Recently I spoke to a friend about the general fast pace of life; our desire to move things on quickly and get to the gist of conversations can mean we do not allow people to express themselves at their own pace.
A natural doer who likes to see end results quickly, I have a tendency to want to get to the point. However I would like to think that my self-awareness has improved over the years and I make a conscious effort to listen to people. Generally I enjoy people watching and listening- they never fail to fascinate me. There are so many elements to us as people and we are rather complex, well I know I am!
There is much we can learn from others if only we would take the time to listen. People are more important that results, processes, success and recognition yet this is not always portrayed. People are at times ignored and overlooked whilst we are in pursuit of what we believe to be more important.
As a child and teenager, barring my grandma (no biasness of course) I found elderly people dull and completely out of touch. I look back with fondness as I remember my grandma’s stories of her childhood, her time spent in Jamaica and my mum’s character as a child. I remember the advice my grandma gave about savings, marriage and children. I remember the sweet tea she made with Nestle condensed milk and her ability to rustle up the tastiest meal from the most basic of ingredients. I remember my grandma asking me to thread several needles as her eyesight was not so sharp. In her younger years my grandma was a seamstress and my daughter appears to have inherited this creative talent. My grandma passed away 18 years ago and the memories are all I have.
I believe it is important to give a little of our time to others, however busy, frazzled or tired we are because people matter. When my children ask me the same question over and over or continuously discuss their birthday plans for months on end, I try to keep my cool and humour them. A time will come when I will no longer be the centre of their universe and they will prioritise spending time with friends rather than their parents.
Years ago I would shake my head at sayings such as;
“Dance as if nobody is looking”
“Laugh as if it will be your last”
“Do not forget to stop and smell the roses”
I guess I was a bit of a cynic, well so my mother said. I found sayings a little ‘wet behind the ears’ and too try hard.
I did not realise life really is short and generally took myself far too seriously. At times we can get caught up with what we desire, what do not yet have, what is coming next that we forget to enjoy the here and now.
The other day I spotted a beautiful robin in my back garden and took a photograph of it. The robin looked carefree whilst perched on my garden wall then it flew off never to be seen again. I enjoy peering through my kitchen window at my tree, the birds and the cats that visit. I enjoy watering the flowers in my garden and watching them bloom. I smile as I sprinkle water over the flowers whilst trying to convince myself I am ‘green fingered’. I really am not but I do like a pretty garden. I enjoy teasing my children and husband; we dance, sing and make jokes – our house is full of much laughter. Simple but pleasurable pass times.
We are not given the chance to go back and relive moments of our lives that we were too miserable, distracted and discontent to enjoy. They just become missed opportunities. Our families; immediate and extended grow up, move away and pass away. As do our friends. It is therefore important we cherish them today.
Life will never be perfect, not everything will go as planned. However there will always be hope. There will always be elements of joy and laughter that we can grab hold of.
I am of the mindset that if you want to place blue highlights in your hair, go ahead and do it. You can always re-colour if it does not grow on you. Wear those pretty heels to take photographs in at home knowing they are far too high to ever consider leaving the house in.
How do you ensure you remain in the present?
Was there a pivotal moment in your life in which you made this choice?
Life is busy – plain and simple!
I often think of how I can accommodate all I need to do and the thought of it is far worse than reality. Working full-time, running a business, raising children, being a carer and so on means there is little time to cook from scratch, clean and tidy your home, keep to appointments and stay on top of administrative tasks.
So how does one manage and stay balanced rather than stressed?
Well, one option would be to outsource. Identify if you can afford to outsource and what you are happy to outsource. Hiring a cleaner on a weekly basis will save you several hours of housework. Try to avoid the temptation of cleaning before the cleaner arrives as it defeats the object! If you have a large garden, consider hiring a gardener. If your child requires extra learning support consider paying for a tutor (particularly if maths is NOT your strong point like moi!) Freeing up your time allows you to focus on your family or perhaps a hobby with no guilt.
Previously, I would cook on a Saturday and Sunday. Now we order a take away on a Saturday and I cook on Sunday after church. When we have full-on Saturdays, I am under no pressure to squeeze in cooking. It also means I am far more relaxed and less likely to complain which my husband is pleased about!
If you would rather not outsource for your own personal reasons, why not create a housework rota for the family to ensure everyone pulls their weight. Bulk cooking is also recommended when cooking meats which can be placed in plastic containers and frozen. You could consider holding a ‘gardening party’ and invite family/friends over to give you hand. Throwing a barbeque as a thank you would go down well.
Do you outsource in order to free up your time?
Are there particular household tasks you would rather not do?