Sunday, July 31, 2011

Time To Breathe

I come from a military family. The military is all about promptness. If you are a soldier and you are supposed to be somewhere at 0500 hours, you darn well better be there or there would be consequences. My father took that promptness habit very seriously. That means that if we were supposed to be somewhere at ten in the morning, we were there a half hour early. I was always the last one ready to go. I hated having to sit around and wait for anything, and I would do everything I could to delay. I was a kid with no intention of watching the clock, ever.

My parents were determined, however. As a result of their endeavors, I have become a bit of a clock-watcher. I always wear a watch so I know what time it is and how much time I have to be where ever I am supposed to be. I also always feel like I am rushing from one place to another. That rushed, stressed feeling brings to mind a song I heard a long time ago, by Alabama. (Don't judge me--I like the old country)

I'm in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life's no fun.
All I really gotta do is live and die,
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why.


I'll bet that most of you have this Pink Floyd song in your head!

Run, rabbit Run
Dig that hole, catch the sun
When at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.


Even though I work in education, I don't usually have my entire summer off like teachers do. I usually end up with days scheduled here and there throughout, so that I work a couple of days a week. I never really feel like I have a break, because I don't have time to get used to being off of work. Add to that our 'summer' hours, which are from 7:30am to 5:00 Mondays through Thursdays, and it makes everything worse.

This summer, I had the entire month of July off. I arranged all the days that I had to work in June, and I don't have to be back at work until August 8th. I worried about this time off. I thought, what is a clock-watcher like me to do with all that unscheduled time? How will I be able to let go and just relax until it is time to return to work?

It was suspiciously easy.

I took off my watch. I put my calendar away. I haven't looked at either of them until recently, when I discovered that my watch battery had expired. I suppose that it died of loneliness, since I unceremoniously dumped it on the counter in the bathroom. I lost all feel of time passing. Only when I happened to glance at the wall clock would I notice what time it was. It was kind of liberating, to lose awareness of the number of hours in the day.

My family did just fine without me to remind them of events or the time. We left when we wanted and since I didn't care what time we got to our destination, I wasn't screaming at anyone to hurry. I wasn't hurrying myself along, either. It was miraculous how unchained I felt!

I slept late when I wanted.

I went to bed when I wanted.

I read all day long on a couple of occasions. I've actually lost count of the number of books I was finally able to read.

I worked on my beading and jewelry making.

I surfed the web, and I blogged.

And most importantly, I spent time with my family. We went on two mini-vacations together. We went to the movies together. We played Rock Band. We played Lego Batman and Robin. We even went swimming, because I finally felt relaxed enough that I could put on a swim suit and get in the pool with my boy. I actually swam across the pool a couple of times! It has been glorious to be cut loose from those things that make me feel tied up and cornered. My time off has been much more relaxing this summer, and I've been able to breathe.

But it will soon be August 8th, and I will have to reattach myself to the time. It is necessary for work--I have to be on time to collect a paycheck, and other people count on me to be on time to appointments, meetings, staffings, observations, etc.
There's a reason they call it the "Grind". Can I keep this feeling of summer, this feeling of relaxation?

Probably not.

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