It seems to me that most everyone should have some of what I call “my time,” that is, some intervals during our hectic days that may be claimed as devoted specifically to satisfying the needs and wants of us as individuals. We have so many demands on us – you know, things we simply must do, people we must accommodate, commitments we must meet – that we sometimes find we have no time left for us. That’s where I think the concept of “my time” should come into play. Perhaps a few examples might be appropriate to illustrate.
One of my favorite “my time” periods is spent in the pool. Yep, 2-3 times a week I spend 45 minutes swimming non-stop – gently doing versions of the breast stroke and back stroke I have modified to accommodate my age-damaged shoulders. This rhythmic exercise probably has some physical therapeutic benefits in that I move lotsa my arthritic joints; use a whole bunch of muscles – or what I have left of them; and provide a moderate cardiac workout for my heart. These physical fringe benefits, however, are not the only reason for this activity.
Of equal or even greater importance is that this is “my time” – a portion of the day that is mine alone. No one can get to me with phone calls, text messages, or other interruptions that levy demands on my day. In addition, I don’t even have to concentrate on swimming – my body simply takes over and performs the necessary functions thus leaving my mind to wander wherever it wishes. Ah, yes, a truly delicious interlude that I claim belongs solely to me. Okay, moving on.
Folks who know me well understand that I’m “not available” weekday afternoons between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. This is not only my time for lunch, but is also my time for watching one TV “soap opera.” For this hour I enter a make-believe world populated by imaginary characters and leave this real world behind. I make no apologies, in fact, I freely admit I am intrigued by the superb writing with its multiple ingenious story lines whose direction I can never anticipate, and the superb acting by folks, some of whom have played the same part for decades. Yep, I claim this one hour as my time – away from daily distractions and concerns.
I also claim another TV show as my time. On Saturday evening between 7:00 and 8:00 I watch the Lawrence Welk show on PBS. I thoroughly enjoy the now-extinct “big band” sound with its great arrangements. The extremely talented singers have beautiful, clear voices vocalizing understandable words in either solo or ensemble performances of songs I can sing along with if I choose.
I marvel at the graceful dancers, particularly the strength and agility of Bobby Burgess who so effortlessly performs “lifts” of his dancing partner, such as the beautiful Sissy King. These lifts require his not only picking up his 110 or so pound perfectly positioned partner, but continuing to perform intricate dance steps often while holding her over his head. Absolutely amazing. And there’s lots more such as the almost unbelievable virtuosity of Myron Floren on the accordion and the tap dancing of world renowned Arthur Duncan. Yep, this is also my time.
My time may also be shared. We have a long-time, very dear friend for whom we block out an hour or two about once a week. She is an elderly widow whose life is so plagued with family problems that she comes over just to “visit” – an old time word meaning to engage in conversation that is neither important nor even serious. In other words, we just sit, have a cup of coffee, and chat about whatever subjects bubble up.
She tells us these meetings are the only time she can escape from the unrelenting pressure of her every day worries and concerns. She calls them her “therapy” sessions – I recognize them as her version of “my time”. (By the way, we consider these sessions to be “our time” – simply leisurely, unstructured socializing with a friend chatting about anything or nothing in particular.)
Well, there you have it – a once over lightly treatment of a subject most everyone can appreciate. Although I haven’t researched this area I betcha professionals who study such matters would likely agree that having “my time” should be an important part of our lives. The difficulty lies not in recognizing the concept but putting it into practice. When you get right down to it, life is an ongoing series of choices and squeezing in some “my time” should be among those choices. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.