Last week I was driving in my car with my almost 7-year-old daughter at 8:29am when she said “Darn, I’m always a minute late for my favorite time.” She likes palindromic times – in this case 8:28.
It made me think about what I’ve been working on lately. Life feels hectic – summertime means different routines for each week, forms to fill out for camps, people to coordinate carpools with, a lot of additional details in addition to working my full-time job, taking care of kids and trying to maintain a social life.
In the midst of this, my goal is not to be in a hurry even while living a busy life.
That is to say, to try to be intentional and savor the things I’m doing. For example, I had on my to-do list an item to fix the fence where it had come apart at a post. That activity in and of itself doesn’t really have a high enjoyment value. But the other day when I stepped out to assess the task, I felt the summer sun on my back and saw the green of all the grass and trees around. The flowers of the garden are really flourishing and it’s an incredibly vibrant scene right now.
The task might not be much to talk about – but the scenario is gorgeous. When I hurry, I miss all of that. So I’m trying to take an extra breath or two, how long can that take – 11 seconds if I’m optimizing the length according to the Unified Theory of Breathing? Just a couple breaths add a dimension that makes me think of the quote from Auguste Rodin, “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the opportunity wisely.“
There are two different Greek words that speak to this divide: chronos and kairos. Chronos is clock time so when my daughter is saying that she’s a minute late for her favorite time, it’s chronos we’re talking about. Kairos is translated as the “right time” as in now is the right time to step in, speak up or enjoy what I’m doing. I might have to be somewhere at a particular time, as in chronos, but kairos calls me to be mindful of the trip.
I usually manage to arrive on time, chronos speaking, but I frequently mess up the quality of the time, kairos, in order to do so. In fact, I did that just yesterday when I was hurrying the kids to the car so we’d be on time for our carpool. My almost 3-year-old son wanted to hold the door for his sister and in my desire for efficiency, I didn’t listen to him and missed the right time to enjoy the spark of what he was doing. A small moment that is neither here nor there in the big picture, unless all the small moments are rushed like that.
What I’ve learned is when I manage not to be in a hurry even while life is busy, it prevents me from feeling like I’m a minute late for my favorite time.
How do you approach the quantity versus quality of time? Any tricks to slow yourself down when you are hurrying?
For most posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com or follow me on Instagram @wynneleon
(featured photo from Pexels)