Every other week Monday starts with a morning playdate up at the Shoreline playgym - which both Leta and I look forward to. But I realized something funny about the rest of the day after the playdate on my weekly trips up north. Having lived in Shoreline before Leta was born, I'm thoroughly familiar with what I like to call the "Bargain Mecca" of North Aurora. Costco is up there. My favorite thrift store is up there. The dollar store is up there, among a ton of other bargain favorites that I no longer allow myself to visit. And Monday's are our grocery shopping day, so we often go to a grocery store up there, too. Unfortunately, all of this can add up to a day where all of our freetime is spent up north running from store to store with a 3 year old in tow - because "I'd better hit them all while I'm already all the way up here" (as if 175th is really THAT far from where we live).
Then I return home, with a now cranky 3-year old who's been rushed from place to place and had her rest time pushed back further and further, with a car full of groceries & stuff , and suddenly my time with my daughter for the day has been sucked up in a vortex of bargain-seeking followed by an evening of getting ready for the workday tomorrow.
I write all this not at all to complain about our schedule (it's obvious that I've chosen it), but to point out the folly of my choices that I'm just realizing this morning.
I woke up super early this morning because I was craving some time for reading and inspiration before this busy day got underway. And I stumbled upon the blog Momentum Gathering and her "Free Life Cleanse Starter Kit". Always one for simplification how-to's, I started reading it and was so inspired by her approach to time usage. The kit leads you through a few excercises in tracking your time and then evaluating how you feel about where it's going, questioning how to reprioritize so that more time is spent doing the things that bring you joy. (I highly recommend it!)
Although I could say that bargain-shopping brings me joy... it's not lasting joy. Lasting joy would be time spent playing on the floor with my daughter, in awe of what her imagination comes up with next, and taking the time to actually notice and appreciate things like her adorable toddler hands manipulating playthings. Before I know it those cute little hands will be grown up and gone. I need to make choices that simplify my time better, so that more of it can be spent consciously in ways that reflect my priorities and bring me joy instead of disappearing and leaving me unfulfilled.
How about you? If you take a minute to evaluate where your time goes, what are the things that take up your time but don't bring you joy? What might you eliminate from your schedule in order to free up pockets of time for what you really crave?