Tag Archives: time

T – Time Management: Quotes A-Z Challenge.

“The common man is not concerned about the passage

of time, the man of talent is driven by it.”

Schopenhauer

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for writers and creatives.

I’m currently immersed in researching and writing a collection of biographical short stories ranging along the continuum between fiction and non-fiction. I thought this series of motivational quotes could be a great help to myself and other writers in the same boat who are busting a gut to get that book project done and dusted. However, contrary to my expectations, I’ve been going gang busters on the book and have needed more of a motivational cattle prod to get through the A to Z Challenge…even though I’m finding working on these quotes very informative.

Today, we’re catching up a little and finally reaching the letter T. For today’s quote, I’ve decided to go with time and in particular my dreaded nemesis… Time Management.

I’m addressing time management because so much of what it takes to get that 80,000 word book into print has nothing to do with sticking your head in the clouds and having your feet anywhere but planted on the earth. Yet, for those of us who are creative and very right-brained, dealing with the so-called business side of writing can be a struggle and something we avoid like the plague. Yet, when so many writers are having to juggle paid work, family commitments and the realities of survival, time management is particularly important. It’s the closest we can get to squeezing more hours into a day.

Dealing with distractions is a huge challenge for me. I’m married with two teenage kids, three dogs and we all live life to the full what with work, Church, school. My husband and son are both full on into sailing and our daughter dances upwards of 10 hours per week and has eisteddfods, performances and will be in the school production of Grease. Our son is now a Venturer in Scouts and will be performing in their Gang Show production. Yet, I’ve hunkered down researching and writing this book trying to understand what it’s like to live in any other era but my own. When I put it like this, writing my book seems madness, but most dreams do until they become reality. I need to get this book under my belt. Become a real writer instead of just a gunna-be.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

Benjamin Franklin

However, that all comes at a cost. After all, how on earth do you get those 80,000 plus words into print and manage to do it all? Be more than a face staring at a screen and all your family ever sees is the top of your head? Don’t even talk about friends! What are they? That’s the downside of being 100% focused on what truly is a massive goal.

Rosie and ball

Speaking of distractions, a mangled tennis ball has just been deposited on my keyboard and Miss Rosie Border Collie x Kelpie dog and her brother, Zac, are waiting. Two pairs of eyes, ears cocked waiting and occasionally editing as the ball strikes the keys.

It’s hard to concentrate.

It’s hard to know if anything is making sense anymore. I’ve been working on the book all day. Managed to walk the dog but still have a ballet shoe to sew up for tomorrow’s dance eisteddfod. I’m needing to divide myself up into such small portions that I’m not sure what’s left when the book demands so much. Can’t the dog just throw the ball to herself?

Are these questions you have also asked yourself somewhere along the way?

How do you find juggling writing your book with the demands of everyday life? Do you have any tips for success or simply surviving til the end? I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure there are many more like me. Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments below.

Best wishes & Good luck,

Rowena

 

Short-Sighted Time.

If you’re not short-sighted, then no doubt you’ve already worked out that my clock radio is upside down.

However, to be perfectly honest with you, it took awhile for me to work it out. That’s because I’m so short-sighted without my glasses, that I can’t even see the numbers at all. The screen is blank.

As for how my clock radio ended lying belly up like this, the answer is simple. I couldn’t sleep and found the light from the LCD screen annoying. So, I pushed the clock out of the way in the dark, and it could well have taken a swan dive off the back of the chest of drawers and that’s probably how it ended up upside down.

Why it stayed upside down and undisturbed is a bit more complicated. My only defense is that when you’re as blind as a bat without your glasses, it doesn’t really matter as long as the alarm goes off. My alarm just happens to be my husband, followed by the two dogs who he sends in to wake me up with this enthusiastic: “Where’s Mum?” Bilbo is so proud of himself for finding me too. Lady may turn up eventually in which case, she’s usually madly wagging her tail.

