Ch.184 Time Is In My Hands
I woke up a couple days ago, looked at my calendar, and discovered no activities scheduled for the day. No friends to visit; no volunteer activities to participate in at Azura Memory Care Center; no colored pencil exercises to practice; no family gatherings to anticipate; no book club meeting (for that matter, no book – I had just completed the month’s reading assignment). No blog piece to write or publish. And, of course, nobody to care for since Pat had died six months ago.
“I sure have a lot of time on my hands,” I thought, immediately becoming anxious.
And then, a new thought. What if I said: “I have a lot of time in my hands?” Instead of time weighing heavily on top of my hands I could instead be cupping time in my palms; instead of being controlled I could take control; instead of being frightened I could be excited. As my son Joshua explained to me, I had created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Paradigm shifts are rare occurrences; they offer a person a chance to relate to the world in an entirely new manner. In this case I can embrace free time instead of dreading it. I can choose to envision a wealth of opportunities within my free time: cooking and baking; reading; walking; napping; visiting; playing with my animals; watching sports; drawing; volunteering; meditating; learning; blogging… The list of possibilities is virtually endless.
So, now let me get realistic. I can’t just shift paradigms by snapping my fingers. It isn’t that simple. I need to consciously choose to take time into my hands whenever I don’t have anything specific planned. “Time on my hands” only becomes “Time in my hands” with an act of will. However, this act of reframing my situation should become easier the more times I make that choice. Hopefully, my new paradigm will gradually become a strong habit, in which case I will have more joy and less fear in my life.
Added note, February 2023. In the last few weeks, I have been practicing imagining time being in my hands on those occasions when I’ve had unplanned blocks of hours to fill. I’ve noticed I’m less anxious than previously in these situations. I’ve also discovered that I can better handle the idea of having “nothing” to do. For someone who has always seen myself as a “doer,” this is quite amazing.