I never did like the 'countdown' of hours-left-to-go-before-I-go-to-work.
Afternoon shifts were my nemesis. Nothing could be fully enjoyed because there was a continual time-check throughout the day. Four more hours. Ahhh. Three more hours. Quick! Time is running out. Two more hours. Minor anxiety in chest. One more hour. There is no time left. Half an hour. I wonder how much I could squeeze in before I really have to go. Five minutes. I need more time!!
Then came the time when I truly felt that I had this whole countdown thing down to an art. I was in super-nesting-daycare-preparing-to-become-a-wife mode. I cooked, I cleaned, I organized, I was super-woman. Hear me roar! Oh, the things that I squeezed into that time that I carved out for myself before my early daycare day started.
This was followed by a year of education, a year of working from home then the finale - a year of working outside my home.
The education year? I was still superwoman, only I was having fun. I still ran my daycare before and after school and I completed my studies during regular school hours. I worked at a bookkeeping job part time. I danced! Oh, how I danced!! It was a perfect year of a well choreographed life. I was living, learning, working, moving and shaking. The game of 'How much time do I have left?' became 'How quickly can I get my work done, so that I make the most of my time off?' It was a most wonderful use of my time!
The year of working from home was a close second to the year-of-education. Unfortunately I wasn't earning quite enough to pay the bills. I was still master of my time. Living my life, doing what I wanted and needed to do took priority. I got my work done in the cracks of living-my-life. Perhaps this was the beginning of the end of my productive time management skills. Housework took a back seat, cooking was becoming a feat of providing food (frozen food entrées became the norm) and I was honing the fine art of procrastination.
The year of working outside of my home was the year that everything came unravelled. I woke up at the same time each morning, got ready for work and waited for the phone to ring. Or not. These were times of high anxiety. The ringing of the phone dictated my life. It told me where to go. Every day was a new surprise. I needed the phone to ring because I needed to work. Yet the closer the clock got to the 'deadline' of starting a day on time, the more I wanted the phone not to ring. I accomplished next to nothing during that time. I existed. I survived.
Then came the year that I finally came back 'home' and restarted my daycare.
Now, my weekdays are very predictable. I know what time my kids start arriving and my parents are absolutely awesome about picking up their children on time. I can actually make plans again!
I write. I write here, there and everywhere. I squeeze writing into the cracks of my life and I am actually earning a small income from it. Writing is taking over the spot where house cleaning used to live. The house is a mess but my heart is more content. Priorities.
Then there is my bookkeeping. It is the job that is probably the basis of my retirement plan. I know that I will have to work as long as I breathe and I simply can't see tending children when I am 80. The business of tending numbers could be my bread and butter one day. I like the challenge, I enjoy working with numbers (trust me, after the year-of-working-outside-of-my-home taught me that I like black/white; wrong/right; balance-to-zero equations far more than I enjoy the phrase "Use your judgement!"). The only downfall to my bookkeeping job is that it has become the job that I am doing the Final Countdown as the hours melt away before I must leave for work.
I stared at the ceiling fan in my bedroom this morning thinking "If I get up now, I will have three hours". I got up and each step along the way, I am counting down the hours-left-to-go before I must leave my home (it is down to under an hour at the moment).
I wrote that paragraph, then checked to see what time the Oil Change store opens this morning. It turns out that I could leave right this moment, get my oil changed on my way to work and arrive just on time. I am back in the business of squeezing in the very last morsel of time before my work-days begin.
Now ... if only I was as concerned about cleaning windows or writing a book, I would have it made in the shade.
It is coming. I can feel it. My heart is slowing down and I am getting acclimatized to the renewed tempo of my life. Work, leisure, friends, family and down-time are all falling into a nice pace. I am regaining a little bit of everything. And with it? Myself.
The final countdown is on and I must run. But it is a good run. I'm not winded when I get there. I enjoy the destination and I love coming home.
Time is on my side once again. I am still counting down the time but I'm finding the rewards once again.