Good morning, Dear Reader! I think we’ve finally gotten a bit of a break from the oppressive heat. At least, it seems like that. My air conditioner isn’t running today, so that’s a start. I seriously was getting a bit crabby over here. My tiny little garden was watered by none other than Mother Nature herself yesterday and this morning, so that, too, is a blessing.
I’ve never been much of a gardener. In fact, I can take an ‘impossible to kill’ plant and murder it by neglect within a few weeks. But lately, I’ve been tending more to them and even find myself nursing a few back to health.
But, this post isn’t about plants, and you know it – especially if you follow me. As with most of my writing, I like to grab you with an excellent old metaphor, and killing something seems to be all the rage these days.
So. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s discuss how gardens and time are related – metaphorically, of course.
Seeds – like minutes – must be cultivated, protected, and loved. There’s a reason they say, “Time is money.” It’s because it is true. Like money – I also tend to be a bit selective with my spare time.
I am a single parent working full time during the day, trying to keep other relationships from fizzling out and getting some time with my hobbies and interests. Top this all off with daily laundry, meal prep, house cleaning, and showering (yes, I haven’t given up on showering yet, even if it is midnight). I’m left with about 10 minutes of unaccounted-for time. Which I spent last night sitting under the stars anticipating the new moon.
You can’t have a bountiful crop without good seeds. Likewise, it’s hard to nurture relationships when time is a commodity. Time, like money, has to be budgeted. And, as with all budgets, my time budget and my buckets often seem empty.
But bringing it back to my point, which is seeds and plants and time and harvest, I pondered this: The problem with budgeting our time is that we feel sad about all we might have to give up. But what if we, instead, started focusing on what we would gain by managing time better?
We are all responsible for our time and how we choose to spend it. Some have the luxury of lazy Sundays where napping and road trips are the norm. Many, myself included, do not have the seeds to sow into something so glorious regularly because our to-do lists have yet to be pruned.
If, like plants, relationships require cultivation, then wasting energy on things that are no longer fruitful can build resentment. Much like planting seeds in infertile soil brings no harvest, sowing into projects and people who don’t appreciate the effort is like watering a weed. It will only get worse and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to rid yourself of the responsibility. It’s like in this TedTalk by Sarah Knight I love so much. You have to decide what will and will not be in your fuck budget.
As a mother of a young boy my first responsibility is to care for his needs. Before you get all ‘therapist-y’ on me…caring for his needs also means caring for my own. I need to rest. I need to eat well. I need to move my body. I need to sow seeds into myself so I can be strong and healthy for him. Everyone else, who isn’t me or my son, is responsible for their damn row of seeds. I cannot meet everyone’s needs, and neither can you.
I know this balancing act with time is difficult for some people to understand so, I just stopped trying to explain it to them. But let me tell you…guilting me into giving up some of my seeds just isn’t something that works on someone like me. If I’m honest, that stuff is one of the best ways to piss me off. My seeds. My choice.
The bottom line is: Time is currency. Time, clearly in this post, are seeds. If you want a bountiful harvest and a good life, you have to determine where to plant those little seeds, and you need to plant them so they become ripe for harvest.
“Time is the seed you must sow and the currency you must exchange to experience the life you want to have. The life that you want to have is going to be determined by how you sow the seed of your time. When you look at your life this time next year and compare it to this year, you’re going to be standing in a harvest that is a result of where you sowed the seed of your time.”
I don’t know what my harvest will look like next year, but I know I had to consciously choose to look at my priorities and stack them up against my resources. After looking at these two lists, I realized an authentic, candid picture: I can have a tiny but mighty garden. Translation: My social circle has gotten a lot smaller. And that is not a bad thing.
I don’t know all the answers. If I did, I’d make a shit-ton more money at blogging instead of zero. I wish I had all the seeds in the world to sow into all the relationships connected to those I love. But I don’t.
When I look at the people in my life, I look for the helpers – not the complainers – to lift me up and restore me. Life is too short, and time is too valuable to spend wondering why my needs aren’t getting met while everyone else demands that I meet theirs. It just isn’t humanly possible to do it all.
So. Pick a seed (a minute). Pick a row (hobby, person, experience, task) and plant. Plant, then water. Water, then watch. Watch what grows. It might be you. Who knows? The harvest you reap may surprise you and everyone else around you, too. Happy planting.
Until then, here’s your weekend song. It’s by Nickelback, and before you even start…I get that Nickelback has been criticized heavily over the years, but they have quite a few songs that remain relevant. This is one of them, a song about time, making the most of it, and never giving up until you find that one special person you’ll love forever.