Having time…

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As an accompanying partner, trailing spouse, whatever it is you want to call me,(we moved here with my husband’s job) I noticed that after I got things settled (finding a home, moving in, getting my family settled, etc.) I had time on my hands.

What a gift time is.  And yet…!  Time is something we in our capitalistic, Western culture aren’t sure what to do with.  It is something to be filled.  Time is money, right?  Make valuable use of your time. Don’t waste time.

And yet.  I find myself with time and choice.  A powerful combination.

When I first arrived I remember talking to our relocation coordinator about getting a job.  She said, take your time.  Get settled a bit first.  I remember that I was impatient.

We put our kids in local school and I thought I would have plenty of time to for me.  To look for work, train in something, whatever. I had homeschooled our children in the U.S. and that had been full time work.  Now they would head off and I would have time.  Only they both came home for lunch each day.  One at 11:45 and the other at 12 something.  And they sometimes had afternoon school, but not on the same days and always on Tuesday unless the moon was half full and…well ok, not quite but at first the schedule seemed that random.  I had to wake each day and look and my calendar because I really couldn’t find the pattern in their schedules for the first 6 months!

Then it was summer and after our daughter moved to the middle school and so of course it all changed again.  I did get “used” to the schedule a bit faster and then was back to having some time on my hands and deciding what to do with it.

I tried for that job near the airport in Basel and was asked where I lived.  When I said Bettingen, she said, “Oh no.  You live in Switzerland.  We can’t hire you.  We can’t afford you.”  I was so taken aback, I didn’t know what to say!  It wasn’t the job for me in the end I guess, but wow, was that a strange conversation!

So what did I do with my time?  I ended up choosing to pursue things that I love to do.  I started cooking more, and started a food blog with a couple of talented, creative friends I had recently met.  I enrolled in a coach training program with a friend I had taken classes with for years, and immersed myself in books that I couldn’t get enough of.  And I began to  give myself permission for more me time.  Time to read novels (I love the tram for that!) and do yoga.

And all this lead me to a different relationship with time.  I noticed it this morning when I got up.  We had friends over for brunch yesterday.  As usual I happily did most of the cooking and my husband most of the cleaning.  There were still some platters and champagne glasses that needed hand washing.  As I put my hands in the soapy water I relished doing the dishes.  I loved the feel of the warmth on my hands.  I enjoyed washing each piece, the platter from my mother who died many years ago, the champagne glasses we got as wedding gifts, the newer flutes I picked up at a brockenstube (second hand store) because I so love the shape.  I dried and put them away as my coffee brewed in the beautiful tiny Bodum one cup french press I found at a flea market.  And I thought myself amazingly fortunate.  To have this delicious tasting cup of coffee in a home I love in Switzerland, surrounded by beautiful things complete with warm memories that I lovingly washed and dried, enjoying the feel of each as I did.

Oh, and the sun is out!  (it has been the most incredibly cloudy winter and spring!)

That experience with time is quite different for me.  Instead of trying to get the dishes done so I could then get through my emails and then get through my exercise just to get it done so I could do the shopping so I could finish that in time to cook some lunch for kids in time to…yada yada yada…

Wow, I can feel the anxiety just when I write that paragraph.  Right now I will breathe.  And listen to the birds.  And enjoy writing.  How lucky I am.

(Much of my new relationship with time was inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Check it out on my Shelfari bookshelf, midway down on my homepage.)

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