If we are awake 14-16 hours a day, then hypothetically this means we are getting a healthy 6-8 hours of sleep, then doing the math to really figure out what “I’m too busy, I don’t have time for that” really means in a daily life may be pretty revealing. Are we too busy for wellness? To be our authentic, messy, creative human selves?
I realize I am writing from a place of privilege, I don’t work 2 or 3 jobs trying to provide for my large family. I don’t have to take buses or public transportation across a city in order to work minimum wage, or hustle kids to daycare, school, or activities. I realize that my calculations of the time in my day is very different for others. With all respect, I would venture to say, even if the available minutes are less, there is room in a day for mental health, body/mind wellness, joyful creativity, and healing. Maybe just a few. Maybe that’s enough.
So here’s my thinking. In my scenario, I am awake about 15 hours on average– let’s say 2-3 hours for feeding myself throughout the day, cleaning, dressing, tidying up. That sounds like a lot, but now I have 13 hours in my daily time budget. If I spend an average of 4-6 hours a day working on my business, networking, creating content, learning, practicing, writing, I am down to about 7 hours. A couple of hours a day to care for the household, plan menus, clean, etc. Now 5 hours– 2 hours to walk the dog a few times, down to 3 hours. Let’s say I need to add an hour to some of all the above, so maybe I have 2 hours left in my time budget. This is 120 minutes. Hence my estimation of having at least 100 minutes a day for: resting, meditating, doing yoga, staring at a flower, creating something silly, pretty, or ugly. Sending a handwritten note. Giving my hubby a back massage. Harvesting a luscious ripe strawberry and gleefully eating it. Joy stuff.
Truth bomb: I really looked at the settings of my phone today. Usually I swipe through it, not wanting to know the truth. Here it is, in black and white. Today, a light day phone wise, since I have been writing most of the day, I have picked up my phone 15 times. 15 times! First pickup: 3:52AM. Yep. Total time (and it’s only 2 in the afternoon) 2 hours and 43 minutes. That’s 163 minutes. In case you think I could have been reading important email or getting directions, my phone breaks it down into categories. Yesterday in Social: 1 hour and 11 minutes, most of it was Instagram. Hundreds of minutes just in the last two days. My daily average in the last week was 3 hours and 21 minutes. DAILY. I picked up my phone 160 times in 5 days time. I dare you to do the same fact finding. Then give yourself a little hug. Some kindness. Judgement just makes addiction stronger.
Now, it is time not for judgement, but for compassion. This little handy machine was designed for addiction. For dependence. The sole purpose of my tiny hand computer is to be absolutely necessary in my life in nearly every moment of my 24 hours of existence. Everything in our culture now is connected to this interweb of necessity, for getting and keeping my virtual attention. Want a reservation or order take-out? Directions? Quick messages? Pay a bill? Checking on friends posts, so you can heart or emoji it up? Does anyone use a cell phone to actually call anyone?
It is the system and culture that created this, and we won’t know for years and years what the actual cost to our humanity might be. At the very least, it is a mindless time suck. A habitual pattern to soothe my nerves, but not to heal. It keeps me in this pattern of addiction, and creates that justifying voice that says, “I don’t have time for meditation! I’m too busy!”
Unfortunately it is me that has to put the damn thing down. Big sigh.
Time to look at the sky. Time to walk outside and remember to breathe deeply. Time to be accountable to my own lovely, joyful self. 100 minutes. Those minutes are mine to squander or to celebrate. My choice.
How will you spend your 100 minutes today?