunity costs of buying or doing this thing. How many hours would you have to work to pay for this thing? How many evenings with your family would you have to give up for this commitment? How much more rushed would your weekends become if you take this class? Maybe it's worth it anyway. But maybe not. Really look at it, from every angle. And consider this: you don't have to read everything that flies in your door. You don't have to do every neat thing that comes to your notice. You don't have to do everything. Learn to be discriminating.

She also has a lovely couple paragraphs on intimacy. Arguing that our time crunch is actually an intimacy crunch. It's so much easier to keep rushing along, adding more things and more commitments, than to sit quietly, getting to know ourselves, and then opening ourselves to others. She points out our tendency to have fewer, larger get-togethers, instead of smaller, more intimate dinners. I've noticed this, myself -- I often leave large gatherings feeling less connected, not more. But smaller gatherings are harder, more embarrassing -- it feels more vulnerable to say "hey, do you want to come over for dinner on Friday?" Like I'm putting more of myself on the line. Something to consider.

She also talks about the practice of the Sabbath, even for those of us who are not religious, and about the idea of siestas (not necessarily a nap, but a period of enforced downtime in the midst of the day -- turn off the phone, step away from the computer and TV, and just dawdle, on your own or with your family).

Could I X out my Sundays, starting with my open Sundays in November, and keep them sacrosanct for time with my family? Not just time with family, but unhurried, Sunday-drive type time with my family (like grandma and grandpa did when their kids were little. Sundays they would pack a huge picnic lunch and take their 3 kids for drives out the Island or upstate, stopping at park where grandpa would take the kids swimming or skating or playing baseball and grandma would read under a tree)? We already try to make Sunday a family field trip day, when we can manage it. Could we make it a commitment, barring extremely rare exceptions (weddings, and the like)?

I think, maybe, once we fix the laundry situation, we could do that. Saturdays could be our days for errands and seeing people and Friday and Saturday nights could be free time for going out on our own or together, and Sundays could be held for lowkey picnics or field trips.

"... take control of your life and time. Create your own inner law and then follow it."