Time is a construct

I had grand plans for a productive winter break, as I rested from a grueling (and rewarding) semester, and felt I finally had time to turn my attention to all the things that lay waiting while I gave student feedback, taught classes, found information and resources for students, and answered emails.

All the things that were waiting as I lost track of the time I did have available, scrolling social media or rewatching comfort TV and movies, or just laying in bed and willing myself to get up and move.

I had so many writing projects and workshops and goals that I just didn’t get to while I was trying to recover from burnout and labor exploitation while still partially in the circumstances that caused that burnout in the first place.

So when winter break hit, I told myself “This is my time! I can get it all done before the new semester starts!”

And of course I didn’t.

And that’s okay.

Instead, I slept through my alarms, my body refusing to wake up when it wasn’t ready.

I stayed up late to enjoy the night quiet because my body and mind find happiness in being up with the stars.

I read so many books.

I wrote in my journal.

I practiced meditation and indulged in long yoga nidra sessions.

I did some asana practice. I took long walks and did a little running.

I spent time with friends and mailed packages to faraway loves.

I cleaned my office space, sorting out things that needed to be filed and thrown away.

I stressed over the health of my sweet cat, Mabel. I think she’s okay, but she’s been moody and it worried me.

I cried from feelings of loneliness and isolation and fear for my future.

I cried from old wounds that never really healed and let myself grieve parts of my life I have left behind.

I accepted that some of that grief will always be with me; some of those wounds will always be tender.

And now as I look forward to the next year, and brace myself for the constant discussions of resolutions and weight loss and “getting it right” I am asking myself how to stay rooted in the calm I found in letting be.

How to stay okay with not getting the checklist finished? How to stay okay with carrying grief and feeling old wounds? How to stay with myself instead of distracting and numbing?

I don’t have the answer, really, beyond carrying the truth that time is a construct and our capitalistic society has led us to stress it much more than we should.

Yes, there are things that need to be done, things that have time limits, and we need some kind of structure to our days to move and function with others.

Those days could be structured more gently. We could put less in our days. We could look at our goals and dreams as something we just move closer to, instead of feeling like we have to make it this month or this year, or even this lifetime.

Time is a pattern we imposed on the world to make sense of it. It’s a useful tool.

Use it in a way that serves you.

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