The Value of Time

“In her book ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,’ Susan Jeffers promotes our lives being made up of 9 key factors: contribution, hobby, leisure, family, alone time, personal growth, work, relationship and friends.”

One of the things I love about the holidays, once Christmas is over, is the feeling of having enough time. To think. To just sit. To see what happens. To decide on the day. As a teacher, this rarely happens in term-time. There’s always something to be done. On Monday, I went to bed rejoicing over the wonderfulness of my day and I hope, despite all odds, that when I’m nearing the end of my life, these are the day I remember; though they appear to be nothing special.

Firstly, I woke up when I woke up. There was no alarm, or feeling of having to be awake. The builders next door weren’t sawing away because it was a bank holiday. There was just a peace as I opened my eyes. And a lovely feeling of control as I closed them again.

I had thought the night before that I might venture into the nearest city and go to the cinema. But when I finally got out of bed, fully rested, I was feeling highly productive, and decided instead to go to the nearest coffee shop and get some of my marking out of the way. En-route to that, I thought: nah! I don’t want to pay £7 for a Panini for breakfast. So I stopped off at Wetherspoons for a Eggs Royale instead. There, I ploughed through three hours of marking without complaint. Had it been a Sunday of term-time, I’d have been berating my life the entire time. Not as fun.

By about 1pm, I’d had enough of the seat, the view, the tea, and decided to head home, where I took a lovely, long luxurious shower, thoroughly enjoying every moment of looking after myself. Clean and proper, I set myself up in my living room, door closed, surrounded by huge cushions, and started to re-read all my Emma notes for my A-level class. On account of my being in love with her, studying Jane Austen is never work. However, trying to cram that into an evening after teaching five periods wouldn’t have felt so pleasant. Darkness descended around me and I didn’t care. I was thoroughly engaged and stimulated in uncovering Austen’s narrative techniques, and deciphering my own shorthand from 2009, which I clearly am no longer fluent in.

For a few hours at the close of afternoon, I completed a blog for a political movement I’m part of, and promoted a few things on Twitter. Writing is always a joy, especially when it’s promoting altruism. That felt a job well done!

To finish the day, I spent a few hours playing cards and quizzes with my family. For some of them, it was their last night of freedom before work, our most efficient thief of time, was released from its holiday prison. There was cheating, of course, a small row over Matchmakers and an intense discussion on the use of affect and effect. Most importantly, I was spending meaningful time with meaningful people.

When I got into bed, I left the lamp on while I just lay there for a while and counted my blessings. I love the nights when I can fall asleep with the light on, then wake up and sleepily turn it off knowing I still have infinity left until the morning.

Perhaps you think I am strange to place a day which was mostly spent working in such high-esteem. But I love my work. I just wish I could always have the time to enjoy it like I did that day.

In her book ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,’ Susan Jeffers promotes our lives being made up of 9 key factors: contribution, hobby, leisure, family, alone time, personal growth, work, relationship and friends. That day, I ticked contribution and hobby with my political movement blog, family and leisure via the card games. Alone time in the shower, and before bed. There was work of course, and personal growth in the time I spent learning Austen, and reflecting at the end of it all. This, I believe, is what made it such a satisfying and meaningful day. It had the variety in it that I want in my wider life. Tomorrow, I go back to work, and my resolution is to keep this up: keep up the management of my time so that I can tick as many of those boxes I can every day. Wish me luck!

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