I remember as a young adult, working full time, raising two kids ...how the work week would amble along and I'd look forward to the weekend with eagerness and anticipation. Eager to be done with the work week, anticipating how I would spend all of my free time on the weekend. Now that I'm an empty-nester, you would think I would have even more free time on the weekend. But it sure doesn't feel that way.
I rise at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays and devote an hour or so to the paperwork end of running a household before I have to get ready for my day job 40 miles away. I leave the house at 7:00am and get home about 6:00pm. By the time I take a few minutes to sit with Yeoldfurt and exchange the details of our days, it's time to start the evening chores. All of the assorted critters expect to be fed and have fresh water, the garden will need water and a few weeds pulled, and then Yeoldfurt himself expects supper at some point too. By the time all that is done and the kitchen is cleaned up, it's usually 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. and I'm whipped. Sometimes I stay up another hour or two but the alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. regardless of whether I've had enough sleep. So, by 9:00 p.m., I'm mentally counting down in my head how much time I have left to snooze. Fortunately for me, I am one of those people that does not require a lot of sleep. I enjoy my sleep as much as anyone, but I can get by on a whole lot less than most people. Six hours a night is my average, but I am still pretty functional on only four.
When my family was younger, I mentally 'spent' the hours of the coming weekend like they were found money. By the time Thursday morning rolled around, I was mulling it over in my head ...how should I spend my days off on the weekend? Should I do this? Would it be more fun to do that? What if I did a little of this and maybe a little of that? How many ways could I slice up the clock? In those days, I would cram as many events and activities and projects into those two days as possible. By Sunday evening, I was usually exhausted and actually looking forward to the predictability of going back to my day job. But these days, I find myself wishing there was a way to slowing the clock on weekends ...down-shifting the hands of time so I could get everything done that has to be done and still have a little time to just relax.
On Fridays, I usually tell Yeoldfurt "the first thing I want to do tomorrow is sleep in!" He smiles agreeably and says, "We won't set the alarm." He's smiling because he knows that after years of getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning, one or both of us will wake up on our own by 6:00 a.m. anyway, 7:00 a.m. at the latest. That's hardly sleeping in by anyone else's standards, but it feels down right decadent to me and Yeoldfurt.
I try to run all the errands before or after work or on my lunch hours during the week, even the grocery shopping, so that Saturday is as unencumbered as possible. On Sundays, Yeoldfurt holds down the fort while I go to church. If we need things at Walmart, I'll go there before church, and if we need things from the grocery store, I'll go there on my way home. I don't think God minds me multi-tasking enroute. He knows I'm just trying to be a good steward of my time. I'm gone about 3 hours which gives Yeoldfurt ample time to get into mischief but not so much time that he gets bored with his mischief. When I get home, we have lunch and I start in on my domestic chores.
I was always a tomboy when I was a kid and I guess I still am now. I'd rather do yardwork or fencework or pretty much any kind of work instead of housework, but even I have standards in the house. So some things need to be done whether I enjoy doing them or not. Yeoldfurt is always willing to help and sometimes even just does things he sees need doing. But I have never been any good at delegating, so the majority of the housework still falls to me. Changing the sheets, washing the several loads of laundry that pile up through the week, dusting and vacuuming, scrubbing the bathrooms, wiping down the kitchen appliances ...what used to take me two hours takes me twice that long nowadays. Part of it is that I move slower, but I also seem to distract more easily. Every little thing I do seems to lead to doing something else.
The dusting is my least favorite and seems like a losing battle most of the time anyway. It doesn't help that we're in a major drought and the sand outside is the consistency of confectioners sugar. So buckets of it seem to sift into the house in a week's time. Putting the laundry away after it's folded is a close second on my Non-Favorite List. I don't mind folding, even kind of like it. But by the time I've sorted the laundry, washed the laundry, dried the laundry and folded the laundry ... I'm just ready to not deal with the laundry even one more time! Yeoldfurt helps me out there too. I get it all folded and in the baskets and he puts it up for me. What a guy!
As we get older and learn to appreciate the special moments, we tend to place a higher value on time and I think that's why it seems to go by so much faster. For most of our lives, most of us have no idea how long we will be in this world. But each day is a gift and, within each day, every one of us are blessed with exactly the same 24 hours. How we use our time is up to us. May we each be able to unfocus on the passage of time and refocus on the gift of each new day.