Just recently at Casa Bruce we’ve been talking a lot about time. We’ve covered the general lack of it or our seeming inability to fit more things into the time we have available. It’s time relevant to work and play and the constant balancing act we perform as working parents.
After a recent visit from a friend who has decided not to return to work in the term that her children both attend school I’ve speculated on what life must be like with “that much time” but rapidly concluded that she would fill it. Easily.
We both talk about how much time challenges us within the workplace. Taking multi-tasking to another level I hear about hubby’s work. That big old custody clock tick-tocking down whilst other cases run to trial, victims need support, budgets need to be considered. We have an anti-work competition policy in this house. No “my day was harder than yours” type discussion. When you do the type of job my hubby does your time is filled with consequences of some of the worst types of behaviours. There isn’t much time for happiness in his workplace.
I’ve talked about how much more I want to learn (a fairly constant theme in our house), to read, to listen but simply don’t know where to squeeze it into the day. My commute to work ties in with listening to audiobooks, a relatively recent discovery which has allowed me to at least listen to some of my ‘wanted’ literature. But still there is not enough time. I want to be fitter, slimmer, stronger but where to fit in more time to exercise? I’m already combining the school run with dog walking and running or grabbing 30 minutes here and there for a spinning session. I like the idea of yoga but frankly an hour and a half to lie on the floor and stretch? I don’t have the time to give.
We want to travel more but opportunity is limited by time: school holidays and leave entitlement. Oh, and the money thing.
We’ve talked and moaned about the impact of the changes to Police pensions that may run roughshod over family retirement plans. Now hubby will have more time in the job but with increased life expectancy and decreased pension income who knows what the outcome will be? We’ve talked about what it will be like to work at the sharp end of the law at 60, what time will do to an individual’s ability to perform at the level his job requires. We’ve concluded nothing other than “it’s a bit shit” and started to look at what time is available to recoup or address pension concerns. Suddenly those years to retirement don’t seem like much at all.
And most of all we’ve talked about time with our kids. The ‘quality’ time, the ‘too much time’ (believe me, if you don’t have kids by the end of the summer holidays there can be such a thing) and the filled with parental guilt time spent lamenting whether we’re getting it right. As with most parents I know, I think we’re doing the best job we know how to do, some times right, some times not so. Coming off the back of a family weekend filled to the rafters with fun and experiences its easy to wish that our time was constantly occupied in this way but if it were I guess it would quickly become meaningless. It’s those special times when it all comes together and everybody is at their best.
And then there’s time for a quick chat with somebody. At the school gates. One of those “do you remember?” chats. About somebody I’d be over-egging to suggest was an acquaintance. He was somebody I knew by sight, father of three kids under 7. They’d had a tough time over the summer of 2011 because he had cancer. Of the nastiest kind. Well it turns out his time ran out last week.
Some things so perfectly act to put life into context. It’s such a shame that some times that context has to be provided by somebody else’s suffering and other people’s loss.