The other possibility is that I’m some kind of topsy turvy character out of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree who likes walking upside down on their hands.

Something tells me that short-sightedness is the better explanation.

xx Rowena

PS With my alarm clock upside down, chances are that my glasses have fallen on the floor and it can be very humbling feeling the floor with my fingertips trying to find them!

Everyone’s clock runs out…eventually.

This post is a great take on the transience of life and the ticking bomb which is our human body. If you are looking for a read that will get you thinking, you’ll enjoy this xx Rowena

Rethinking Life

clock-1205634__340

Picture from Pixabay

I think we’re a lot like watches…we have delicate parts that need to work together, if we are to run properly.  If one part wears out, we don’t keep proper time.  No matter how well we care for our watches, something always goes wrong.  Parts are replaced and things run smoothly until the next time.  Each second ticks away, adding up to minutes and hours, months and years.  Newer models come along, models with fewer movable parts, but they seem short lived and are replaced more frequently.

Once our watches start losing time, we might be surprised to find they no longer make the parts needed to fix the problem.  And when someone tries to sell us a new watch we frown because we simply want the watch we already have, to keep running.  Somewhere in our minds we wonder why things wear out, instead of just…

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Train Trip: Surry Hills to Gore Hill, Sydney.

A train trip there, requires a train trip home.

To read about the journey there, click here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/me-myself-i-writing-a-complex-character-profile/

However, I’m not returning home quite yet. I am yet to get to my doctor’s appointment at Royal North Shore Hospital, which was actually the reason for my trip. Despite star billing, Surry Hills was a detour, not the destination. So typical of me that I get so caught up in the detour, that I almost forget the main event.

There I was wandering along Crown Street, camera round my neck practically photographing anything at all, as though I had somehow transcended time. Meandering in and out of shops and still fully intending to stop off at the Vegan Mary Cafe for my much anticipated Coconut Chai Latte. Popping into the Salvo Store buying a bride doll for my daughter, huge turquoise, chenille bedspread (only $3.00…what a bargain!) and a recipe book from the 1st Series of Masterchef.

Turning into Albion Street, I’m now lugging a huge Ikea bag in addition to my bulky camera gear and writing journals. I look like I’ve been away for a week, not simply on a day trip. That said, how many middle-aged women go away for a week with a bride doll? Not many but I can sort of get away with that. After all, she’s a gift for my daughter.

I knew the sands had been flowing through the hour glass. That it was time for a much needed reality check.

What’s the time Mr Wolf?

Checked my diary. Checked my watch. Yikes!! 3.00 had become 2.30 and suddenly I had 45 minutes to walk to Central, catch a train and lug myself up Gore Hill to the hospital. As much as I love that John Lennon quote: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” somehow I don’t think the Gastro Specialist would appreciate that. He’d much rather:

“I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date. No time to say “Hello.” Goodbye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”
– Alice in wonderland

Not for the first time, I wished I was Superwoman and could leap tall buildings in a single bound and suddenly get from Surry Hills to Gore Hill as the crow flies, instead of relying on the vagaries of public transport.

Moreover, although Gore Hill mightn’t be Everest, it must be close. I’ve had several near-death experiences tackling that hill heading to appointments and you’ve really got to wonder who decided sick people needed to become mountain climbers to access treatment?!

It wasn’t me.

Gum trees in Albion Street.

Gum trees in Albion Street.

So there I am running incredibly late for an appointment, which I’ve had to reschedule 3 times and I really need to get the results of the endoscopy I had a few months ago and yet I’m still in Surry Hills. I still have my camera and there is just too much temptation to ignore. I’m pulling and tugging at the zipper on my camera bag almost ripping the damn thing open to prise out the camera in my desperate haste. I’ve spotted what must be some kind of Supermodel gum tree with incredible white branches soaring upwards into the deep azure sky. The branches almost appeared to be dancing and I was captivated. Mesmerised. Photo opportunity!!! It was like a siren in my head eeeore eeore.

