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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lifestyle: Taking Your Time

A few recent conversations have brought the subject of technology and lifestyle to mind lately. The more I see people running around trying to get more and more and more done, the more I am reminded of how much life we are missing out on by being in such a huge hurry all the time.

I've written before about how America's stress and anxiety are exacerbated by our frenetic lifestyle, and this very fact seems to be proven to me over and over again. We use our smart phones to tell us where to go, how to get there, we spend our days cooped up behind computers and we rarely make any real human connections anymore, because we are expected to make so many things happen within the confines of a twenty-four hour day.

In a society that values rushing everywhere, taking your time can seem like a luxury that very few can afford. But sometimes you have to set aside your own time and refuse to be's the only way to get a moment to yourself!

The first step in reclaiming your time is often the most difficult:

1) Don't over-commit.

When society expects you to have superhuman capabilities, you start to expect the same of yourself. If you can't accomplish an absurd amount of tasks in a tiny span of time, you've somehow failed. But this is, of course, not a sustainable way to live. Make sure that you have time to enjoy the people around you, to enrich yourself and your life. Don't over-commit, just take on what you can handle, and if you take on too much, don't be afraid to delegate some of that responsibility to another.

2) Spread Responsibility.

Each family or group works differently, but a method that I've seen prove effective time and time again was that of assigning certain responsibilities to specific family/group members. You can have a rotating schedule or one person can always be in charge of a certain task, but this will keep one person from being given an unfair load of duties. Running a household is too much job for one person, unless that's their sole occupation.

3) Take Time for Yourself.

I know that taking time for yourself can seem like a bit of an impossibility in today's world. I recommend finding something that works with your current routine, such as cooking, that can also serve as a creative outlet. Cooking has worked well for me, but I also use writing as an outlet (as well as work!) and try to get out and enjoy nature whenever possible. Leave room in your life for spontaneity, and do things to help you make connections with other people, and grow as a person.

There are lots of little things you can do: visit the Farmers Market instead of the grocery store. Take a class or just attend some community events or concerts. Make an effort to pursue an area of interest and meet other people who are interested in similar pursuits.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is a cliche....but a good one. That would be that life is most certainly in the journey...moreso than the destination. It is the journey that shows us who we are, and it is the journey that gives us memories and experiences that we both cherish and learn from. Enjoy your journey, don't try to ignore it...and life will be infinitely more fulfilling.

The Calm Cook

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