Sunset Dance

evergreen sunset
painting lessons on flawed palms
tempered emotions
guiding moments from my past
softly teaching me to dance

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we choose to spend our time or how we prioritize our time. A friend who recently returned from visiting family in India said that in some parts of the world, people seem to have time but not much money; in the US, he said, we have so much money but never seem to have enough time. My students forever have difficulties prioritizing their time: “I couldn’t complete the assignment. I didn’t have enough time.” I even found myself making excuses to a friend about a lack of time to write the memoir that I’m so passionate about. I blamed it on my teaching schedule. Where is the time going?

I find that when I rush, I seem to lose time. On the days where I’ve slept in late, forgot to prep anything the night before, and leave the house flustered and with three grumpy kids, I can tell it’s going to be a tough day even before 8am. Time slips through my fingers like water those days. On the mornings where everyone’s clothes and lunch and schoolwork is laid out and we’re eating at 6:30, I’m smiling into my coffee. Because I’ve somehow magicked extra time into my morning.

When I spend time in the moment, I hold it solidly in my hands, or so it seems. And I think that’s what my friend was talking about. Americans, I think, are especially notorious for rushing to fill our calendars. My email and Facebook are filled with invites to events that are months away. Summer is already starting to fill up, though the snow is still on the ground. We’re rushed to the next thing.

But we don’t have to rush to meet it. That time in between is crucial. Those little moments add up, and we can do a lot of good in them. As much as I do crave some spring warmth these days, I don’t want it to be May yet. I want to enjoy February. I have my favorite class to teach tomorrow morning, fun with my kids in the evening, and friends to visit over the weekend. I want to bask in the frigid weirdness that is late winter. Each moment that I’m truly a part of, I will enjoy more, whether it’s a conversation with a friend over coffee, pulling my kids through the slushy snow in sled, or simply finding the right word for a poem. Maybe we do have the time; we just need to learn how to use it.

14 thoughts on “Sunset Dance

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I find the final paragraph especially relatable. When I was schooling and then working in an office I definitely shared the feeling of time always flying past. Now though I mostly work from home and since the work is not constant, it’s more a feeling like I’m not sufficiently using my time or like I’m wasting good youth days. Whenever I start working on a book, the feeling is that I’m so lost in my story and days are flying when I’m not present in them by hence I’m not living in the moment more haha.
    Time is such a funny thing. But indeed, whatever way we spend it, I agree it’s better to always appreciate each day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Time is funny that way; I’ll get lost in writing when I have the chance, and an hour or two will pass. I feel guilty then, but I have to remind myself that it’s still productive even if I’m sort of in a daydream state. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had much more time when I was young, even with young children. No one was readily available–it was chance to get them on their landline phone, few even had answering machines–technology has destroyed that freedom, and it’s not coming back. So how to balance the expectations? It’s a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Technology makes it tough. It seems like we’re expected to be “always on”– not just for work but also for the kids’ school information (all online on multiple different portals) and our friends via social media. I’m trying to adapt by setting my own “off” hours that work best for my family.


  3. The way you described having everything dealt with at 630 gave me such a comfy vibe. I think this is why I like to plan my day the night before. It’s a mental rehearsal of sorts, and I get to ‘live through’ my day once, then determine what needs to be adjusted. That way, I don’t need to run around doing the first thing that comes to mind, only to realise I could’ve spent my time better.

    Liked by 1 person

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