Creating Your Own Time & Context
Posted on October 29, 2021
The other night, as I was doing our usual evening dinner and homework routine, Collin says, “Baba you’re always so serious, why don’t you sit next to me and take a look at my lego commercials.” (These are the lego commercials at the end of each instruction manual. He obv loves this activity and it relaxes him).
I was a little thrown off but it made me laugh so I joined him on the couch. “I am pretty serious.” I thought to myself.
Then another night… as I was doing Collin’s bedtime routine, I was in a rush and trying to get Collin to brush his teeth. Surprisingly, he was totally chill and it wasn’t frustrating at all. Then, Collin stopped me and said, “Baba I know you’re not mad right now but when you talk fast and use your deep voice, it feels like I’m in trouble.”
“Is that how I sounded??” I asked. “YES,” he said.
Indeed, these times are stressful and hectic. I’m sure this is how I’ve been showing up in general. I feel fortunate (and accountable) because I have such an observant, empathetic little one that is watching my every move and… pretty much tells me how it is.
Since the pandemic, stress and so many things are off the charts!! From COVID and late stage capitalism to basic social and emotional issues at in-person school, there are so many things.
On top of all that, I have a staggering amount of (zoom) meetings stacked on top of each other with very little slack and time to breathe, think and reflect.
So I did a little comparison of how many meetings I had 3 years ago. This is not scientific but definitely eye opening (or maybe obvious).
For example, last week I had 30 meetings. I had very little travel except walking to the bathroom and to Collin’s school. The meetings were shorter and mostly online. There was a playdate, dentist appointment, and swim class for Collin.
3 years ago in 2018, I had one trip to Florida, a lot of commute hours and time on the plane. I had 15 meetings, which were longer. I had lunch and lunch meetings (in-person!). I also had 1 teeth cleaning, a doctors visit, and 2 playdates for Collin.
I thought I was busy before but it was a different kind of busy. Nowadays I literally do not create enough space to think, process and breathe. Again this is not scientific but think everyone should do their own comparison.
SO what does this mean? I had an OG once tell me, “Time is a social construct. You need to create your own context.” I didn’t get it at the time but I get it now. We have agency and choice on how we spend our time.
Here are 3 things I’m gonna do to create my own time and context:
Be present: Last week, swim class was canceled and typically I’d immediately schedule meetings or do work. This time, I chose to spend the afternoon with Collin, even if it was just building legos together.
Get back to my joy: I injured my knee a few months ago (from biking) but I haven’t given up. Biking was one of the few solo (and group) activities I could be with my thoughts. It was my meditation and medicine. I’ve been doing physical therapy and treating myself. I’m proud that i’ve been back in the saddle this month!
Transform our time together: The elephant in the room is that I have waaaaaay more time together with the fam but it is often poorly used. How do we transform our time together? Mychi has been good about quality time like mini-day trips like apple picking, beach days, etc.
Finally, I just need to take my own advice. My health is better but I’m not out of the woods. I need to stay focused and vigilant on my purpose. There is a balance of putting out fires and looking beyond the horizon. As Sun Tzu said in Art of War, there are no constant conditions so we need to make time to be nimble and purposeful. This can and should happen simultaneously but most importantly we have a choice to make it happen.