Time stood still for those few precious moments. At least, it did for me!

“I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date. No time to say “Hello.” Goodbye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”
– Alice in wonderland

Humph! I did mention in my previous post that I am both the protagonist and antagonist in my story and as this case in point illustrates so well, I have a brilliant aim when it comes to shooting myself in the foot!

Anyway, my justification for such apparent procrastination was that the doctor kept me waiting for 1.5 hours for my last appointment and is more than likely going to be late again. Being quite the egalitarian, I also feel that if the doctor can run late, so can I. The door swings both ways.

The Clock Tower at Central Station, viewed from Surry Hills.

The Clock Tower at Central Station, viewed from Surry Hills.

Fortunately, I manage to get to Central Station in record time and see that a train arrives in 4 minutes but I’ve still got to get down the concourse, up the stairs and somehow still be breathing. I don’t know how I managed to pull it off but I make it with a minute to spare and as I collapse into my seat feeling my heart about to burst through my chest, I notice an elderly lady peering into my bag…the doll. She’s not the only one looking either. There are at least 8 sets of eyes staring in there. Her golden hair is flowing over the edge of the bag and her eyes are closed. She’s so life-like and with her eyes shut, she almost looks dead. Like I’m carrying a small, dead bride in my bag. Call the cops.

The bride doll on the train.

The bride doll on the train.

“She’s for my daughter,” I explain.

That seems to satisfy the curious glances. I’m not some crazed mad woman, after all.

Well, I am but they just don’t know it yet.

The Doll Bride.

The Doll Bride.

Anyway, not that I’m on the homeward journey, I need to get back to thinking about character development and getting back to the “book project”. Time to put my ruminations about Surry Hills on hold, as we return to working on character…the protagonist, antagonist….myself.

Soon the train is clattering over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, not that I notice. My heart’s still racing!

I arrive at St Leonard’s Station with just ten minutes to spare. That’s almost possible but I’m not the world’s fastest walker. Indeed, I have a walking stick and it’s more likely to take half an hour. I’m starting to think about catching a taxi but there isn’t a taxi in sight. I’m heading up the hill and spot what could be a shortcut and in my desperation, decide to give it a go. This path doesn’t seem quite so steep and might just save me from a heart attack and a quadruple bypass.

However, this shortcut takes me via a building and if you know anything about how they design hospital buildings, it’s to maximise confusion. They’re always such a maze. Fortunately I see a hospital volunteer I know and she kindly points me to the lift and I’m out. A lift strikes me as a great alternative to climbing Everest. Perhaps this detour wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I was lost but now I’m found but already late.

Onwards and upwards.

Phew! I arrived and there’s a queue at reception.

That’s why I’m late.

xx Rowena

Grow Slow…Happy Birthday Miss 9!

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy.

Paul Simon : The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Last night, as I kissed our daughter goodnight, she said: “This is my last night of being eight.” She was overjoyed!! She’s one of the youngest in her year at school and it’s no secret she gets a bit cheesed off that it takes eternity for her birthday to come round each year. There’s only a couple of months and the frustrating tail-chasing game starts all over again. Like all kids, she wants to grow up too quick. Our “little Miss” is 9 going on about 15 especially when she struts around the house in her fancy silver high heels, which almost fit her now. It wasn’t that long ago that I’d bought them from the charity shop for dress ups!!

That said, she is still a little girl and boys are still “yuck”…thank goodness!!

Im not sure how long that’s going to last with her brother who turns 11 in less than a fortnight and heads off to High School next year. I have no illusions about what all of that means. However, I feel much better prepared for the teenage years than I was for early childhood. At least, I can remember what it was like to be a teenager and I’m sure it was only yesterday.

Family Photo Back at Home.

Family Photo Back at Home 9 long years ago.

As we celebrate another round of birthdays and I’m forced to think about the passage of time yet again, I am reminded of time’s  cruel tricks. Since all other theories and explanations have failed, I’ve concluded there’s some kind of horrid, malevolent watch matcher lurking somewhere way up in the sky who keeps tinkering with the cogs and speeding things up. Don’t you agree?

