“Free Time”

With my new job I have a lot more “free time” on my hands. I put that in quotes because it’s not necessarily free. I have the office hours posted outside my door, and I need to be here to keep those office hours, but many days–like today–I could sit here all day long and maybe spend about 30 minutes doing actual work. When I am caught up with my filing and notice-writing and lease-typing, there just isn’t a whole lot else I can do. I am subject to the weather and the season, meaning people don’t want to be out looking for a new apartment during winter, if it’s raining, or mid-school term. These are not the times folks move, so I really am just sitting around here reading books to my kids and cooking dinner 3 hours early, waiting for the phone to ring and biding my time till 5 o’clock when I can declare the work day officially over.

Meanwhile, I have so many ideas all the time floating about in my head. So many ideas, in fact, that it’s hard to pin any one of them down and begin working on it.

Thursday night is chess night at Stauf’s, the coffee shop I’ve been going to with my parents since elementary school. I remember learning to play chess in the back of my high school boyfriend’s parents’ full-size van. As sexy as that sounds, it is not a euphemism, and this was years before we were romantically involved. Because I am dim with anything that requires strategy, it took some time to understand the game, and I quickly became an unwilling opponent, surrendering the board in about 8 moves. Chess still excites me about as much as the thought of being in the back of a van with my high school boyfriend.

At Stauf’s on Thursday, I sat and watched for a few minutes. I cannot fathom the time spent on each move. This thought hit me:  I have let my mind become so lazy, hardly thinking at all most days. This poor muscle doesn’t see much action below the surface. I rarely sit and meditate, choosing instead to be entertained. What a frustrating thing to realize and admit.

When I think about what I want for myself these days words come to mind. Peace. Rest. Stillness. I think my mind and body are detoxing from the last phase of my life where everything about me was so frantic and messy. We have been living our lives always focused on the next steps, on things years away from us. I think this is one reason I have been a crazy wreck: I am no good at chess. My mind cannot work like that, making moves that far into the future. I can realistically only handle what is going on at the moment.

I hope to learn to be at peace in these moments of “free time.” I hope to give my brain some good things to work through and allow myself to think and grow. I hope I can let myself rest and find new energy for all my ideas so that I can release them into the world, happy with them and proud of them.

What say you? What is going on in your brain these days? What are you working on or creating? Have you found ways to have peace and rest?

  1. Grace said:

    Hmm. Now that one hit close to home.
    In many ways, I am in a similar place of having many, many ideas floating about, but little time to really focus on them, develop them, or act on them. I have found I am a much happier person when I have some kind of creative outlet though, so I have been trying to make time to sew a bit, or write a few lines in my journal. This morning I set out with the intention to be a happy, relaxed mom today, because Tuesdays are usually hectic and stressful, and I inevitably snap at somebody…not pretty. And don’t you know…today went so much better than usual. It was a good day. I think if I can purposefully create more peace in my life like that, then I’ll have more room to pursue some these random ideas….

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      This is so good, Grace! It seems like it’s all cyclical and when one thing is off balance, everything falls apart. My journal is mostly looking like “to-do” lists these days…I’m trying to store up my good ideas for those rare moments I have to actually dwell on them. I read recently what someone wrote about how he spends his time: “Am I going to create, or am I going to react?” He holds his time up to that measure, and it helps him decide to move forward and create rather than simply sit back and absorb and waste too much time. I like that.

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