“Understanding is deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know, but very few who understand.” ~ Nicholas Cage
Where does the time go? How I have been dreaming of retirement, so I don’t feel so stressed, exhausted and like a failure.
For as long as I can recall, since maybe I was about seventeen, deep down I have been dreaming of retirement. Something about the thought of it always made me feel at peace. This weekend I had a day with no real schedule and I spent it working on two work projects. It didn’t start out that way. I had a long list of ALL the things I was going to do with my eighteen hours of time. And then the task of rebooting two Apple computers went from bad to worse and in the hours that I spent trying to figure-out what I could do to fix the problem, I lost any chance of doing any of the other things on my list. About four hours into it, while sitting on the floor, trying yet another thing, it occurred to me the way my day to day life gets hijacked by my time blindness. As more and more of my tasks and goals don’t happen, I feel more and more like a failure and like I have wasted the day. My internal dialogue gets negative and I feel defeated.
It was good to be able to see parts of the pattern. I wasn’t able to save the whole day, but I was able to set a limit on the amount of time I was going to continue to work on the computers and then stop. That was a first. In the past I could have given hour days to that. I would have figured it out in the end, but at what cost to everything else, including my mental health. Because at that point I would be behind on a bunch of other things.
They say that one thing also associated with time blindness is having too many projects and things to do. I can see that in myself and my clients. Because I can’t judge how long something will take, a project is not three dimensional to me, it is more like a flat sheet of paper. So when I think about taking something on, my brain doesn’t question if I have enough time to squeeze that in, it just assumes I do, because it can’t measure and estimate the time. I am starting to question all projects before I do them and put a time limit on them. Sometimes that work, and sometimes it does not. I also have a file of all of the great ideas I haven’t had time to do. That helps me to not add the projects to my tasks and wait until I do have the time to estimate all of the tasks involved and then estimate the amount of time to do the project.
This weekend as I was feeling time slip away from my task list, my mind started it’s old conversation, “I wish I was retired.” I then asked myself what I really thought was going to happen at retirement, I took a moment to list it out.
-I don’t have to get up at a certain time
-I won’t have so many things to do
-I won’t have so many expectations
That was when it hit me, and I do mean hit me, because I started to cry. What I was really saying and had been saying was that I couldn’t wait to not have to work so hard to just be a part of society and all of the effort that takes for me. All of the mental gymnastics I have to do each day to feel like I fit in. I was sad for the seventeen year old who had already figured out that it was going to be a long road ahead, and I didn’t know why. I also realized that retirement was going to be no easier than the rest of my life. So, I should let go of the unrealistic expectation and start to replace it with a more realistic one. One that I can get excited about and it is based on some facts.
I knew time blindness affected my life, I have been putting the pieces of the puzzle together day by day and it is interesting how many ways it has been a part of things and I didn’t know it. Like a long dark shadow on my ability to fit in.
When I awoke Sunday morning I was still thinking about this topic and was really glad for the day’s events on Saturday to have shed some light on this blind spot in my thinking. I have new awareness and I know that this will lead to new habits and behaviors, because I have fact checked my own internal dialog and now I get to make new decisions.
For today I am going to time block out my whole day and those projects are going to be the only projects on my desk. Like this, I scheduled fifteen minutes and it is going on thirty. I just lost fifteen minutes of my workout time. I didn’t intend to give that up, it just kind of happens that way, all day. But, today is the start of a new day, with new awareness. I can make a new choice. So, this story is done, because I am not going to give up any more of my workout time.
Don’t be afraid of labels, be afraid of what you don’t know and are afraid to ask questions about. That is where your true solutions hide.
Let’s all get uncomfortable finding truth in our lives. From the facts we have more choices. I want everyone to have as many options as possible.
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach and Speaker