Tick tock. The clock is winding down. This morinng, I am pushing off frustrated, depressed, frantic thoughts as the sands seem to run out way too quickly. I attended my 25th college reunion last weekend, and was astounded at how old we have all become. My gray hairs are needing re-touches more often (I am not quitting on them, please believe me! There was one woman there who let her hair go, and I mistook her for my mother). My kids are getting taller and more independent by the day. My parents are losing their steadfast nature to confusion. My siblings are still abroad, and we don’t spend holidays together.
My life is ruled by the clock- I bill my 36 hours a week to clients, and get to spend 4-6 hours a week “unbillable”- cleaning up files, emails, desk, client relationships, etc. I need to get home in time for making dinner, for doing that one laundry load a day, for cleaning and de-cluttering the constant sea of gunk that coats my home’s surfaces. And then, I must get to bed in time to avoid that 10 pm cranky woman who emerges, no, she erupts from the stack of bills, the laundry loads, the hairy bathroom sink with nothing good or positive to say to anyone, least of all, her teenagers.
And I hate that time is ticking by. I hate that my parents live too far away to know if they really are safe still driving to dinner and to shop across town. I hate that my siblings all have full lives that don’t really include me or my kids. I hate that I have to pay bills that shouldn’t be mine, but are. And the only way to pay them is to keep tick-tocking on the work clock at a job that I would like to leave. I hate that my kids are getting older and bigger, and I am so busy on my little work clock, my laundry clock, my cooking clock, my sleeping clock that I am sometimes too tired to have the conversation, the trip, the joke, the fun with them that we all need.
I cannot seem to escape the damn tick-tock. So I meditated on it, prayed on it, and wrote on it. I decided to look for the things that most please me: time with my kids, time with my writing, running, time with my cute boyfriend, time feeling grateful, time loving and helping others, and time reading. Those are the places I really WANT to spend time. Per my friend Liz’s advice, Whenever I am doing those things, I will refuse to multi-task the time away.
As single parents, we are tasked with too much to do, too many bills, and too little time with our precious kids. We have to live more presently, more consciously, and more purposely than it seems possible. And that is ok. We can do this.
Second Step is to make a plan: decide what needs changing up, set a budget for time and money, identify times for the preciousness. Don’t continue to scramble and leave it up to chance.
Third Step is to ask for help, (aka pray and tell a friend so that we are held accountable)find a sense of humor, and vow for patience with everyone again so that the treadmilled cranky lady stays out of the picture.