Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Half an Hour

I have about thirty minutes at my disposal before I have to kick into some form of action to ready myself for the day ahead. A person can do a lot with thirty minutes ... if you choose one thing and stick with it.

Lately, my time management failures have come from the simple fact that I cannot make myself stick with one thing.

I can send an eight line email and find at least six other things to do at the same time. Thus, this short email takes a good half hour to write. Not an effective use of time.

My thoughts are bouncing from 'A' to 'B' to 'C' ... and the next thing you know, I'm up to the letter 'J' and I should have been out the door one minute ago.

I have so many little things niggling away within my subconscious mind. Most of them are very obvious but I had no idea how much my upcoming school reunion is weighing on my mind until I wake up in the morning. I have been having dreams that circle in and around this terrifying event. My subconscious mind has taken me back to high school where I was afraid to speak out loud. High school reunion = Fear. Honestly, this is the least of my worries. But I didn't think it was a worry at all until I started dreaming about it.

My chequebook is sitting on the computer desk. A constant reminder that I must start to figure out how my finances are really doing.

Yesterday, I talked with a friend who has also decided to 'spend now; worry later'. We have both spent the better part of our lives worrying about building up nest eggs, emergency funds, contingency plans, only to figure out that no matter how much you worry about it or budget for it ... life happens. So we have adopted a new financial plan. "It all works out in the end." And it does. Every time. Yesterday, her husband was 'terminated' from his job. Yup. Life happens. "It is not yet the end, my friend ... it is not yet the end."

Despite my friend's concern over their financial state of disrepair, it was the least of her worries. Mental health issues are weighing heavy on her mind as she walks through a familiar path with her adult son. Her own health is a concern as yet another door has opened and revealed a truth that has taken her back to a place of loss. "If money can solve our problems, we are very fortunate ..."

The state of 'limbo' is my most un-favorite place in the world to be. This is exactly where my friend sits. It is where I feel like I am lingering (though my worries are far less worrisome than most). When you know where you are at, you make a plan. You look for your best route out of where you are. When you don't know where you stand, all you can do is start to map out various coping mechanisms. You probably shouldn't even waste your time on that but you can't help it. You go on auto pilot and start to mentally prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. That takes an incredible amount of energy.

I don't have to look far and I see so many people struggling with issues that are far greater than the little energy-draining thoughts that are going through my mind. Life and death situations. Mental health issues that are so hard for anyone outside of it, to see and feel.

Even with the worst case scenarios, you may think that you are braced for the worst. Then life throws you a curve ball out of left field that knocks you over. You get up and are dazed by what just hit you. You can watch the instant replay but that doesn't affect your new reality. You are knee deep into a new place in your life that you would have never chosen for yourself ...

Life is ever-changing. It is exciting when the changes are for the good. But we never know when the good will turn on us. "Good luck? Bad luck? Who really knows for sure?"

I shall leave you with an ancient Chinese story that asks this very question:

There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his neighbours and friends, trying to exist and fulfil a peaceful life. One day news arrived from far away, that his old loving father had died. His neighbours gathered to grieve, but the farmer simply said, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” 
In time relatives brought a very fine horse of great cost and fine breeding, left to the farmer by his father. All the villagers and neighbours gathered in delight with him to celebrate his good fortune, but he just said, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbours sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

May you find simple blessings among that which life throws your way today.

(My thirty minutes are up. I kept to the task at hand (even though my thoughts bounced from here to there to everywhere within this short post) and I started and completed this task without distraction. That will be my mantra of the day: "Make the most of the time that I am given...". We just never know when life-as-we-know-it may change.)

No comments:

Post a Comment