Thursday, 27 August 2009
Making Time and other mottos
This is a quiet spot by the River Dart where we sometimes walk Mollie when we're staying with my mum. While it might not seem to have anything to do with this post it does - trust me.
Recent events, including the announcement of A levels and GCSE results, have got me thinking about the tremendous amount of pressure that is placed on kids nowadays. Some of course have more pressure than others depending on where you live, it seems. South East England seems to be much more pressurised than us hicks down here in Cornwall (though us hicks still achieve very good results).
Of course everyone wants the best for their children. But at what cost? One of my closest friends has a daughter who moved down here from Sussex a few years ago. “It's such a relief just to be me, to be us,” she said. “Most people down here don't have money, so there's no pressure to keep up with the neighbours and all that.”
Life tends to be very much defined by What We Do rather than who we are, though of course one is often bound up very tightly in the other. I am fortunate in loving what I do – it's a constant challenge that on bad days is utterly chronic, but on good days makes me fulfilled and happy. But for a lot of my working life I haven't enjoyed what I've done, and I know there is little more soul destroying than trudging into a job you hate. It eeks the colour from your life, rips your confidence to shreds and makes you wonder if it's worth getting up in the morning.
Regardless of whether you enjoy work or not, I think it's worth remembering that life isn't all about achievement but about relationships too. Time is a precious commodity these days, but how can we have good relationships with others if we have no time for them?
I am fortunate in having a husband who is extremely generous, thoughtful and acute when it comes to people. He very much believes in making time for the people that matter in life, and this can be very humbling. Quite often I've felt tired, unsociable, like having a Saturday morning with just us, and it's our turn to take elderly James out. I protest on those occasions, and he will say, “It's not much to do, to take him out for an hour.” And of course he's right. Seeing the joy in James's face makes it all worthwhile.
My mum is a good example of making time for people. She has a very busy social life but she has a huge number of very good friends because she always makes time for them.
So perhaps my motto for this post would be to try and Make Time. Not by making your life busier, but by making it less busy (and I know how difficult this can be if you have children). Try and have time with and for your partner, your children, your dog, your parents, your family or your best friend. But most importantly, try and make time for yourself.