Irony of Finding TIme

Irony of Finding TIme

I've explained in the last post how important it was that the COVID lockdown created time for me to really invest in my book, Smile Your Last Breath Away. I thought before writing this blog post that the time it saved me was from work, and that was partially true but after thinking about it, work didn't stop. In some aspects work picked up for most of us, then for others who lost their jobs, it meant spending time trying to figure out how to get another job or what to do next. In all of these instances, the thought that COVID created space and time is ironic. But I think COVID's biggest contribution was that all the things we normally would've done to take up our free time were no longer possible. COVID gave me more time by preventing me from being able to choose to spend it on things other than the book.

In lockdown, we couldn't do anything. We couldn't go out with our friends, we couldn't go get dinner with them. We couldn't go to coffee shops or do activities that we enjoyed and had been able to do our entire life. On any normal day before lockdown (and continues now), there's always a nagging thought a few steps away that encompasses all versions of: 'What are you going to do tonight? Let's go work out. Let's watch a show. Why don't we go get a drink? You had a long day, let's just relax.' Subconsciously, these thoughts are exhausting.

It's that same variant of thought that doesn't let you sleep in on vacation because 'There's so much to see.' It's the reason we feel so comfortable taking a nap, staying in, or watching a movie on a rainy day because 'There's not much else to do.' I LOVE when it rains for these reasons. It's a different level of relaxation. It's the same shade of relaxation when you're suspended in life between the end of the journey and the finish line. That space between your last final and graduation -- the journey is over but you're not at the finish line yet.

I need to figure out how to create this space in my life without needing it to rain. I'm writing this in Colorado Springs, on a trip down memory lane at the Air Force Academy. I'm only here for a few days and it's exhausting because there are all these things I feel I need to see or do, but didn't I come here to relax?

I grew up going to our cattle ranch about an hour from Katy, where I went to school during the week. Going out to the ranch as a kid was amazing because there were unlimited things to do. We could whittle sticks, drive the go-cart, or go fishing. Then as I aged, there wasn't anything to do, everything I wanted to do was in the city, like going to parties.

My parents always said the ranch was relaxing, but there was always something to do, trim trees, get rid of weeds, cut the grass, work on the fence or the squeaky door. But somehow it was relaxing. And now I understand that there will always be things to work on at the ranch and because of that, you don't necessarily have to do any of them. It creates a space that gives you automatic excuses to do nothing or do everything. And not being in the city, you can't go down the street to grab a drink or get coffee or go to the office or get your oil changed. Going to the ranch forces our minds to shut up about how to spend our time because we limit our options.

So amongst the many things COVID taught me, I need to find a way to create that space in my life, even when I'm in the city or surrounded by friends. The second is that it made me realize that we have time and we either don't normally prioritize that time on the things we want to accomplish or we don't realize we had time at all because we filled it before it became available. I know that without COVID this book would have happened, it would've just taken exponentially longer to finally come together.

It feels like finding time is difficult but I forget that I choose how to spend my free time. It feels like I'm working up a hill to do the things I want to do. I feel like Sisyphus, rolling a boulder up a hill every day. But Zeus didn't make me do this, I'm doing it to myself.

See you in two weeks.

'Til Our Last Breath,

James Kiesewetter

Click here for more information on James’ book Smile Your Last Breath Away
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