I've watched jugglers many times, impressed at their expertise. They entertain us with antics and jokes, all the while juggling bowling pins, balls, swords, never missing, always catching the next item as they add on another twirling it up over their heads, then down behind their legs. The best I can do it catch one thing at a time. Then I realized I've been a juggler my whole life. I juggle time.
It's difficult to juggle something you can't see. Really, it's a paradox. How can I miss something I don't see, but I sense the pressure closing in, squeezing me til I can't breathe. Heaven forbid if I lose it somewhere. Talk about challenging to find lost time. That's usually when panic sets in and I juggle my time even faster, hoping to catch up in order to have time to look for it. Am I making any sense? Are you with me with the lost time concept?
Then to make matters more confusing, I divide my time. I know, call me crazy, but I do. I slice it up in such tiny pieces, I revert back to looking for lost time more times than not. I try to divide time fairly between family, church, writing, work, social commitments, plus the drudgery stuff like chores. It rarely works. When I need extra time for writing, my work demands longer hours. When I'm relaxing with my family, I steal away to do laundry, type out a chapter of my book or work on a presentaion coming up. But a phone call pulls me away and I'm back to letting time pass without authorization.
But I do have good times. Plenty of them, usually when least expected. And spare time is simply an illusion created by someone who has punctuality issues. I've heard of these people with spare time, but again, I think it's just a rumor, or someone with a good imagination. Maybe a writer?
Another concept hard for me to comprehend is down time. I don't work in a factory or on an assembly line, where I suppose down time might occur. My job is not seasonal, so no down time there. My career isn't really a nine to five kind of thing either, so no down time there. Actually, maybe I used to have down time but converted it to work time, writer's work time. Oh, yes, I remember now, I did have down time; my youngest child was out of diapers and in preschool and I thought, "Yes, Yes, Yes, I have some free time." Oh ... I guess I discovered another type of time and my writing life sucked that up too. So, no, I don't remember any down time. And I just mentioned my brief eclipse of free time.
Time is costly too. I pay dearly for time. My eyes rebel when asked for over-time, my back complains and my chair becomes uncomfortable to sit in. Even my computer acts up if asked to perform over-time. I usually have to refresh or restart it after ten or twelve hours. My body usually tells me the same thing. This over-time is for the young and foolish, not the blurry eyed, sleep deprived middle ager. Yes, I pay for over-time.
So I continue juggling my time, catching snippits every day to relax, if even for a moment. If you find yourself chasing after time, give yourself permission to snatch some down time, free time, or even to play hooky! It's the new type of time, called stolen time. I never knew I'd enjoy being a thief. But I do, I snicker over stolen time. I bask in it's forbiddenness. Stolen time is not for everyone. Only the really stressed, over-worked, deserving individual can grab stolen time. It takes some practice, but if you're bold enough, gutsy even, stolen time can turn into the best time ever. No juggling required.
Til next time ~
DL will be at the Spring Fling Romance Writers Conference, Hyatt, Deerfield, on April 26, selling her latest book, Promises To Keep a finalist in 2 contests. Stop by!