I mean…Surely time couldn’t move that fast unless it was taking performance enhancing drugs and even then we’re talking about lethally high doses.

Someone or indeed, something, is doing an awful lot of tinkering with the gears up there. That’s the only way I can explain how time goes really fast when you want it to go slow and conversely barely seems to move at all, when you really want it to speed up like while you’re waiting in a supermarket queue and the person in front of you with enough food to feed an entire army can’t remember their pin and you’re running late and your child is standing on a street corner after dark in their ballet leotard and it’s cold and you don’t know what sort of creeps are hanging around.

Time always goes agonisingly slow then!!!

Ever the philosopher, me at around 6 months.

h Ever the philosopher, me at around 6 months.

Once upon a birthday, my grandparents used to sing me “Happy Birthday” on the phone and my grandmother would tell me year after year, about when they “got the phone call” and my father told them they had a grand-daughter and they’d put her in a warmer. She always left out all the details such as how I was facing sunny side up and things had been touch and go. That THAT phone call wasn’t just about “it’s a girl”. It was a serious answer to prayer and their daughter and grand-daughter had made it through a rather perilous journey called birth.

You forget that your baby is hopefully crying the first time you see them.

You forget that your baby is hopefully crying the first time you see them.

There were no life or death dramas when our daughter was born, aside from when Big Brother, the inimitable “Little Man”, decided to climb up on the hospital bed to have a cuddle with Mum and activated the  emergency switch. That immediately and brutally flung the head of the bed straight down and in the process, the drip stand fell down and bumped Miss on the head. Miss ended up with a bruise on her forehead and was sent off to the Special Care Nursery for observation. A storm in a teacup but we still stir Mister about that. It’s not his only tale. The antics of “Little Man” are legendary but largely just involve a healthy curiosity combined with high speed.

Getting back to our daughter’s arrival…

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies, my love
To the dark and the endless skies

Roberta Flack (a romantic song but so apt)

Little Miss a few days old.

Little Miss a few days old.

The other thing, I remember, of course, is the very first moment I saw her.  She was much smaller than I’d expected and only weighed 2.93 kg and was an average length of 49cm. She was exceptionally petite and I guess given that I’m quite tall myself (174cm or 5 ft 10″), I was a little surprised. She was so tiny that we needed to get her baby-pink, miniscule 0000 Bond Suits outfits from the Special Care Nursery where they were kept nice and warm for the premmie babies. My Mum was sent to buy some micro-clothes for when we went home.

Our Gorgeous Little Rainbow Fairy Almost Aged 5 and About to Start School.

Our Gorgeous Little Rainbow Fairy Almost Aged 5 and About to Start School.

I know I’ve mentioned time before but tell me, where does time go? I know lines like that are cliched and a road too well-traveled for a seasoned writer and yet, this great mystery still hasn’t been explained. Not all time travels at the same rate and where my daughter’s concerned, time has fast-forwarded faster than the speed of light!!

Miss on her first day of school.

Miss on her first day of school.

After all, I could have sworn she wasn’t born that long ago and she’s only just started school. Yet, somehow she’s migrated from infants into primary and is now well, perhaps not towering over all of the new kindergarten kids but has certainly moved on. I feel like I’ve been hit by a flying brick and I’m lost, almost in a trance or in a dream, while everything flies past me.

I’m so confused!!! (Remember John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back Cotter? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29BoqCMRBFk)

I hope she’s had a Happy Birthday. She opened her presents before school and as it turned out, the local radio station was at school this morning and they wished her Happy Birthday on air…much cooler than on Mummy’s blog!!

Miss celebrates her birthday with SeaFM Radio Host Kristi before school.

Miss celebrates her birthday with SeaFM Radio Host Kristi before school.

