This excellent first-person story from Brigid Schulte really impressed me. Making better use of our time – whether it be wasted, under-appreciated or underutilised – in order to do more of the things we love is a hot topic. Brigid couldn’t believe it when she was told her manic life, working and raising two children, did actually include leisure time, even if it wasn’t in solid blocks.
“What I didn’t know at the time was that this is what time is like for most women: fragmented, interrupted by child care and housework. Whatever leisure time they have is often devoted to what others want to do – particularly the kids – and making sure everyone else is happy doing it.”
If Brigid’s words sound familiar and you feel like you’re going down in the same boat, searching for elusive ‘me time’, please read how she found, made and better used her “time confetti” to come out waving, not drowning. I take my hat off to all working mums and dads in the struggle to find balance, I really do. Actually, make that all mums and dads.
Currently, I’m in the very privilleged, yet deflating, position of having too much time on my hands. I’m not complaining about that, because there are thousands – millions – who’d swap in a flash. My friends often tell me I’m living the dream, and I agree. But sometimes too much time can be as dangerous and overwhelming as not enough. My confidence has taken a bit of a battering. Last year was a strange year for me and I vowed it wouldn’t be repeated. I wasn’t allowed to work here and the days without German school were long – I felt a little bit lost, not having a passion or anything that fired me up.
Thankfully, fitfor15in15 has been a great reason to get out of bed, exercise and write. The blog hasn’t miraculously fixed all those ‘useless’ emotions, because I still feel like I could be doing more, but I’m using my body and brain better now. Being granted a work visa in February has also lifted my spirits, despite it proving harder than I thought to even get an interview! Bern is a tough market, but what’s for me won’t go by me. I miss the office banter, bouncing around work colleagues’ ideas, coming up with plans and beating deadlines.
Previously in Sydney, I had the classic single girl’s life – a go-go-gadget-arms kind of existence, always doing things, seeing shows, going places, meeting friends, having dinners, catching up after work at the pub, planning a weekend away, filling my time. Regularly, I’d catch up with different sets of people in different places in one night and most weekends left me needing a holiday. Sitting still was very hard to do and I loved being active.
Now it almost feels like I’ve turned a full 180 degrees. I don’t like planning more than one or two things per day, and crave quiet time. Is that old age?! But along with this about-face comes a very scary level of increased procrastination. Why do it today, when I know there’s a load of time to do it tomorrow? Only the bare minimum gets crossed off my to-do list and this is a really, really bad habit that needs to be broken. I need to work on my motivation.
Usually, I’m the first person to say to others “C’mon, let’s do it now so it’s done. You’ll feel so much better.” When alone, that enthusiasm goes missing. I spend a lot of time on my own and, most of the time, I’m okay with that. I think it’s made me a quieter person – I’m more inclined to sit and listen and don’t feel the need to fill the silences. That could have something to do with language barriers here, but I feel I’m the same when I go back to Australia now too.
When I needed to boost my spirits when I first arrived here, I’d jump in the car and go for a drive – discovering new places and seeing new things is a massive soul lifter. But the car went in June last year and it doesn’t make sense to spend money on another one. When the weather is good, I can use Leo’s 300cc Vespa but I need to get over my fear of how powerful and heavy that beast is! Scratching it badly in a slow-motion stationary fall at a motorbike lesson last year didn’t help. Until I started those classes, I’d only ever ridden a trail bike as a kid a few times on my uncle’s property and zipped along the quiet roads of a New Zealand island on a hired scooter for a few hours. There were a few woop woop moments that day, when it could have ended badly, but it was great fun!
But this Vespa is scarier; it’s much bigger than the standard ones. Traffic, pedestrians and trucks make me nervous. For me it’s extreme! Hopefully, with time and more practice, everything will come good in my head and my confidence improves. It would make a huge difference not having to rely on public transport to get around, and to have that freedom again to explore new places. I have all the right gear, just not mentally. Yet.
Anyway, that’s probably enough waffle for now. What started out as a ‘this is an interesting article’ post has turned into melancholy, self-indulgent navel-gazing! Apologies for that. But I feel the need to post it anyway, so I can look back in a few months to see how I was feeling today, and so you can understand a bit more about where I’m coming from. Or going to.
Wishing you a wonderful day. The exercise post will come later!
I’ve just been informed this was my 100th post on fitfor15in15. Woo hoo!