I'm ashamed. It has been well over 12 (twelve??) months since I posted my last blog and I'm baffled as to where that time has gone. Recently, I was thinking back to when I first wanted to start blogging and back then I said to myself that I would try and post at least 2 blogs a week. Ha! Yeah ok Denise... The fact that I was thinking that way is a mystery, because it seems that for me, trying to find the time to write a blog once every year seems to be a push!
I am notorious at making excuses, especially when it comes to time and having (or not having) enough of it. I continuously convince myself that I simply do not have the time, however when I actually stop to think about it, I feel embarrassed at the time opportunities I do have in my day. It hasn't always been like this. At a stage, toward the end of last year and also into the beginning of this year, I was advised medically and eventually personally realised that I was simply taking on too much. My health took a knock which influenced every other aspect of my life and it took me having to see a doctor 4 times this year alone (it's only April) to accept that I needed to slow down. Again, I'm never quite content am I, because here I sit now moaning that I do actually have more time but haven't made the time to write. As my fiancè would say, shaking his head with the slightest but ever so sarcastic smile 'NEVER happy Taylor.'
Anyway, this is one story I wanted to share with you and my hope is that it isn't just another thing you read and say 'ok ok enough with the time is a gift crap,' but rather something that plays on your thoughts and allows you to give it some consideration.
To recap on the past few months, I have now been living in Zimbabwe for over a year. In fact, it has just gone a year and 6 months since I left what I always referred to as 'home'. For my readers who haven't read my previous posts, I moved to Zim from Johannesburg in October 2014. It seems unbelievable considering it feels like only 3 months or so ago since I arrived with my whole house packed into one car and my cats arriving on a plane. It's like time has been on a one-way speed mission, stopping for nothing, tearing up the edges (or more likely the roads of Harare), and simply conquering month upon month like they hardly even individually exist. This has been a tough thing to try and process and get a grip on as a yoga teacher because I am constantly trying to teach my students about 'slowing down and finding that peace within'... Realistically, how do you find peace when you can't even fathom what day it is?!
Someone once told me that the older you get, the faster time goes. They put it into a very reasonable explanation for which I owe them credit. I cannot however, remember who told me this, so for that I apologise and please feel free tell me it was indeed you. This person told me that as a baby, your day is a bigger percentage of your whole life than it is when you are say 20 years old. Think about it, 24 hours in the life of a 1 year old is huge! It's a long time for a 1 year old because technically, at 1 year of age, they are only 8,760 hours old. A day is 0.3% of their whole life. A 20 year old individual is roughly 175,200 hours old. A day for this person is only about 0.014% of their whole life. You can see why, the older you get, the faster the days, weeks and months feel. Logical enough explanation right?
But then I started thinking. What about those people who are 50 years old, yet live it up, and act and behave as if they are 30? Surely these people have control over how long 24 hours can feel to them if they are living in the moment, staying young at heart and making things count? And surely then, so can we all? We always see those quotes on Facebook and hear them in the movies and songs about how each day is a gift (even now you're thinking 'yeah yeah - here we go again).' But how many of us actually acknowledge that fact? When you really think about it, each new day is a full 24 hours which is given to you to do with what you like. And those 24 hours are not always guaranteed, which should actually make every minute, every second even, that much more rewarding. How often do you see it that way though? I rarely do, until I truly, really think about it.
For me personally, living in Joburg was like constantly being whipped around in a whirlwind. The invariable 'go go go' of it all was almost addictive. Your body and mind become so attuned to speeding, not only in your car or getting from one place to the next, but also in your thought process and reaction time. Even trying to fall asleep was a challenge. When I first came to Zim, I almost felt lost because of how slow everything seemed to be. Maximum speed limits of 80km/h on the roads are like a tease to a Joburger. I used to do 80km/h driving into and out of my driveway, and once on the highway, should you be going less than 120 km/h (in the slow lane,) you have every other driver and their dog throwing finger signals telling you what an idiot you are. So initially yes, Zim seemed strangely subdued, stress-free and chilled - just what a newbie yoga teacher needs, right?
Hmmm, not for long, no Denise. Before I knew it, I was back to my old ways - taking on far too much, trying to please way too many people and actually forgetting that I am a human being as well who needs help and self-care every now and again. I was rushing from one yoga class or client to the next, constantly in my car, constantly on those roads and boy did I start to push the 80km/h limit at times. Don't get me wrong, I am so blessed with how my yoga teaching took off. I had private clients daily, beautiful public classes sometimes twice a day. I felt that I was exactly where I was meant to be. Until such time I started saying and believing that I didn't have the time.
'I don't have the time to eat breakfast.' 'I don't have the time to take my vitamins.' 'I don't have the time to do my own yoga practise.' 'I don't have the time to meet a good friend for coffee.' 'I don't have the time to relax.' 'I can't sleep.' 'I feel sick.' 'I am sick.' 'I'm just not getting better.'
There comes a stage in your life where giving yourself as a whole to everyone and everything results in you only actually becoming a fraction of who you really are. It doesn't matter what profession you're in either - the minute it begins to feel like a slog of a job, is the minute you start losing the passion you have for it. Realising this was tough for me. I love yoga - how can yoga become purely a 'job'. What about my personal love for my own yoga, my own abilities outside of teaching? But I truly believed I could: I could teach 3 private clients a day and then a public class at night and give my all. I could still exercise on an empty tummy and no water from the day because I did not have (make) the time to eat or drink. But what did I have left? A sick empty body, exhausted and depleted from my own ill-doing. And when I stopped to think about it, I wasn't doing my clients and students right by letting them believe I was the healthy yoga teacher they were asking for - how could I be when I personally wasn't of a full and healthy state. I was beginning to not enjoy my 'job.'
So my 24 hours started changing. I personally had to make those changes and with concerted effort, stick to them. I also had to let a few people down, which trust me I hated doing but if I did not take those steps for myself, I would probably still be sick and energy-less, begrudging each task in each day. It was a few small alterations to my own 24 hours which, when I got down to it, were so simple.
When doctors, therapists, personal trainers, yoga teachers and the like tell you to make time for yourself - they aren't spinning you a falsehood. Time for yourself can be the greatest gift you give to number one every single day. In your given 24 hours, what's say 20 minutes? Taking that time for yoga, exercise, reading, writing, socialising, walking, playing with your pets, making and drinking a brilliant cup of tea - whatever it might be - can literally change your life. You just need do it with effort every day. For someone who would never dream of believing this a few months back, taking that time to actually nourish yourself starts to feel like part of your routine - it gets easier and easier. Learning to say 'no' when you need to and not feeling guilty. Learning to say 'yes' when you want to and not changing your mind because it was a half-hearted yes in the first place.
These are your given 24 hours but by no means promised to you. How are you going to fill your time?
How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? Dr. Seuss