She took the most amateur-looking Cake Pops to school for her class. I can’t believe I let her talk me into making those because, as my mother advised me, you never make something new for a special occasion and when I’ve broken that Golden Rule, I’ve regretted it. As we all know, regret with family birthday cakes is usually accompanied by nerve crushing angst, tears and if you’re really wound up…hurling the cake across the room.

That is, if the dog hasn’t eaten the cake first. I have very bad memories of a food-thieving, greedy Old English Sheepdog called Rufus being caught in the act. That dog used to steal food and swallow it plastic bag and all. Eventually, we’d find the evidence deposited on the back lawn!!

I don’t know how that dog survived for so long!

Happy Birthday Miss!

Happy Birthday Miss!

Instead of having a special birthday dinner tonight, the kids were off to Cubs and Scouts. As we still haven’t sorted out the details of either of the kids’ birthday parties yet, this was opportune as a few of their friends were there. That meant making a batch of chocolate cupcakes and huge boxes of chips for tonight’s celebration. Miss told the lady at the checkout that: “Scouts love junk food and we purchased supplies. What a great ambassador!

Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes for Scouts.

Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes for Scouts.

There’s a world of quotes which I could pass onto my daughter but here are a couple from AA Milne’s: Winnie The Pooh.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A.A. Milne
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

I also like this one from Stephen Fry:

“We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I’m going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
Stephen Fry

Happy Birthday Precious Miss!

May all of your dreams come true..,in time. I’d like you to grow up before you open that dream fashion business in Paris. Climb some trees. Make clothes for your dolls and film them with your iPad. Ride your bike. Walk the dogs and wear your hair in plaits with rainbow nails and silver high heels, which are still too big and keep baking glittery cakes and drawing precious pictures just for fun.

As much as you yearn to grow up, you can’t rewind time. It only speeds up.

You might not appreciate it it now but there’s real beauty in growing slow.

Love & Blessings!

Rowena & Mummy

Me & My Girl

Me & My Girl

PS A week after Mister’s birthday sitting at Palm Beach, I stumbled across this song Forever Young by Rod Stewart, which I wanted to send to Miss as a post birthday present: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgiLWNgpXiQ

Our Border Collie Bilbo out on the mud flats. No doubt he is looking for his tennis ball. He doesn't care about the view and certainly tries to avoid the water.

The Thinker: Our Border Collie Bilbo out walking at low tide.

I AM FOREVER walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain
Forever.

Kahlil Gibran.

Poem: Surfing in the Hour Glass

 

Sometimes,

I wonder

whether surfers live forever,

eternally riding the golden wave…

caught up

in some kind of perpetual motion,

the constant, rhythmic  rolling of the sea?

I don’t know.

Summer, autumn, winter and spring

and even when the ocean’s wild with rage,

they’re always surfing.

Season after season,

year after year,

merging into an eternal wave.

Timeless,

iconic,

they’re perched

on the very edge of the world…

wave,

after wave

after wave,

thirsting for the big one.

I’m sure the very same surfers

were here last year

and even decades past.

They all look pretty much the same.

Dream the same dreams

although the girls are also out there now

no longer content just watching

the iron men from the beach.

They also want a piece of the action!

The car park has also changed.

Most of the kombis have rusted

and have gone to hippy heaven,

although their spirits still live on.

Yet,

there’s still this timelessness,

as though the sand has somehow

by-passed the hour glass.

Time has stood still,

so very, very still

and is barely breathing at all.

For the surfers are still out there

burning under the blazing, summer sun.

Perched on their boards

like a pod of bobbing seals,

they’re waiting.

Waiting.

Still waiting

for the perfect wave.

Breathing in and out in time

with the great, deep lungs of the sea.

They are almost one.

DSC_7967

Meanwhile,

a lone dog lies

waiting on the beach…

perpetually waiting

with patient devotion.

His loving eyes glued

only to his master.

He never complains.

Doesn’t count the minutes,

hours, days and decades

and just wags his tail

happy and content

whenever Dad returns.

