Category Archives: time

Dessert for Lunch

Paris, France

Last Wednesday was my birthday. Like most adult birthdays it was sandwiched between responsibilities. Like going to the post office or four separate conversations with the doctor’s office about insurance. I wanted it to be special, but I felt the weight of all my obligations. Then I was challenged by my teacher to do “something that our spirit asks us to pursue.” It was such a beautiful prompt, and I felt foolish with my response. Take Leila to Common Bond for lunch. I drive by it at least once a week, and I never stop. I thought my birthday would be the perfect opportunity to finally taste their creations, but I had already written it off in lieu of something more constructive. Then I happened to read this challenge in time for me to pick up Leila from school and take her with me for a lunch of sweets – a non-nutritious, expensive, non-productive lunch of desserts.

Simply making the decision to drive past all my other errands was immensely liberating. I rode that freedom inside where I felt the excitement my toddler must feel on Halloween. My four-year-old decisively told me she wanted the “strawberry one.” I kept scanning back and forth down the line, weighing my options with the importance usually reserved for matters of actual importance. I was transported to the 18th arrondissement and the tiny café outside of the Metro in Montmartre, and I could have stayed there happily gazing at pastries enjoying the pleasure of simply thinking about what to order, but there was a line. I talked Leila into the cupcake and then ended up ordering the “strawberry one” just the same, along with a vanilla latte. We both wanted to sit outside, so we made our way to a sunny table where we both focused on the strawberry dessert.

A man walked out with one of their simple hand sandwiches and a diet coke, and I was almost knocked over with nostalgia for my summer in France and so many meals of that persuasion. We sat there and ate and Leila looked out at the traffic and I just sat there enjoying this moment of simply being. And it was really such a brief moment in my day, but I could not recall the last time I did something so frivolous with my time. I have only experienced such breaks when we lived in Rwanda and in the early days and months of Leila’s life, which I realized might explain my attachment to having both of those experiences again. Perhaps we will live abroad again. Perhaps our family will be blessed with a tiny life and the haze of a babymoon at least once more. But we are not there now. And my birthday was a gentle reminder that I cannot wait for those moments – the end, or absence, or break from a to-do list, from life, from adulthood to embrace a moment of being. I have to create it. Sometimes I have to choose to have dessert for lunch.

Dessert for Lunch

Will Clean for Yoga

This is one of those years. Or perhaps such is adulthood, where the budget is perpetually lean to accommodate ever-looming large financial goals. We pinched and shifted until there was room for my yoga teacher training. Yoga itself? Not so much. Thankfully my studio utilizes karma as a currency, so in exchange for two-hours of my service cleaning I get unlimited yoga, plus a bit of yoga to share. Thanks to some sweat equity, my back enjoys a consistent yoga practice and I get to participate more in this community I have been peripherally a part of for over five years now. I can hardly understand why I didn’t start this last spring.

Since returning from Rwanda, we are cautious with our commitments. I am glad for this shift. However, sometimes I forget that budgeting time is much the same as budgeting money. There is a set amount, and it is a matter of setting aside enough time for those things I need and prioritizing the wish list for what is remaining. Last spring and summer and fall and winter I felt like there was not enough time. There certainly was not enough time readily available. This spring I budgeted the time. And after two years off, Leila and I are back to very occasionally co-op volunteering. Why not? She learns the importance of giving time, we both have an excuse to linger and mingle and then our family enjoys $10 of credit to chip away at our weekly order.

Have you ever used any sort of time banking in your communities?

PS Look what I found. I’m intrigued.

Basking in a Clearing

This year has been…full. I intended to use Lent to create more space. I am failing quite miserably. Last week I was suffocating in the onslaught of tasks I crammed into our schedule, trying to force our way out of the jungle of applications and trainings and general adulthood minutia that has engulfed 2015 thus far. A futile attempt at an impossible goal.

Then there was a moment last Friday morning, on the way to the fifth doctor’s visit of the week, when I realized I wasn’t filled with dread. I was relaxed. I was in a clearing. There was still a dense forest of stuff waiting on the other end of the weekend, but for the better part of a couple days all I had to do was spend an uninterrupted afternoon playing with Leila, enjoy a happy hour with my husband, take in a rare evening with my brothers, savor some sushi, eat birthday cake, delight in a family walk and watch a little HBO. Not to mention the sunshine.

I’d already passed the clearing by the time I woke up this morning. The sky was gray. The schedule was full. I was not looking forward to it. We got through it, and I made it to yoga, I started setting up our haft-seen, we watched some John Oliver and I got a little mini-clearing to bask in, just enough to recoup a bit before tomorrow’s trek.

Gibb's Farm