I used to never keep a calendar. I was a home school kid of the school of routines, a homebody, never the hyper-scheduled socialite. Sure, that can be a lonely arrangement, but it did allow for lots of free time to doodle and dream and let the mind wander… something that turns into a rather precious commodity when you’ve “grown up.”

Lately, I’ve wondered what happened… mostly how lives get so fragmented, so scheduled, and why I put off doing the things that make me feel most alive.

I’ll be the first to say that I love my job and am thankful every day for it. I love the privilege to work for something that matters, something bigger than making money, bigger than success, bigger than myself. But jobs take up lots of time, y’know? And then there are other daily life things, and there is driving time, and important, soul-nurturing things are sent to the “I’ll squeeze it in” category. Write it down. Add it to the schedule. Sure, here’s a free hour. You can have that.

Sometimes, when everything is compartmentalized into blocks on my handy dandy Google Calendar, I’d just like to erase it all, slow down and enjoy other things I love.

Like getting lost in a great book for a few hours.
Like lingering over dinner or coffee and conversation with a friend.

Like letting a poem or story flow from pen to page and losing track of time in the writing.

Like going to a concert and getting caught up in the music without worrying about the time or mentally criticizing the venue’s sound or getting distracted by the crowd.

Stuff like that.

Earlier this week, I had a fun-filled evening with my sister Sherri and my like-a-sister Lindsay. We went to this cute little local restaurant called B3 Cafe (aka Bikes, Beans, and Bordeaux. not a biker joint, I swear.) and enjoyed some quiche, salad, and the awesomeness on a plate called a Nutella panini. Then we wandered next door to Park Ave CDs, one of my favorite places in the world, to pick up the new Dead Weather album (on vinyl!) and generally explore the wealth of the indie record store. Oh yes, an actual release day pilgrimage to the friendly local record store. It doesn’t get much better.

No time frames. No deadlines. Just good food and music and company. It does the soul good and I wish I could do it more often.

What am I getting at? Not quite sure. Maybe just a lament and a hope that I’ll learn to better use the time I have? There’s no point wishing for more hours in the day, because we all get the same amount… it’s just in learning how to not waste them.

Then again, maybe the real lesson is learning how to waste time well, count the things that make me feel alive, and chase after them in the minutes that might otherwise float by unremarkable. Yes, maybe that’s it.

photo credit: “The Passage of Time” by ToniVC