I was in a slump today. Super excited about flying to the UK to see my sister, Storm Emma stopped play and I had to rearrange to fly tomorrow instead, losing a day of my time with her. I was supposed to be on my way to the airport but I was still here. Feeling grumpy. So I went for a walk. And soon felt better.

Why? Because I suddenly realised that I had some time, and nothing pressing to do. Just like on Wednesday when heavy snow meant I had to cancel a class, something I try never to do. But once I had told everyone and accepted the situation, I felt a freedom that was purely the result of having some spare time. And from all the wonderful photos on Facebook, I think a lot of people felt the same.

I used to say “I don’t have time for that” a lot. We all do. I remember vividly the day I realised that this was a choice.

I was in my 20s and visiting my dad for a few days, which was always a busy time, filled with seeing and doing. Dad had suggested that I call in on Bill Green, an elderly widower who used to work for him as a gamekeeper. Throughout my childhood I would do the early pheasant feeding rounds with Dad, and often, when we had finished, we would call in on Bill and his wife, Greenie, for a breakfast of sausages with brown sauce. “I don’t have time”, I said. “You do”, said Dad. “You just choose to do something else with it”. I remember finding that hugely irritating at the time. Because it was true.

Ever since, every time I find myself saying “I don’t have time for that”, I remind myself that I do, in fact, have enough time to do anything I want. And if it is really important, I will make time for it. For example, my children. I think it is one of the saddest things when a child wants to spend time with a parent and they say “I don’t have time”. We are busier now than ever, that is true. But it is still our choice.

One of the greatest things about moving to France is how it has simplified our life. Here, we have much less choice. So there is more time. Yet still I often find myself thinking I’m “too busy” to do the things that really make me happy, like taking the dog for a long walk or making music, singing and drumming.

So if you haven’t got time for the things you love, perhaps it’s time for a reshuffle. If you haven’t got time, make some. It’s the best medicine.

(Our last workaway, Mat, who has just returned to the Greek island of Amorgos where he’s been living for while, posted this video. It is beautiful and has a wonderful narrative about time. Treat yourself.)

Filed under: Happy Coulson

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