“I always talk about the flexibility of our schedules, but when do I ever take advantage of that?”
I said that to my wife while I had my jeans rolled up, my feet dipped in a shallows of a lake, and our son chirping joyfully as he dug at the sand and splashed it into the water with his shovel.
It was the last warm day for a few weeks, perhaps for the entire fall and certainly the last time the nighttime temperature would be warm enough to sleep outside.
It was also a Tuesday.
My wife is a graduate student and I work as a freelance writer. We split up the childcare with our two kids, and we try to keep our schedules flexible when she’s not teaching a class. This set up means I get to spend more time with the kids, but my income can also be uncertain from month to month.
I often tell people that being a writer means I get to be really flexible and get to spend more time with the kids even if the income isn’t amazing. And then last Monday we realized that the temperature would drop after Wednesday and it would most likely rain over the weekend. So we debated whether we should go camping on Tuesday evening and spend part of Wednesday at a lake.
I wondered for about an hour if I really should jump on the opportunity.
By the time we stood on the shore of Lake Hope the next day, I was disappointed in myself. Why had I even debated this? True I had to work late on Monday and then had to hustle a bit on Wednesday afternoon to keep on pace for one deadline. But I HAD the flexibility to make a 24-hour camping getaway happen when the weather was most conducive.
Our toddler especially loved sleeping in the tent. I mean, what’s better than shining a flashlight all over a tent and occasionally blinding your father with its beam? And what could be better than having free reign of a beach and lake with a bucket full of digging toys?
This little camping trip was supposed to be the precise kind of benefit to my uncertain freelance career!
Sometimes I’m so focused on my work and my career that I forget about the trade off I’ve made. I try to keep pushing, and I fail to rest, take breaks, or receive the gift of free time. I start to measure my success in terms of my bank account even though I’ve tried to make a flexible schedule a priority for my family.
I’ve tried to give myself the gift of free time. Unfortunately I’ve been so focused on my work that I’ve failed to take it.
How many gifts are right in front of us for the taking?
What keeps us from receiving what is already ours?
2 thoughts on “On Learning to Accept the Gift of Free Time”
Sounds like you’re doing a great job of navigating the tension. We both work freelance too, and it is great to have that flexibility to spend more time as a family, but it’s also all to easy to be so busy that work takes over everything and you’re worse off than when you were in a job. I’m still experimenting with different schedules and ‘rules’ to help. Good luck with finding the right design for you all.
LikeLiked by 1 person
As I have learned over the years, you have to grab those precious moments when they present themselves. Time goes quickly by and then your children are out on their own with children of their own and you would give the world to have just 5 minutes alone with them uninterrupted! lol Keeping our lives in balance is difficult, but when we let the Holy Spirit guide us and direct our lives, it all balances out! Keep up the good work Ed! I appreciate your work so much!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Comments are closed.