How does minimalism apply to time in our lives?
One of my biggest pet peeves in life is feeling like I am constantly racing the clock. I’m sure you can relate. Alarm, rise, shower, eat, coffee, shoes on, out the door, commute to work, workworkwork, commute, run errands, commute, come home, cook dinner, try to relax, catch up with your personal stuff, tryandgetreadyforbeddoitalloveragaintomorrow.
Where in your week do you find time to do things for you, or to relax and regroup each day so that you can start the next one refreshed and clear minded? Probably nowhere, right? You barely have time to work and get all your errands taken care of, not to mention trying to prepare quality meals and get the laundry done, shower and try to get a decent night’s sleep. Maybe you don’t even get a decent night’s sleep until the weekend. Maybe you’ve sacrificed a proper amount of sleep because you seem to think you can function just fine on less? Let me tell you: sleep is the one area minimalism does not apply. Less is not more in the way of rest time. Nada.
For the last few years I’ve felt an ever increasing urge to race that clock. Everywhere I walk – I speed walk. Every task I do – I do it quickly. I become agitated by the fact that everyone is dragging their ass during rush hour through the subways, the street cars, and on the sidewalks. I find myself wondering do you have nowhere to be!? Do you have nothing to do?!
My weekends are even worse. I wake up early as not to waste my precious ‘free time’, and then painstakingly try to map out the 48 hour period with tasks that both fill the category of necessary (such as laundry), and the category of funstuffs (such as not laundry). What the hell is ‘free time’?! Time is not free vs. stolen from you. Time just is as it is. It is what we make it. All day, every single day, in every minute; it is what we make it. There is no free time vs. ball-and-chain time. This is a concept we’ve accepted in our minds. We accepted it when we decided that our employer owns us. That so long as we’re being paid our time is not ours.
This is a myth.
I race home from the work day and try to cram as much as possible into what’s left of the evening so that I can ‘make the most’ of my time. I’m ever grasping at something that isn’t there. Intangible. Attempting (and failing miserably) to control the one thing we cannot: time.
Time will escape you, always. You cannot catch it. It is the one thing you cannot speed, slow, or alter in any way. The only power we have in time is to make it of substance. The error I’ve made in my attempts to make the most of it; is that I’ve convinced myself ‘making the most of it’ means filling it with as much shit as possible. That somehow filling time with stuff means you’ve accomplished something.
What if applying minimalism to time means that you slow down? That you do less? That you prioritize activities and tasks in your life so that you can stop to smell the roses? What if applying minimalism to time means that you remove unwanted stress and bustle in your life by simply fighting the urge to race the clock?
For what are you in such a hurry?
Perhaps you can leave the house 15 minutes earlier than usual, and take your time walking down the crowded sidewalk on your way to work. Perhaps you find a new coffee joint along the way and make a routine of stopping for a cup of joe on your way, I know that’s one of my favourite ways to enjoy a moment of appreciation before my workday starts. Perhaps you’re able to prioritize your job tasks and eliminate or delegate something off of your plate each week. Perhaps you can prepare a larger portion of dinner tonight and eat the same thing for more than one night, so that you aren’t cooking every day when you come home. Perhaps you don’t need to run that last errand right now, today. Perhaps your kids don’t need to participate in forty six different extracurricular activities. Perhaps it would be good for them to learn to choose, even if it means making mistakes and learning from them. Perhaps you don’t need to mindlessly scroll through social media or read twelve different articles on your subway commute each day. Perhaps your brain could do less, and your physical body could do less, in each minute of your day.
Perhaps each moment could be slower, and each action intentional. Perhaps you should stop cramming.
Perhaps you should do less.
Bare Necessity Writer