A couple of evenings ago I was in the kitchen after Luke had gone to bed in a whirlwind of batch cooking for the freezer for his meals, whilst trying to cook dinner for us too of course. Such is the busyness of life with a little person, or seemingly just life these days. I know I've never had more demands on my time than I do right now. There is no time to waste, every second is precious. My 'to do list' is now epic with as many sequels as an Agatha Raisin novel!
It's a weird paradox that the busier you feel the more feel you must fill your time. I don't have time for so many things now that I find relaxing or that I enjoy. So when I have a few precious hours to myself I'm like 'quick read a magazine, have a bath, sew, go for a swim, bake, read that book you've been meaning to! Quick, quick, quick!' Very quickly 'relaxing time' can become the most stressful part of the day. It's so precious that using it suddenly become so stressful!
That evening, amid assembling tiny chicken pies and stirring up saucepans of lentils, I noticed that it was actually really beautiful outside. I also realised that I hadn't had a single moment to sit and enjoy the warmth because, you know, BABY. So I took the food off the boil, poured myself a glass of wine, sat on the back door step and did absolutely, blissfully nothing.
This is all part of what I have been trying to cultivate in my life recently - the art of graciously wasting time. Of being in the moment with the thing that I'm doing rather than thinking about all the other things I could, or should, be doing in this moment. It's not easy but it is immensely rewarding. Those thoughts don't go away but now they get gently told to shove off because I am busy enough in this moment, thank you very much, experiencing the thing that is right in front of my eyes.
That evening in the garden, in just fifteen minutes sat on the back door step, I realised that my garden (courtesy of the plants that I always berate myself about not watering enough) smells of warm strawberries and thyme. Though we are surrounded by neighbours the view from our back step is all green, just trees which incidentally are full of birds singing away for attention. I realised that wine tastes even more amazing when savoured. I realised I can find the kind of peace that relaxing on a holiday balcony in Greece can bring just outside my own backdoor, in the suburbs, in British summertime.
So here's to 'wasting time', which, it turns out, might be what it takes to really find it after all.