What to Do With That Extra Half-Hour
My dentist's office called the other day and asked if I could come in for my cleaning at 11:30 instead of 11. Of course, I said cheerfully.
Then I thought, wow, I have an extra half hour. What should I do with this precious unplanned 30 minutes? Something productive, something frivolous, nothing at all? No, I should do something, shouldn't I?
These days, I find my life to be so perfectly and closely choreographed - between my iPad calendar which syncs with my iPhone calendar and my handy hand-written calendar (that rests on the kitchen counter and is primarily for my husband, who seldom looks at it), I schedule just enough time between engagements to comb my hair, refresh my lipstick and pick up another notebook or cache of papers.
OK, I must get serious. I really should clean out my magazine racks. We have three completely full racks or baskets and there is always a stack on the coffee table. Or do a load of laundry - too bad there's not enough for a full load, and I certainly don't want to waste water or electricity.
I could clean out a closet - but the one most in need of cleaning is mine, and a half hour would never be enough. Hmmm, how about just a part of the closet? No, a closet should never be just half cleaned - I'll wait until I have a whole hour. Or perhaps a whole day.
I could go on Facebook. I'm really tired of my friends from across the country telling me my granddaughter got a new pony or my son has been without electricity for eight days. I should know these things firsthand! But somehow, logging on to FB is like falling down a black hole. Thirty minutes may not be enough time for me to climb back out.
Could wash my hair. No. Did that yesterday. Could paint my nails. No. They look pretty good. Could shake out a few rugs. No. I've already showered and might get dirty. I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Could it be that I don't have enough time to do anything significant, yet too much time to tackle the insignificant?
I assume that many adult lives are overscheduled just like mine. It's OK. We can handle it. We can eat on the run, check email during a long meeting, make mental grocery lists while waiting in traffic and take a breather and read a magazine in the doctor's office.
But what about the children - the little tykes who are living the busy lives their parents thought they wanted to live? Or the lives their parents think their offspring must live to be accepted at the best schools - uh, pre-schools, that is.
We're all aware that sports are important for a child's development. So baseball, soccer, swimming, etc. are de rigueur But have you heard of baby yoga, infant safety swimming (in case they fall into a pool), art for toddlers, music too? In fact, it is now claimed that the music mom listens to while baby is in utero can influence a child's future musical tastes. (So why aren't my kids singing folk songs and playing acoustic guitar?)
I've also heard of classes to learn how to play with your child. I pity anyone who doesn't know how to play. Do parents really need a class for that?
The object seems to be exposure - exposing children to so many activities while still young helps them to be well rounded. Rather, I think it ensures they do lots of things but perhaps none very well. And where is the time for climbing trees, making a fort or just creating something out of a child's imagination?
Back to my now dwindling extra few minutes. Could return a few phone calls, but not enough time for those on the list. Could do a little cooking. No, I pretended I forgot how when I married my husband.
I know! Clean out the refrigerator! No, too many things would need to go in the trash, and collection day was yesterday, so trash shouldn't sit outside for six days. Could pull a few weeds in the garden, but it's raining and I just washed my hair yesterday. Did I already mention that?
Could spend some time on my desktop computer, since it must feel so left out since I got my iPad a year ago. Could clean off my desk, which I always put off. Could clean out the lint filter in the dryer. Yes, that's it! That's what I'll do! A most important job. You know, your unemptied lint filter could start a fire (I think I read that somewhere). Or was it the lint collecting in the vent?
Uh, oh. Look at the clock! Gotta run to my dental appointment.
Nancy R. Fiorillo is mayor of Pinehurst.
More like this story