After all, a surfer’s dog

is a breed of its own.

I can’t help wondering whether

the poor dog’s ever been fed.

Wave after wave,

comes and goes

and he’s seemingly been parked

on the beach forever

like an abandoned wreck.

He hasn’t budged.

No one’s even offered him a bone.

He’s just waiting,

almost hibernating in the summer sun.

Waiting for the wave,

which never seems to come.

Waiting for the wave,

which will bring his master home.

Buying Time

This morning I finally took the plunge and bought myself some more time. Actually, I bought more thyme.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Very funny! While I know that pun is the very lowest form of wit, I’ll blame the rain. It’s been raining for days and days. My brain’s gone soggy and needs more sunlight to function properly.

But wouldn’t we all like more time? Isn’t that the Holy Grail we’re all madly trying to find? Some almost magical way of buying more time, even though we know there are only 24 hours in a day?

I know I’d certainly like more time!! Particularly now that I’ve had to accept that time is a limited resource. It doesn’t stretch. Like the sands through the hour glass, it just runs out. That’s it. Poof! It’s all gone!

This came as a bit of a rude shock to me. I don’t know about you but I’ve always treated time as a fairly flexible resource. Squeeze something in here. Jam something else in there. I’ve also had my watch set five minutes fast, so I could always squeeze in that one last thing before I bolted out the door. I can also run a little late, which is another way of buying just a little more time.

However, as the school bell rudely reminds me very morning, time is fixed.

Well, that might be what the so-called experts believe but I’ve finally found a loophole. I’ve proven them wrong. Not by buying myself some thyme. Rather, I’ve just done some very simple mathematics.

You see, if you want more hours in the day, you simply subtract them from the night.

Wake more…sleep less.

As I said, it’s a very simple equation…all very basic mathematics. An equation so delightfully simple that even the most mathematically challenged can get it.

I always knew I was clever…a veritable genius! I just needed to find my thing.

Ssh! This has to be our little secret. At around 9.30PM when my husband starts thinking of going to sleep, I conversely start to wake up. I make myself a cup of decaf tea, ostensibly to unwind before going to bed. Of course, it takes time to cool down. So instead of turning off my laptop and actually letting my brain slow down , unwind and  prepare for sleep, it actually fires up again. Inspiration hits and suddenly I’m typing at whirlwind speeds and the ideas are really flowing. Of course, it’s the very best writing that I’ve ever done and I don’t want to lose “the moment”. If you write, you’ll understand just how precious “the moment” can be. When inspiration hits, you’ve got to catch it. Get it down anyway you can before it gets up and leaves and goes somewhere else. (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave a fabulous  TED Talk about creative inspiration: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html)

I write and write and write until all that inspiration has well and truly dried up. I only stop when the words are starting to merge and blur together and I can’t tell the difference between a verb and a noun. By this point in time, instead of capturing all those pearls of wisdom, I’ve actually deleted them and nothing makes much sense in the morning!! I’m just left with a pile of gobbledegook. This, of course, is the danger of stealing too much time. Unfortunately, it seems you can borrow a little bit of time but you need to pay it back. You can’t keep it indefinitely!

Sadly, like most good theories, there’s a catch…no  free lunch. You pay for it. In this particular scenario, it’s called sleep deprivation. There’s that magic balance between wake and sleep and when you deduct too much from one of side of the equation, the whole thing topples down taking you down with it. Did you know that seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%? That means that if you were driving a car, you could actually kill someone!! That’s rather scary. We push ourselves further and further beyond the brink of sleep deprivation and that’s where we can end up. It’s not pretty. Not pretty at all and contrary to my earlier boasts, it’s not smart. It’s not smart at all.

