Friday, September 27, 2013

Transitions, Giddiness and a Caveat

There has been a lot of talk around our house recently about transitions and kids growing up.  My husband and I are signing today on the house that will become our home in three years when our youngest graduates from high school, our oldest daughter and her husband are moving out of our basement this weekend into their first home, and I am right now sitting in a hotel near our middle daughter’s college where she set up her freshman dorm room yesterday.

I left home yesterday morning with six kids living in our home (and, yes, I refer to them all as kids regardless of age) and I will return home Saturday to only three.  It has been almost twenty years since we had only three children in our home.

I find myself conflicted about these changes.  I'd like to have the kids around forever, but I know these are the proper next steps and they are inevitable.  I also know I get somewhat giddy looking forward to the time when it's just my husband and me (and a clean house).  We’ve been doing this parenting thing for 32 of our 36 married years and more couple time will be nice.  But the giddiness comes with a caveat:  I want the kids close.  I want to stay close to them emotionally, I hope to stay reasonably close to them physically and I want them to come for dinners, visits and celebrations or to share those times with them in their own homes or even in a restaurant when needed.

I’m excited for both of my daughters who are setting off on new adventures this week.  I’m looking forward to seeing what my oldest daughter does to make their new house their home.  I’m thrilled for our middle daughter as she begins her college career with so much opportunity for growth.  But when I get home Saturday night and walk past those two empty bedrooms – yes, there will be a tear on my cheek…maybe even a few between now and then.  I can’t see my screen very well right now – if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Matter of Time

How do we spend our time?  Is it productive?  Are there lost minutes, hours throughout the day?  I’m enrolled in an on-line workshop right now called The Productive Writer.  It’s causing me to take some hard looks at how I spend my days.

As I look back on the way I’ve used my time over the past several years, I realize I spend a lot of time participating in 21st century activities:  checking email and Facebook, browsing the internet, shopping on-line and, of course, playing games.  When I think back to the time saving devices that are available to me that weren’t available to my grandmother or even to my mom, I feel like there should be an abundance of time for other pursuits, but the reality is much of our time today, or at least mine, is spent on activities also not available to our mothers and grandmothers.  Yes, I can run the dishes through the dishwasher instead of standing at the sink for half an hour, but I can also blow an entire hour checking out craft ideas on Pinterest.

I’m a very organized person and, even with a schedule full of family, work and personal interests, I do get a lot done.  However, I’m always looking for new ways to increase my productivity and lessen the stress of jobs left undone – looking for time to do those things that always seem to get shoved to the back of my mental To-Do list.  Recently I became more productive as I scheduled myself an entire day for paperwork (home/family paperwork as well as work paperwork).  I have blocked out Mondays as Paperwork Mondays, also known as Soul Sucking Mondays.  I am amazed by the amount of work I’m able to get done when I commit to myself that my entire day will be spent at my desk.  Following that idea, I am now implementing Errand Tuesdays, which will include grocery shopping, banking, checking the dry cleaners and the Post Office, even browsing a local thrift store if there’s time.  I’m looking forward to Errand Tuesdays; they’ll be a nice reward for Soul Sucking Mondays.  If I’m able to stick with this schedule, I will have plenty of time for writing and other business ventures, but I realize I also need to look at those other activities that burn up the minutes of my day.  Specifically, I need to look at those 21st century pursuits and figure out a plan that allows me to still enjoy reading emails, catching up with friends on Facebook or playing a few games of Words with Friends while insuring I’m not using them to avoid other work, to forestall boredom or as a form of active-meditation (as in zoned-out).  How do I do that?  I’m not sure.  Right now I’m at my kids’ dentist office waiting for them to complete their semi-annual cleaning and check-up.  Normally I would be playing a game on my phone or checking my email, but, as part of this week’s workshop assignment, I have, instead, spent the time writing.  It’s felt good to steal a few extra minutes to write and, I have to admit, I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the workshop assignment.  However, now that I’ve been productive, I think I’ve earned a few minutes with Facebook…