Not Enough Hours In The Day

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. … We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

Charles Dickens, in A Christmas Carol, was talking about “want” as “lack” – economic hardship, the lack of money – the absence of common necessaries and common comforts. The economy has certainly been worrisome these past few years.

But what I lack these days, and want more of, is time.

I look at the calendar, shake my head, and wonder where the last eleven months went. They zipped by in the blink of an eye. December is careening toward January.

At least I have most of my Christmas shopping done – yes, I’m one of those people.

But here it is Sunday evening and it feels as though I haven’t had a weekend.

Like many writers, I have a day job, which means that the time I spend writing must fit in around the edges of what I do to earn a living. So for years I’ve risen very early in the morning, in order to spend time at my computer before going to work. That’s about an hour and a half, five days a week.

Sometimes the momentum is just starting to click when the alarm goes off and it’s time to save whatever I’m working on and get to work. Not much time, when I think about those writers who can devote a whole morning to their works-in-progress.

Then there’s the routine of life – cooking, cleaning, laundry – all the necessary homecaring tasks, making time for get-togethers with friends, exercising body and mind. All the things that don’t get done during the week get crammed into those two days on the weekend.

Sunday evening rolls around all too soon. Where did the time go?

It’s no wonder that after my four-day weekend over Thanksgiving, I keenly felt that I need another four-day weekend. I have enough tasks to fill it.

Reclaiming time involves learning to manage it, and learning to say no. I’m getting better at both.

My “want” of time is keenly, but I also rejoice in abundance – a warm bed to sleep in, cats in my lap, a job in these tough economic times.

I do have the common necessaries and common comforts, and for that I am grateful.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice play on the word “want,” Janet. And time is my “want,” too, in both connotations of the word. Time–in too short a supply, too hurried. Every night I go to brush my teeth I think, hey I just did this! How can it be nighttime again? But most amazing to me is how you managed to do your Christmas shopping already, work your job, write your latest novel–and this plaintive blog all in good time!

  2. Nice reminder, Janet, of what we do have (well, minus the cats for me :))

    Time is one of the most egalitarian of parameters — no one has more or less than anyone else; it’s how we choose to allocate it that makes one life different from another. A coming new year is a great time to examine the choices. Do I dare?

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