Like sands through the hour glass

1 Apr

I had Big Plans for my time here. Looking, as I do, on this time as a gift – a truly luxurious gift – with both boys at school six hours a day, with no committees or boards to meet with, no activist activities, no reports to edit or write, with no responsibility beyond remember to collect my boys at the end of the day, I had Big Plans.

I packed all manner of good intentions. The sewing machine I inherited from my mother but have never properly used, the flute I haven’t played for about ten years, books of poetry from which to learn by heart one poem per week, recipe books, cross stitch linen, dictionary of ethics…you get the picture. Plus the ingredients for zillions of worthy activities for children, because I was worried that living in a two bedroom apartment there was too much chance of resorting to too much television. Also, I was going to learn Arabic and possibly brush up on my Spanish and French (you know, because that’s all they need, a bit of brushing up – ha!).

I have (re)learnt Judith Wright’s ‘woman to man’, but I think that’s cheating really, because I studied it in year twelve (though year twelve is further back in the distance than I thought it would ever be). Ditto the Shakespeare sonnet (shall I compare thee). The flute hasn’t come out of its case. Ditto for the sewing machine. We’ve perfected our post-school smoothie and eldest boy and I can make origami cranes without looking at the book now. A fair chunk of knitting, but I always knit so that’s no great achievement. I did make a rather marvellous gallette for last evening’s evening meal, and Monday’s risotto was also wonderful.

I am very pleased that the boys don’t seem to have noticed they watch no television at all – they haven’t asked whether they can. They did watch Survivor with us the night before we went back to Australia, but that’s because it was ten o’clock and they were still awake because they were sooooo excited. But that’s all they’ve watched.

But all in all, the thing I seem to be spending the most time doing is faffing about on the internet. I have found lots of blogs that I haven’t read before (for example, just this morning, I read this amazing post by writing maternity, and added how to shuck an oyster to my blog reader (on which note, I have moved from bloglines to google reader)), so that’s all good. And I’ve been twittering which is fun. And there’s really a lot of online journals got really a lot of online articles out there. But then, in a sign that I am not honouring this gift of time in the way that I should, I have started a loooooot of games of wordtwist.

If I have learnt one thing it is that life really is short, and if I have learnt another thing it is that life and time really are gifts. And I know myself well enough to know that if I get back to Australia in two years time with nothing more than an ability to type in by heart the names of one zillion websites (I can’t get my firefox update to remember where I’ve been) then I am gonna be really, really, really mad at myself. I also know myself well enough to know that I am totally capable of squandering this time. I’m a lazy person with a conscience and sometimes my conscience gets lazy too.

So I need to do that thing of making myself a vow. You know: from now on I’m going to be more productive, I’m going to write more, read more in a more sustained way, go to a yoga class and get the sewing machine out. I will finish the cross stitch gifts that I started last year, I will make bread twice a week, I will learn the Arabic alphabet. I’m going to work out how to make that fucking origami jumping frog if it’s the last thing I do.

I will do all of this starting on the eleventh of April, because the boys have got Spring Break next week and Thursday is the last day of the working week in these parts which means that school finishes at twelve tomorrow and there’s assembly at eight, so that’s tomorrow gone, and I can’t start today because I need to clear that backlog of wordtwist games, and next week I’m planning an overnight trip to Dubai to take the boys to wild wadi water world so that in years to come when they work out they haven’t been watching television I can say, Yeah, but how many kids went to wild wadi water world. But, yeah, come the eleventh of April in this apartment it’s all Renaissance World.

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13 Responses to “Like sands through the hour glass”

  1. kate April 1, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    When we moved I decided it was ok to just let myself have a rest. I’ve always felt guilty about taking time off Renaissance World in favour of blogging/re-watching the West Wing/lying in bed pondering the meaning etc etc, so I decided I wasn’t going to feel guilty about it. Now I’m actually interested in doing other things and I’m starting to get them done. Re-bloody-juventated I am!

    True story.

  2. franzy April 1, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Look at it this way: I still put “writer” on any form that asks for my occupation, even thought I’ve been “Office monkey and bacon-bring new father” for about three months now with only a smattering of blogs to my creative output.
    I am jealous as all hell. I would KILL to have the time and space to finish the almost finished book and start the new one.
    KILL.
    I know exactly what the internet does to productivity and in the past I’ve just had to go cold turkey. Switch it off at the power point, give the modem or wireless connector or whatever to the mister while he’s at work and just leave yourself with blank pages. I used to set myself deadlines by which I would DEFINITELY, ABSOLUTELY stop surfing the net and start working and it was hell keeping those deadlines in the ‘a.m.’ time-slot, I can tell you.
    But PLEASE do it. Do it for us writers who don’t have your chance. Call it a self-supported Veruna scholarship. Just do it – you’ll regret it if you don’t use your little room with a view.

  3. genevieve April 1, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Heh, I did that this morning (limiting the InterTubetime that is) and got four rooms vacuumed (SMUG CITY). Then watched bleeding chunks of Love My Way.
    I am doing more reading – honest, I am. Make me good, God, but not yet.

  4. Deborah April 1, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    Hmmm… what kate said. It really would be okay to have a break, for quite some time.

  5. The Coffee Lady April 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    I think we’ve all been there. I could teach classes in faffing on the internet. Do you know, some people actually use it to LEARN things?

    Amazing

  6. tut-tut April 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    You are so right about time; sand through the hourglass and all that.

  7. ampersand duck April 2, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Hang on — I’m with Kate here. You’ve just had a really, really busy and mentally UP time with moving, launching first novels etc etc (and a good whack of mentally DOWN time). Give yourself longer than a couple of weeks to come down from all this. You’ve got a bit less than two years, surely you can spare a month or two of lolling (both in the rest and reading funny blogs sense)? Don’t beat yourself up, enjoy the online stuff combined with some cooking etc, and then your natural need to make/do/invent will take over. You’re not lazy, you’re recovering. Troooly.

  8. Cristy April 2, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    Hey Renaissance Women: you just had a BOOK published and performed in an amazing- sounding show. (oh and Moved House internationally). Give yourself a break! The motivation will return all by itself.

  9. miriam April 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    it’s ok to take a break, tc… it’s been a tough and busy year for you (and there’s only so long you can say that about the past 12 months, eh). besides, you’re my favourite word twist partner πŸ˜‰
    p.s. if you get that flute out, can you give me some lessons? i have one sitting in its case that hasn’t been touched for about 9 years!

  10. mikhela April 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m going to print this out and tape it over my computer screen.

    Of course, what they said – it’s okay for YOU to take a break. But for me, get on with it already.

  11. blackbird April 3, 2009 at 5:56 am #

    You will let us know how it goes, won’t you?

  12. chosha April 3, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Whenever I go home to Adelaide I invariably take things I never get around to doing. I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the extra luggage space they take up. I could get away with just a carry-on bag if I was packing more realistically. πŸ™‚

  13. Liza April 22, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    If you want to hear a reader’s feedback πŸ™‚ , I rate this article for 4/5. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn google to find the missed pieces. Thank you, anyway!

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