Time Challenged

It’s Saturday morning, and the only things on my list for the weekend are two loads of laundry and grocery shopping. Yet I lay in bed looking at the clock calculating what time I should get up.

I am time challenged. I pay way too much attention to time, which causes stress. No matter what I am doing, I am focused on time, tensing up. I count time all the time. Time is never an expansive vastness in front of me to enjoy.

It’s the ready, set, go mentality of getting as much done as possible. Watch the clock in the car, how long did that stoplight take. Ok, it’s 7am, open email. Glance at the clock, good that only took me 15 minutes. Next, walk out of my office and talk to my co-worker, come back in. Oh, that took 20 minutes. Start a project, look up the clock, glance at the time on my computer, calculate how many minutes until my meeting.

This isn’t only regulated to work either. Watch the clock in the car as I drive home, mentally figure out my commute time. Walk in the door, ok, I …

A Stress Free Life

I recently read a FB post my sister in law shared that said we have to stop thinking there is a stress-free life out there waiting for us. 
My thoughts about this went in a few different directions.

Should we just accept that life is stressful? Should we stop wishing for the impossible? Should we stop pining for something different? Should we manage our stress better? Should we look at stress as something good?

This spring, I spent time evaluating my day to day stress and how I could reduce it, or deal with it better. It turned out, that almost all my stress was self-induced. I was either multitasking, rushing, or trying to do too much. Granted, there were many pressures on me, but there were also ways I could change my response.

How I dealt with and approached the many things I needed to do was causing me stress. As I learned to work on only one task at a time, I was less stressed and able to do more. As I quit rushing, or mentally counting down the minutes, I was less stressed. As …

The Gift of Time

In September, I had a week where I was on call for work (a new phenomenon for me) and had to stick close to home so that I would be able to make phone calls if needed. At first I felt this was a huge infringement on my time. Seriously, I had to always be within 15 minutes of home or work. Granted, I could make a phone call or two from my cell phone, but the amount of information I needed to record and disseminate was difficult to do if I was out and about. At first this felt like dark clouds hanging over my head.

My husband went to the store with me in case I had to leave mid-trip. (I never like leaving a cart of groceries abandoned in the store!) I limited how many trips I took to the store. My bike rides were 15 minutes out and back. We didn’t go hiking or do any other activities on the weekend. 
As the week progressed, I found an unexpected and surprising benefit to this situation - the gift of time. 
When I wasn’t running around doing errands, I had time. When I wasn’t thinking a…

Choose Not to Choose

Many of the pictures I take are of “paths”. You know, those trails through the woods. Often times, the path involves a decision - do I go this way or that? Sometimes I already know which way to go, and other times I don’t. Either way, I’m not too concerned and rarely worry about getting lost. I can always backtrack and take the other way.

Life isn’t as easy. We are faced with many choices on our journey, and these choices aren’t always easy. Also, we humans seem to make them more difficult.

Our town now has three grocery stores. When we moved here, there was only one. Then two. Now three. The first has only a few kinds of yogurt. The second has all the ones I like. The third has all the ones I like plus a whole lot more of many other types of products like a huge health and beauty department, clothing, sporting goods etc.

Except in an emergency, I drive right past the first one. I really like the second one. The third one stresses me out because it is too big. However, I digress.

If w…

Look No Further

Despite a college degree in International Business and German, I have never desired to travel outside of the US. A couple of years ago I did get a passport so we could take a weekend cruise to the Bahamas for our 25th anniversary, but I don’t really count that as being outside of the US, nor the one night spent camping in Canada.
People are always amazed that I have no desire for international travel. When I studied German in high school, we not only learned the language, but the culture as well. At that time, the Berlin wall was still up, and the fashions of German teenagers were of no interest to me.

My brother has lived overseas for almost 20 years now, South Korea, Japan, and now Germany, as a teacher for the US military; yet I haven’t barely even thought of traveling to see him. While I am starting to have a few thoughts of visiting him next summer, it is mainly because I have a friend who is moving to Italy this week to teach for the military, and I have another friend who has…

Taking The Long Cut

We were on a 28 mile bike ride last month and about a quarter of a way into it, we took the wrong turn which still got us back on the trail, but was a short cut. I was bummed - a short cut! No! I don’t like short cuts when I am biking, I want the long cuts. I want time to enjoy.

When do we ever say that about life? Usually, we want short cuts. Shortcuts mean the easy way, less work. Search for “hacks” on Pinterest - cleaning hacks, food hacks, home hacks, diy hacks, organizing hacks. Almost anything you can think of hacks. They are all there touting how you can get something done in less time, easier, faster.

The word “hacks” means to cut something, in this case you are cutting time. The slang dictionary states it is “a quick solution that solves a problem, but does not solve it particularly well, or in a particularly good way.” It is almost like cheating. Instead of doing it the correct way, the long way, you are creating a quick, shortened method.

Believe it or not, all of this bree…

My Contentment Pyramid

Are you content with your life? How do you define contentment? For some people, contentment is that moment when the stars align and everything is perfect. For others, it is reaching their dream, and others may only feel content when they are on vacation. Then again others may never feel content. They keep searching for the latest and greatest. The next thing that is going to make them feel finished, complete, content.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, I think many, many people fall in the last category a lot of the time. They don’t feel content and keep searching for what will make them feel contentment. It may be things they need to buy, places they need to go, a job they need to change, or just that one thing to get/get rid of.

Our society isn’t very good at the simple contentment of having enough and doing enough. This is a lesson I am learning on my simple life journey. I have gotten really good at feeling like I have enough things. But when it comes to my time, I struggle with th…