Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Consuming Time

Thank you notes, I always mean to write them. Sometimes I email thank-you messages, but it's not the same. My mother tried to train me to write the notes. I hated every moment. "I don't know what to say!" And I didn't want to be bothered. I couldn't see the point.

What a difference a couple decades makes.

People sent me lovely birthday gifts yesterday. I was touched just knowing people were thinking about me. So I pulled a pad of writing paper out and wrote. It was easy. I was in a thankful mood. The fountain pen felt good on the page and I signed each note with Love.

Writing, addressing envelopes, and stamp them was a time-consuming task.

Let's think about that term: time-consuming.

Consuming time isn't quite possible, but we probably all understand what it means in this context. I'm thinking about what I could have been doing rather than writing, addressing and stamping. Had I used Gmail, I would have been done in a quarter of the time. I would have had that time back in order to...

I trailed off there because I'm not sure there's something better that I could have done than putting pen to paper and sending real objects to loved ones. I think people will enjoy the notes. I know it felt good to write them. And isn't feeling good and having others feel good the best way to consume time?

In other time-consuming news, our printer wouldn't print this morning. I worked the problem for an hour. About halfway through, I loaded a new printer into my Amazon cart and was ready to order. Fixing the printer was taking too long and I've hated this printer with an Office Space passion for years. Still, I stayed with it for a while. I let solving the problem consume some time.

I can't say that it felt as good as writing thank you notes, but solving the problem made it time well spent even if it wasn't especially happy time.

All this talk of time probably comes as I'm reading Carl Dennis's book of poetry Meetings With Time and thinking how time worked on vacation in Maine. My time will change when I go back to work at school, but I don't want it to change much. I don't want to fall into the fallacy of rushing, feeling like I have "so much to do" that I have to rush everything in order to get through it all.

Fixing the printer felt like "so much to do." That's why I almost ordered a new printer. When I framed my thinking so that the time wasn't wasted, it became better.

Thank you notes felt like "so much to do" when my mother was trying to teach me how important they are. Now, feeling gratitude grow through the writing, they are something much, much better.

So when I go back to school next week, when I'm in meetings for two days, I need to think about how to frame the time. There are ways to make that time feel better. It comes down to choices.

The first choice is to make fill my pen with ink and bring a good notebook. I've never had too much time for writing and what better way to consume time than to write on.