Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Tinkering With Time
My physical space hasn't been the only object of tinkering lately. We (the sweet husband was very on board this year) also examined our schedule.
For years, I've known exactly what components I would love to have in my ideal weekday morning: tea time with my beloved, journaling, yoga, meditation, and a walk, in addition to the usual tasks--not treats--of showering, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and packing lunch.
I know. I don't ask for much do I?
Well, all right I do. But I have learned that we bring on our predicted doom by limiting ourselves. Who knows what is possible if we leave room for it to happen and never give up trying? Or tinkering, as the case may be.
I have tried various permutations over several years without ever managing to fit it all in except for when I was under-employed, which is not my recommended route to a luxurious morning. Though I have never had it all while fully employed, I have still never given up hope that it could happen, nor been able to stop wanting a long, soothing wind-up as the rule. (I know that there will always be exceptions. And holidays. God bless the holidays!) This new year's beginning was the time to try again, examine the blocks one more time for a possible new arrangement that would create the necessary room for a dreamy morning.
Luckily this year David was every bit as into time management as I was. He suggested that we get up half an hour earlier to make more time for good things. I was surprised that the idea came from him, for he does love his sleep and was the one who convinced me to get adequate amounts of it myself years ago. He persuaded me then that morning rituals are wonderful, but much more so when one is actually rested, and he has guarded our sleep time ever since.
Given its rarity, I eagerly agreed to his suggestion, and we began a trial last week. So far, I'm relieved that we have not missed that half hour of sleep. I am also comforted by the memory of an article I recently read about a study on sleep and longevity that showed an association between moderate sleep (7-7 1/2 hours a night) and long life. The science may say that we're doing a good thing for our bodies, as well as our schedules.
All desired parts still don't fit in, but I'm awfully close. Were it not for the cold season and Reynaud's phenomenon, I could fit in the walk elsewhere and have a perfect score across the day, if not the morning. Hopefully warmer weather will allow a walk before or after dinner later, which will complete the package. Until then I have majority satisfaction. I am blessed indeed.
With that adjustment in play, we also agreed on some additions to our schedule that are part of crafting a finer life. One is what I call the Sunday Summit. After our Sabbath rest (Mmmm), we will come together on Sunday evenings for review of progress toward our intentions and goals and brainstorming for future effort. It's an appointment to re-visit those things we said we'd do, evaluate changes made for success or failure, and draft further ideas and plans. It's accountability, a way to keep on track, for any list not looked at regularly doesn't get checked off. And I do love to check off lists!
We're adding to our couple time as well. We love each other dearly and enjoy our daily life together, but I have lately noticed the lack of novelty in this hobbity life. To bring back the freshness, we will have quarterly dates. He is responsible for spring and fall, and I have winter and summer. We also get the element of surprise back because the responsible party must plan it solo, with nary a word to the mate. This is something we used to do, but got away from, partly for financial reasons. Let me tell you, it's really quite lovely to be loaded into the car, with no idea where your dear one is taking you but with a certainty that it will be delightful. Now, we'll have that back.
The only additional rule for the dates is that, although the responsible spouse may plan whatever he or she wishes for the purpose of sharing, it is not acceptable to bore the other silly. Account must be taken of the mate's preference limitations. He may not plan all day comic-cons unless there is a suitable diversion for me, and I would never dream of mapping out a shopping marathon for him. Barring such inconsideration, a little divergence from the normal choices will be considered exploratory. We might even learn something more about each other after all these years. At the very least, we'll make more lovely memories.
One other tiny task I've added to my own weekly schedule is the writing and sending of one note of thanks or cheer or validation to someone. Already I have prepared one and have two more recipients in mind. I'll do these on Sunday afternoons when I'm rested and full of love after my hours of reading and pretty pictures that leave me feeling like an indulged child--the very same reason it's a good day on which to have the Summits.
Therein lies the reason for all the schedule monkeying: self-care leads to giving, for charged batteries are obviously energetic. One day this week, one of those exceptions I mentioned and am willing to accept, I headed out to work super early, with no meditation, stretching, or journaling. I felt bleary the rest of the morning, not at all fueled and ready to tackle the day's demands. Self nurturing in the a.m. is important like that.
This tinkering time of life is another season. For almost twenty years, I didn't have quite the luxury of choosing that I have now. I had a child to raise, and that duty created different priorities, namely him. That work is done, and I may care for myself more now. It's one of the gifts of mid-life, along with the wisdom to know that I need to do so.
I don't know that all my intentions will manifest exactly as planned--I haven't succeeded in having my proposed mid-day calming meditation regularly, nor can I seem to get to work early enough to have the quiet planning time I also decided to try--but I'm glad to feel up to trying again at all to steer my life rather than ride it. If these plans fall through we'll just make new ones and try some more. That I can never seem to quit.