In the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwarz argues that “sleep is more important than food”. That we could survive a week without food but we couldn’t survive a week without sleep.  He quotes former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin who wrote about the experience of being deprived of sleep in a KGB prison in his memoir White Nights : “In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep … Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it.” http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/03/sleep-is-more-important-than-f.html

The case for getting an early night was mounting but this was the real clincher. Schwarz goes on to quote Anders Ericcson’s famous study of violinists which found that top violinists also reported that except for practice itself, sleep was second most important factor in improving as violinists. The top performers slept an average of 8 ½ hours out of every 24, including a 20 to 30 minute mid-afternoon nap. That is some 2 hours a day more than the average American.

Humph!! Could sleep deprivation possibly explain some of the difficulties I’ve been having mastering my violin lately? For my husband, Geoff, it was a no-brainer: “Are you surprised? You are exhausted. You can’t keep the bow going straight!”

Alright! Alright! Maybe I’m starting to concede that things are having to change. The trouble is how? We all do things we know are bad for us, even when we know they are slowly killing us but how do we stop?

I could start by totally reprogramming my thinking. Tell myself how much I hate and even loathe that 30 minutes of total me time where I bask in absolute, beautiful blissful  silence each night. Tell myself I hate that final, lingering cup of tea and that I especially hate any Tim Tams or stray pieces of evil chocolate which might happen to stray across my path late at night.

But is it wrong to lie, even if it is for your own good?

Staying up late feels way too good to give it up even though it’s really bad for my health, relationships and mental state. It’s probably not even that good for my writing.

So if I know all of this why don’t I stop? Why can’t I change?

It’s like eating broccoli. You know it’s good for you. You know it prevents cancer and does all these other wonderful things but you just don’t like it. But then sometimes, something comes along and forces you to change. It’s like being pushed straight up the side of a mountain…a mountain you never, ever wanted to climb.

You see as much as I love those moments of very precious solitude, even I have to admit that I’m exceptionally tired. I sleep for at least an hour most days, no doubt catching up for what I’ve lost late at night. But I’m still not entirely convinced.  My auto-immune disease causes extreme fatigue.  I also blame my lungs which have been down to 50%. Not getting enough oxygen, can also make you tired and give you brain fog. But even taking all these possibilities into consideration, I should be going to bed earlier. Make the supreme sacrifice. After all, I’m supposed to seize the day, not the night!!

This has all become a bit tragic because I had no intention of going to bed earlier when I started this post. It’s just been a miserable, wet couple of days and I bought myself some thyme. Thought I’d photograph it for the blog as a bit of a joke because like most of us, I would really like to buy some more time. I have also had some scares with my health where I’ve wanted to buy some serious time. Sticking to the nitty gritty like going to bed and choosing the broccoli feels boring but if that’s what it takes to truly seize the day and possibly even save my life, perhaps it’s time for me to seriously play ball.

I’m getting myself a star chart and a serious reward. This time I mean business!

A keen gardener

A keen gardener?

Moving from time to thyme, the sag of my thyme plant continues. I used to be quite an avid gardener but we’ve had drought, water-restrictions and busyness. I don’t tend to buy many plants these days but every now and then I succumb. Despite my protestations, they generally end up thirsty and near death thanks to neglect. Every time I buy a new plant, I promise to do a better job but sadly history repeats itself. But…but…I am determined for this plant to live and to live life abundantly!!

Mister helping to plant the thyme.

Mister helping me plant the thyme.

To give it the very best chance of success, Mister and I headed out to the worm farm and filled the pot up with the best soil I’ve ever seen. It was so beautifully rich in nutrients. Our thyme plant surely has to flourish.

The last word on thyme goes to this folk song a friend sang to me after school this afternoon when I mentioned my post. I’ve just included a couple of verses but you can click through to read the whole song.

Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

For thyme it is a precious thing
And thyme brings all things tae your mind
Time wi’ its labours alang wi’ all its joys
Oh time brings a’ things tae an end

Come all ye maidens young and fine
All ye that are bloomin’ in your prime
It’s aye be aware and keep your gardens square
Let no man steal awa’ your bunch of thyme

http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/l/letnoman.html

Any thoughts?

xx Rowena